[Blind Box] #4: “Fish Ladder” Postcard

Item #04. “Fish Ladder” Postcard (Unused)

  • Creator: Mike Roberts Color Productions, Inc.
  • Object Type: Postcard
  • Creation Date: ca. 1950s
  • Origin: Bradford Island, OR (published in Berkeley, CA)
  • Dimensions: 3.5 x 5.5 inches (“standard” postcard size)

Let us return to the topic of postcards, delving deeper into the vast stream that is Deltiology. Fish provide a thematic link between the first postcard and this one, here in the form of a “fish ladder” in on a section of Oregon’s Bonneville Dam.

Fish Ladder FrontFish Ladder Back

As the postcard’s caption tells us, “Fish ‘climb’ this ladder to reach their spawning grounds upstream.” This specific ladder helps (though, they probably needed little before) tens of thousands salmon and steelhead (also called rainbow trout) ascend the dam, but sequesters the less agile white sturgeon below. While this may seem mundane even for a postcard, apparently this annual event draws crowds still today, of humans and–that’s right–sea lions.

The ladder depicted here, a “pool and weir” variety, is one of the oldest styles, consisting of a series of stepped locks that the fish must leap over.

As opposed the generic fly fishing theme, this card depicts a specific scene, and yet, its publisher’s home still lay over 600 miles South. This business model appealed more directly to the tourist-consumer, who would have enjoyed marking time with a specific experience rather than, say, fly fishing in general. It seems to have been successful. Mike Roberts Color Products, Inc., founded in 1939 as “Wesco,” produced more postcards than any company in the world during this period.

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