The photographs in the collection were taken by Fred L. Breckon and later given to photographer John Foster. The information on the back of each photos was written by Mr. Breckon.
Fred L. Breckon was born on August 27, 1883 in Altamont, South Dakota Territory, but lived most of his young life in Salt Lake City, Utah where he attended the public schools. In 1902, he served with the National Guard and the Utah Light Artillery. While living in Salt Lake City, he married Edith Christy in 1912. Fred was a land surveyor and civil engineer beginning his career with the Utah Copper Company. He later moved to Idaho taking a variety of engineering and surveying positions. The family moved to Ellensburg, Washington in 1924 where he was employed by the Bureau of Reclamation conducting surveys for the High Line Irrigation Canal. In 1931, Fred became the City of Ellensburg city engineer from which he retired in 1946. He was a member of the First Christian Church and a 50-year member of the Masonic Lodge. He became interested in photography in 1906, and he continued throughout the rest of his life photographing people and places. Fred died in Ellensburg on March 2, 1971 at the age of 87 years. The Breckon Family donated thirteen albums of Fred Breckon’s unique Ellensburg and Kittitas Valley photographs to the Ellensburg Public Library in 1979.
The doors of the Washington State Normal School in Ellensburg opened in 1891. Mr. Benjamin Franklin Barge was the first principal of the school, which was founded to educate future elementary and junior high teachers. Classes were held at the Washington Public School until the normal school's first building, Barge Hall, opened in 1893. The normal school became Central Washington College of Education in 1937, Central Washington State College in 1961, and Central Washington University in 1977.