Community at Large: Kids at Oaks Amusement Park

Dear Holger,

This is a picture of us three. It was taken at the Oaks when we were in Portland. We had a fine time at the Oaks. Do you see that spot on my nose? They turned on a kind of light and that is what made it. We never had our school picnic we only had a little lunch at the schoolhouse. I passed an examination and Ingrid passed too. Are you coming back here or not? Answer soon, Astrid Thorén. 

The postcard; addressed to Mr. Holger Pearson (E. H. Pearson) in Krokom, Sweden, must have been written prior to E. H. Pearson's arrival in the Pacific Northwest. This would date the photograph around years 1905-10. Oaks Park opened in 1905 and Holger (Hal) arrived in the camps around 1910-11. The two families obviously knew each other before their emigration, or, Hal left the camps and returned to Sweden briefly. 

That is highly unlikely, a round trip from Washington to Sweden and back again would have been costly, not to mention time consuming. I do know at some point Hal was sent to boarding school in Portland. Perhaps Astrid addressed the card based off of false knowledge and it somehow found its way back to him on a surprise visit. Nevertheless, it creates an interesting twist in Hal's biographical information. 

Thanks to census records at Cowlitz County's genealogy website I learned the children's parents were likely named Mr. and Mrs. Karn and Peter Thorén from Sweden. The surname spelling and spelling of the children's names on the census differ from the spellings here. There's also another male sibling named Pierre not pictured; every member of the family is listed as being born in Sweden. 

I do enjoy hearing about the "kind of light" Astrid refers to in her letter. I'm guessing it's the flash bulb creating a highlight on her nose. 

Astrid, Erik and Ingrid Thorén at Oaks Park, Portland, OR (1905-1910)

Another photograph of the Thorén children, this time in the logging community; there are no known photographs of their parents.