Two New Photography Collections Available in ORCA

Browse two unique photograph collections available on our online database ORCA. 

Carsten's Packing Company Photographs

The Carsten’s Meat Packing Company was founded by Thomas Carstens, a German immigrant and butcher. The company quickly became the largest facility of its kind west of Denver, with a staff of 170 employees in its first year. Two major fires struck Carsten's in 1914 and 1916 however, in spite of this Carsten's continued to grow and expanded to second location in Spokane. The company contributed significantly to the WWII effort, supplying 40% of its output to the U.S. armed forces.

In the post-war era Carsten’s saw peak and decline; a beef shortage in 1951 reduced production, and in 1954, the company was sold to Hy-Grade Food Products Co. The final chapter came in the 1990s under Sara Lee Corp., when the firm closed, impacting 200 employees. The photos in this collection document the stockyards, the glue factory, meat smoking room, and general ground of their operation in the early 1900s.

Check out blueprints of the Carsten's Abattoir, Coolers and Shipping Office, and Pork House in our Lost Tacoma Collection!

Central News Company Photographs

The Central News Company was established in Tacoma in September 1896 by J.M Bell, A. Thompson, and W.E Theodore. By 1903, W.E Theodore had sold half of his stake to Frank Neyhart, who ran the company with W.W Hoyt at 1121 Pacific Avenue. The company was active in Tacoma into the early 20th century, known for advertising in local newspapers. They produced souvenir books with photos showcasing Tacoma’s highlights, such as its shipping, lumbering, architecture, parks, and views of Mount Tacoma, to promote the city to distant audiences. Many of the photographs in this collection were used in those publications.

Special thanks to our SFI intern, Ada Brown, for researching the history of both of these organizations to enhance their authority records.