For my 52 Ancestors post this week I wanted to highlight a place instead a of a person. The reason I want to share this place is that it became an integral part of my family for many decades. It blessed four generations of my family in different ways. The place is the studio in front of my great grandparent’s home. The address is E 15 Walton Avenue in Spokane, Washington.
My great grandparents ran their photography studio known as Duval Portraits from their home for several decades. During that time they photographed lots of people including many of the local Native Americans. My great grandmother developed personal relationships with several of the Native American women she photographed. She began to bead with them in her photo studio. Because it was difficult to purchase cut glass beads in the colors and quantities she wanted, she started ordering them in bulk using her wholesale license from the photography studio. She ordered beads from New York for a while and then Czechoslovakia.
Slowly her studio became a dual business. She still took photos but she also sold beads. Over time she steadily raised her prices in the photography studio in an effort to phase it out but people were willing to pay the rising prices for her work so Duval Portraits lived on. She was never able to completely phase out the portraiture but she did expand the bead selections and even converted part of the studio into a museum to display Native American artifacts that she acquired. She created some amazing beaded items. Several of those items are still owned by various family members today. On my recent trip to Spokane I was able to photograph several of these treasures and my grandmother gave me two beaded items. One item that my great grandmother created and used personally and one that was part of the shop. I’ll post about each of these treasures individually in the future.
My great grandparents were such fascinating people. They had so many talents and interests. They tried their hand at several different jobs and businesses. Because the bead store still operated during my early childhood and I was given beaded moccasins when I was young, I find this part of their life especially interesting. I have several memories of the home on Walton and the studio. I believe that places from our past are almost as important as the people who lived, worked, and loved in those places. When I visit places that my ancestors lived and worked I feel connected to them. Places have the power to evoke memory. The studio is one of those places for me.
Do you have any places from your family history that are special to you?