In the Footsteps of the Molson Empire (Part 1)

Canadian investors John W. Molson and George B. Meacham started the town of Molson in 1900. Yes, John was the same person who built the largest brewing empire in Canada and ran Molson’s Bank.

In 1896 gold was found in the area and multiple mining claims were made. Soon the town had three hundred residents. In fact, the town was growing so quickly that many newcomers had to live in tents before sufficient houses could be built.

After the initial euphoria, the Molson Company withdrew its support and the town dwindled to just twelve occupants in June 1901. But it wasn’t the end.

In 1905 the news came that the railroad would come through town and revitalize growth. In 1905, one of the residents and local businessman J. H. McDonald claimed the land where Molson town was located as his homestead. Disgusted citizens founded New Molson half a mile north of Old Molson. People, businesses and the post office all moved to the new location. Its railroad station had the highest elevation in Washington State at 3,708 feet.

In the 1930s the railroad was taken up and the area was given over to agriculture.  

All the images presented below were shot with the X-Pro2 paired with the XF14mm F2.8 and XF35mm F1.4. When we arrived there was some snow on the ground, much to our satisfaction. When shooting locations with many elements in the frame, snow is very helpful because it naturally simplifies the scene.

Not only does Old Molson town have many structures left but most importantly they are all open to the public. Inside the houses you can still find original furniture, crockery, cast-iron stoves and old pictures. In places like this we always enjoy taking advantage of the natural light, which pours through the old windows. It is worth spending some time inside the buildings to observe how light interacts with objects, creating fascinating visuals.












New Molson






Kasia and I have been shooting with the X-Pro2 for almost a month and we are very impressed with the camera. Not only is the quality of files impressive but the mechanics and design of the camera has been dramatically improved. While these changes may not be apparent to occasional shooters, for those of us who spend hours holding a camera in our hands, the changes make a huge difference. We especially like the joystick for choosing a focal point, the placement of all the buttons on the right and the dual memory cards. Of course, there is much more but we have covered most of it in our previous posts.

Indeed, the X-Pro2 has become our prime camera.


2016 © Kasia & Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.

6 thoughts on “In the Footsteps of the Molson Empire (Part 1)

  1. Your processing on these are just stunning. I love them but my favorites are the very first one and then the first one of New Molson set.

  2. Hi Olaf,

    Like you, I love exploring old towns and farms, etc. Thanks for the heads up for Molson, WA. You might like to visit Bodie, in the eastern Sierra Nevada, near Mono Lake – see attached

    I also have just received the X Pro2 and am looking forward to setting it up and getting out there (today’s a nice sunny day – so far! – in Vancouver) and making some shots.

    I assume you’re using the new Acros. What in-camera settings do you use for the B&W images – e.g., sharpness, highlight tones, etc.?

    Thanks for your help as well as your blog – I enjoy reading it very much. Lots of motivation for me!


    1. Luis,

      We have already visited and photographed Bodie:
      Our latest post about Molson was processed in NIK Silver Pro software – our favourite for the B&W images. We didn’t use ACROS this time. However when we do you this film simulation here are our settings:
      Sharpness +1
      Highlights +1/2
      Shadows +3/4
      If you have more questions please drop us a line.
      Thank you for visiting and for your kind words.

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