William Finley Photo Collection


Recently the Oregon Historical Society and Oregon State University combined efforts and produced a several hundred image collection of images from the Finley family. They call it “Reuniting Finley and Bohlman“. For historians interested in Jennings Lodge this is a treasure trove of Jennings Lodge history ca. 1908-1910.

Photograph of William L. Finley holding desert sparrows (1910)

William L. Finley holding desert sparrows (1910)

Photograph of H. T. Bohlman and William Finley photographing an eagle’s nest (1904)

Photograph of H. T. Bohlman and William Finley photographing an eagle’s nest (1904)

Included among these photos are images of William (Bill) Jennings fishing, Thomas Spooner (“Mr. Spooner”, husband of Ella S. Jennings) and Irene Finley, two images of the Jennings family home on the bank of the Willamette River, Wm. Finley’s FIRST house perched on a narrow flat area above the river (and just below the current Finley house) in the adjacent property to the Jennings house, a Willamette River steamboat, several images of the Willamette River shoreline in the vicinity of Hull Ave., one image (at least) of the west end of Jennings Ave., Finley and Bill Jennings harvesting hay, views of the Finley property looking east from the house, “Spring Branch” (the spring fed creek that provided their water) William Finley himself — as well as hundreds of wildlife, flora and fauna images.

Mr. Jennings fishing (1908-09-26)

Mr. Jennings fishing (1908-09-26)

Photograph, view of a boat on the Willamette River in front of the Finley house, taken from study window (Dec. 1907)

View of a boat on the Willamette River in front of the Finley house, taken from study window (Dec. 1907)

These images were scanned at such a high resolution that you can zoom in a great deal and observe the detail — leaving one to feel that he is actually there in 1909. They give us a spectacular snapshot into life along the Willamette in 1909. As far as I’ve seen these images are in the “public domain”, and can be downloaded.

Finley house, snow scene (1909-01-09)

Finley house, snow scene (1909-01-09)

Bill Jennings loading hay (1909-07-29)

Bill Jennings loading hay (1909-07-29)

Some of these photos demonstrate, when coupled with other documents, that the Spooners occupied the Jennings family house (Martha Jennings’) for a time after her death in 1900. The images show the fence and gate between the Jennings house and the Finley’s property immediately north of the Jennings house . Most of these were taken in the winter of 1909. Two photos of the Jennings house, when zoomed in, show how the Jennings house (at the west end of Hull, along the river bank) looked in 1909.

Don’t miss out — set aside some time and browse through this spectacular collection of history. Do a search on “Jennings”, or “house”, or “Spooner”, or “Willamette” and take a walk back to the early 1900’s.


Mike Schmeer
Chairman, Oak Lodge History Detectives

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4 Responses to William Finley Photo Collection

  1. Sue says:

    I was wondering if you could give me information about a restaurant in Oak Grove called Chalet L’Abbe. I visited there once in 1970 and wondered if it is still operating or if the building is still there.

    Thanks for your kind reply.


    • Mike Schmeer says:

      Hi Sue!

      Chalet L’Abbe restaurant’s name was changed since 1970 to “Fernwood Inn”. Fernwood Inn operated for several years, its ownership changing a couple years ago. However more recently the property was sold and has become a private residence. The good news is that the building remains as an architectural jewel of the community.

  2. Diane N Timmins says:

    The Finley’s were friends of my grandparents (Wm. and Marceline Cross Hammond), of Gladstone. My mother and her brothers played with the Finley children and all the animals that they rescued and brought home. I remember being in the Finley house in the 1940, but William was quite ill by then. My love of nature was passed down through the generations due to the influence of William and Irene. So happy to see these photos. Diane Nickerson Timmins

  3. Mike Schmeer says:


    Oak Lodge, and Jennings Lodge in particular, is extremely proud of its connection to William Finley. Thank you for contributing to the Finley story. If you have any photographs of the Finley’s or their home OLHD would love to see them.

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