Backstory: Photo Album Gives Glimpse Of Casper Family's Life - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Backstory: Photo Album Gives Glimpse Of Casper Family’s Life

A picture from a found photo album. Writing under the photo says “Connie, Don, Nancy Axlund, 1926.” The photo was taken near the 400 block of S. Grant St. To the left is the Anglican Church of the Resurrection at 342 S. Grant.

Antique stores and flea markets are full of them. Countless of family snapshots, once cherished but now useless and discarded. Photography freezes memories and moments, but those memories are only important to those who lived them. When they’re gone, what good are the photos they leave behind?

Finding discarded family snapshots is a little like discovering friendly ghosts. There’s the melancholy of peeking into the past, into the lives of families we never knew. Often the photos are so poorly labeled there’s little indication of who, where and why they were taken. The mystery of these ghosts is intriguing.

Sometimes the albums give up more secrets than they keep, and part of one such album is featured here. It was found by Reed Merschat of Survivor AC Dealers, who has shared it with us.

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The pictures feature a young family in Casper around the early to late 1920s. There are three kids posing around the family car, home and neighborhood church. There are pictures of the older daughter’s graduation at Casper’s oldest high school.

The album is clearly labeled with dates, names and even an exact address. The house on 404 S. Grant was used in an earlier “Backstory” column, as was a photo of the NCHS class of 1928. However, the high quality of the snapshots and general all around adorableness of these kids would make it a shame not to share more photos.

As an added bonus, a photocopy of an obituary was tucked in the very back pages of the album. The obit was published sometime around 1984 in the Casper Star-Tribune for Donald L. Axlund, who passed away at age 69 at Memorial Hospital of Natrona County. Mr. Axlund earned a forestry degree in 1939 at UW. He married Rosalee Hammond in Missoula, Mont., in 1941 and lived in Billings until her death in 1964. He later married Josephine Green in 1969. Mr. Axlund moved back to Casper and worked for the Federal Housing Authority until retiring in 1979.

It can be assumed by looking through the photo album that Donald Axlund went by “Don” when he was a lad, had two older sisters named Connie and Nancy and lived in a house on S. Grant St. in central Casper.

A picture from a found photo album. Writing under the photo says “Connie, Don, Nancy Axlund, 1926.” The photo was taken near the 400 block of S. Grant St. To the left is the Anglican Church of the Resurrection at 342 S. Grant.

 

A page in a found photo album shows the Axlund children, starting in 1920 and on to 1928. The children are pictured at what could be the family home on 404 S. Grant. At bottom right, the children are posing at what is now the Anglican Church of the Resurrection on 342 S. Grant.

 

Connie Axlund and a friend on the east side of NCHS (known then as Casper High School) in 1928.

 

A page from a found photo album. In the upper right photo, Connie Axlund is seen in the striped dress posing with her graduating class at NCHS in 1928. The small picture at bottom center appears to be of Connie and perhaps another student posing at the east side of the NCHS building (just barely visible on the left edge of the frame).

 

Nancy Axlund, circa late 1920s.

 

Don Axlund, circa late 1920s.

 

Connie Axlund and an unknown person, late 1920s or early 1930s.

 

Nancy Axlund, 1936

 

Photo labeled: “Nancy, Connie and Don Axlund, 1918”

 

Nancy Axlund, date unknown.

 

Don, Connie and Nancy Axlund in front of the Anglican Church of the Resurrection in 1928.

 

The label under the photo reads: “Nancy, Henry (father), Connie Axlund, 1919.”

 

An obituary for Donald Axlund, printed in the Casper Star-Tribune circa 1984.

 

The Anglican Church of the Resurrection at 342 S. Grant, as it appears today. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

 

The Anglican Church of the Resurrection at 342 S. Grant. The cornerstone indicates it was built in 1920. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)