Gail Griswold and Susan Hawkes talk about photographs of the early settlers and how they used water on Thursday.
FRANKLIN – Franklin Relic Hall is the first location in the seven counties of the Bear River Heritage Area to feature the “Blessed by Water and Handcrafted” exhibit. The Hall of Relics is located at 113 East Main St. in Franklin.
The Bear River Heritage Area is a two-state area where the Great Basin and the Rocky Mountains meet in southeastern Idaho and northeastern Utah. The region includes Bear Lake, Oneida, Cache, Box Elder, Franklin, Caribou, and Rich.
Logan resident and freelance graphic designer Gail Griswold curated the exhibit with the help of history students at Utah State University. Griswold assembled seven 36 x 64 inch photo panels that show the importance of water to every county in the region.
“We went through the USU’s special collections and looked for photographs to represent each county,” she said. “We looked for photographs from 1910 to 1940 that showed how water was used in the past.”
What looks like hand-colored photographs is a superimposed wireframe screen that has been painted to add color to the screens.
“It’s an optical illusion,” Griswold said. “It is a sleight of hand that our eyes fill with information, but the photographs are not colored; it’s the paint on the fence. “
Grisw0ld is a California transplant with a background in exhibition design.
One exhibit shows people on Bear Lake in oar-propelled wooden boats, another shows irrigation ditches and other waterways in both states.
Susan Hawkes, executive director of Franklin Relic Hall, hosted a companion Franklin County exhibit with photographs of the importance of water to Franklin’s early settlers in the early years of the first canal system in Idaho. She has a piece of one of the original Thomas Ditch pipes that routed water through a hollowed out log wrapped in thick wire.
“Preston Thomas and William Neilson built a ditch from Maple Creek to irrigate their crops in Franklin,” Hawkes said. “This three-and-a-half-mile ditch became Idaho’s first irrigation system. “
He also built the Thomas Ditch which brought water from the Cub River to Lewiston and Fairview.
“This is where these communities get their water.
I am proud to be the opener of this exhibit, I hope people can come and enjoy the Hall of Relics here, ”said Hawkes. “It will only be here for three weeks, then it will go first to the counties of Idaho, then to the counties of Utah and ends in Hyrum on August 14.”
The Hall of Relics is now open for the 2021 season. It is open from 11 am to 3 pm, closed Sunday and Monday.