Lora Webb Nichols’ Thanksgiving in Encampment, Wyoming

It’s hard to find someone who enjoyed a camera more than Lora Webb Nichols.

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Lora Webb Nichols wearing her mother’s hat. Lora Webb Nichols papers, Accession #1005, Box 3, #51, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Lora, born in 1883, lived with her family on a ranch about a mile from Encampment, Wyoming. By the late 1890s, the area was experiencing a great copper boom.

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Tram-line from Ferris-Haggarty mine to Encampment, about 1903. The tramway, the longest in the world at the time, was considered an engineering marvel and carried 840 buckets that held as much as 700 pounds of ore each. Samuel H. Knight papers, Accession #142, Box 5, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

One of the copper miners, 30-year old Bert Oldman, took notice of teenage Lora and gave her a camera for her 16th birthday in 1899. At first, Lora’s father wasn’t too sure about Bert’s attention to his young daughter, but later warmed up to him and Bert and Lora were married on October 15, 1900.

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Lora and Bert Oldman. Lora Webb Nichols papers, Accession #1005, Box 3, #74, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming. 

Lora wrote in her diary that the camera Bert gave her was “the best fun.” Her sense of fun is evident in the images she created. One of the wonderful things about Lora’s photographs is how she captured the whimsical side of life in Encampment.

To give you a taste of her playful photo-making, we offer you images from a “Thanksgiving Masquerade” in Encampment during the early 1900s.

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Lora labeled this photo “Ed Wood as washer-woman.” Lora Webb Nichols papers, Accession #1005, Box 3, #7, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.  

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The people in this photo are not identified, except the woman on the far left (Mrs. Ashley) and the man on the far left (Ed Wood). Lora Webb Nichols papers, Accession #1005, Box 3, #8, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

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Lora captioned this photo as “Boys in clown suits.” The “boys” are listed as Tillou, Lordier, and McNamara. Lora Webb Nichols papers, Accession #1005, Box 3, #10, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.  

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This entry was posted in Current events, found in the archive, Holidays, Local history, mining history, Photographic collections, Uncategorized, women's history, Wyoming history and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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