TW: Possible photo of a dead person


As volunteers and interns sort through boxes of photographs at the Jordan House Museum, we found one that’s causing a debate!

As you can see, it’s a photo of a large crowd of people on 5th street in Valley Junction, surrounding a man either reclining or tied to a board in the middle of the street. “Frank Gray” is handwritten on the photo, pointing to the man. There’s also a line labeled “Chelious Vandenburg.” Mr. Vandenburg was one of the earliest business owners in Valley Junction, starting Vandenburg Drug Company in 1912.

There was a Frank Gray who owned a meat market in Valley Junction, beginning approximately 1893.

Here’s the debate: some of us think this shows a deceased criminal on display, as has been a gory tradition for centuries. The crowd also seems rather somber.

The other opinion is that the man is holding himself up, bracing his feet on the ground.

What do you think?