Historical Photographs: Online Resources

Nothing tells a story like a picture can. I love looking through historic photographs of the Cottage Grove area, and I love to include them with my posts whenever I can.

Hop pickers outside of Walker, circa 1892.

Hop pickers outside of Walker, circa 1892. Photo from Lane County History Museum.

Over time, I’ve discovered three useful collections of photographs, and whenever I want to find a historical photograph these are the sites I turn to first. Each of the collections has its own type of photographs, so getting familiar with all of them has been very helpful.


Photo Catalog by the Lane County History Museum

When I discovered this site I lost two hours of my morning as I searched through the database of photographs! For anyone who likes historical photographs, take care when entering here as it might be addicting. The photographs appear to be well tagged, so keyword searches work very well. A simple search on “Cottage Grove” brought up 759 photographs of the town, its residents, and the surrounding area (like the Bohemia Mines).

I had the chance to talk with the Registar at the Museum the other day, and she said that all photographs owned by the museum are now included in the database, and they will be adding more as they receive them.


Main Street of Cottage Grove, date unknown.
Photograph from the Cottage Grove Historical Society website.


Cottage Grove Historical Society

If you want to know about the history of Cottage Grove, the Historical Society is the place to go. With a mission to “preserve and celebrate the history and heritage of the Cottage Grove area” they have a number of online resources, including photographs. Their physical library (located in the Boots and Sandals building 308 S 10th Street) is full of additional information. While the online database is not as friendly and easy to search as the Lane County Museum, they do have amazing photographs of the Cottage Grove area.


Boat launching on Cottage Grove Lake, 1954.
Oregon State Archives, Oregon Water Resources Department, photo ID #OWR0013. Accessed from the Oregon Historic Photographs Collection.


Oregon Historic Photograph Collections

The Salem Public Library provides access to six collections of photographs, however the photos available on this website extend far beyond the Salem area. I’ve used many of them here at My South Lane. A search on “Cottage Grove” brought up 54 images, but the collection is richer than that as you begin poking around.


Crescent Lake Resort
Pondering 2015


  1. Love that picture of launching a boat at CG Lake!

  2. Loved the boat too!
    Your list is great, I didn’t know CG also had historical society photo’s… more fun on a blustery day… Youtube also is a fun place to explore old Oregon and the NW.
    One of my favorites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E98ORIMgjcU

  3. I’m always drawn to the people in historical photographs, imagining their lives long ago. Great resources.

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