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On back of photo "Yellow fir 12 ft. dia. monument in background." The photo is from a collection of logging photos from Washington State and British Columbia.enter image description here

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    It's not actually a stump, is it? More like a slice of tree trunk.
    – Spencer
    Jan 13 at 17:09
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That looks a great deal like the Astoria Column, in Astoria, Oregon at the mouth of the Columbia River. In particular, the image from Wikipedia show a similar base and top part. While a bit difficult to pick out on your photo, you can also see the spiraling frieze of scenes from Oregon history.

As an aside, my grandfather was born and raised in Astoria in the late 1800's early 1900's. He hunted and trapped the Lewis and Clark rivers, and worked in logging camps in the area. To him that would have been a small stump: he tells of a job in a logging camp cutting wood for the steam engine (jenny) that ran all the lines to drag timber in. He said first thing in the morning he and another fellow would saw a slice off a tree trunk. Then his job was to split the one slice up, and it would feed the steam engine all day.

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    That's definitely the Astoria Column.
    – Spencer
    Jan 12 at 22:50
  • It appears (from a quick Google Maps street-view check) that the stump has not been kept, unless it was moved to another site? Jan 13 at 15:17
  • @DarrelHoffman It doesn't look like it's installed there - it's probably looong gone. Wasn't anything special back then. Jan 14 at 17:01
  • Thanks - I felt sure I had seen the column, but could not recall where. By the way, did you have any other relatives active in the American West a little earlier?
    – sdenham
    Jan 15 at 4:39
  • @sdenham - my great-great-great grandmother and great-great grandmother (as a little girl) came to Astoria via the Oregon trail, coming to meet my 3g-grandfather who had arrived by sail around the Cape. One story says there was an offer to 'buy' my 2g-grandmother on the way by a Native American tribe, authenticity unknown. The en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Stevens_House was in the family at some point. My grandmother's family came post-WW-1 to the Salem area.
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 15 at 19:54
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Here is a picture comparing OP's image with the image of the monument at Wikipedia to confirm Jon Custer's answer:

Oregon monument comparison

If we look at the tree at the right behind the column it seems as if the time was also roughly the same (maybe a bit later?).

Edit there is some discusion in the comments that need the whole picture.

Oregon monument

That is all I could get out of the scan.

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  • It's likely even the same photo. The image of the question went through a lossy postcard reproduction, then loss of color from age, and finally too much JPEG artifacts - but if you do a branch-by-branch comparison of the tree to the right of the column, you'll see that each branch is either directly there of happens to be obscured behind a JPEG artifact.
    – toolforger
    Jan 13 at 17:31
  • @toolforger Looking at the full source images rather than deamentiaemundi's composite, they are definitely not the same photo Jan 13 at 17:56
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    @TimSparkles Ah I see, the JPEG artifacts came in during composition. And yes you're right, the stump and persons on the postcard hide the stairs in the WP photo, so definitely not the same image. Still, they must have been taken at almost the same time and from the same axis. Not from the same spot, I see that the branches align differently with the spirals so the WP photo must have been taken from a slightly nearer position.
    – toolforger
    Jan 13 at 21:16
  • @toolforger Assuming that the postcard photo isn't a composite. I find myself asking why anybody would go to the trouble of hauling a lump of wood like that out of its native environment and putting it on a plinth for a photo... as far as I can see that thing's got no wheels, and there's no obvious scarring on the ground from brute-forcing it. Jan 14 at 15:07
  • @MarkMorganLloyd It is most likely a method to get it high enough to push a flatbed under it. It is a good method if you have no crane. The stump has most likely lifted up with a crane (You can vaguely see some chains and ropes wrapped around it) but you can do it manually, too. It is a large plateau with a road that is able to carry heavy loads (they needed it for the stones for the monument) to the harbor nearby. I think it was just a coincidence. A nice foreground for the photographer and a little tip for the lumberjacks (clothes are a bit too nice for lumberjacks, though) Jan 15 at 8:00

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