Silverton High School, Silverton, Oregon

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Silverton High School, Silverton, Oregon


  • 1925? (Creation)


glass plate negatives; black-and-white negatives; 5 x 7 inches

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Biographical history

June D. Drake (the middle initial "D" did not stand for anything) was born in Marquam, Oregon, in 1880 to Charles Wesley Drake and Fannie Aurora Milster Drake. In the fall of 1889, the Drake family moved to Silverton, Oregon, and Charles Drake built the family home at 401 South Water Street. He later owned the Commercial Hotel on Main Street, which was sold in 1891 to hardware store owner Adolf Wolf. Charles Drake also served as mayor of Silverton before his death in 1911.

In 1900, June D. Drake and his brother, Emory Roy Drake, founded their photography business, Drake Bros. Studio, buying out the business of pioneer Silverton photographer William L. Jones. The brothers operated their studio together until 1908, when Emory Drake left to become a music teacher in Sacramento. This studio burned to the ground on March 27, 1908, and thousands of the brothers' original negatives were destroyed. After the fire, members of the Silverton community built June Drake a temporary studio at 311 North Water Street. He operated his business there from April 1908 until September 1911, when he moved into a new studio building at 303 North Water Street. Drake continued his photography there until his retirement in 1960, when the building was sold to Standard Oil Co. and torn down.

Though he was well known for his portraiture and town scenes, one of June D. Drake's greatest achievements was the establishment of Silver Falls State Park. Beginning around 1902, he photographed the waterfalls and created brochures and booklets to bring statewide attention to the need to protect the land from logging interests. Working with Silverton and Salem citizens and Oregon state legislators, Drake organized an effort to buy the land around the falls and sell it to the state. On April 2, 1931, the Oregon State Park Commission accepted the proposal, and Silver Falls State Park officially opened to the public in July 1933. Many of the signs still in existence in the park were originally erected by June Drake, and Drake Falls in the park was named after him.

June D. Drake married Eleanor Schoenfield in 1904. The couple's home in Silverton was the first in the town to be wired for electricity. The Drakes had two children, Charles Henry, born in 1909, and Ardith Maxine, born in 1915. In addition to his career as a photographer, June Drake was also a member of the Knights of Pythias and served as secretary of the Silverton Chamber of Commerce, chief of the Silverton Fire Department, and a member of the city council. He also founded the Silverton Historical Society in 1930.

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Scope and content

The front of Silverton High School in Silverton, Oregon, viewed from the side. The brick building has three stories.

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June D. Drake photographs, 1863-2001, Org. Lot 678, Box 43, 1427

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