The Kittitas County Historical Museum continues its annual lecture series with a presentation at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Kittitas County Historical Museum in historic Downtown Ellensburg, according to a news release. The event is free, open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

The lecture will focus on the history of apple box labels in Washington state. From the mid-1900’s until 1960, orchardists shipped these famous fruits in wooden boxes with artful paper labels pasted to the ends with names such as Apple Bowl, Apple Capitol, Apple Lane, Apple King and Apple Town. Growers used these catchy slogans not only advertise their product, but also to boast of how Washington state, by the 1930s, was number one in the United States for apple production.

Apple box labels came from cites such as Wenatchee and Yakima, famous for their sweet growing conditions, along with other smaller towns such as Peshastin, Omak, Oroville, Green Bluff, Dayton, and White Salmon. They also came from unusual places like Wagnersburg, Marble, and White Bluffs — towns that no longer exist. Label designers used attractive images to entice buyers in fruit auction houses and customers at local grocery stores to buy their product.

Kelsey Doncaster will display examples of these bold and iconic marketing images from his collection as he presents the history of Washington apple box labels. Doncaster will give free appraisals of fruit box labels after the presentation and every attendee will receive a free vintage apple box label.

About the speaker

Doncaster has been an avid collector, lecturer and historian of Pacific Northwest fruit box labels for over 25 years. Since he started collecting fruit box labels he has been researching the history of the lithograph companies, growers, packers, firms, people, and places they were used. He is a fifth generation Washingtonian, whose family’s history has been intertwined with Washington state’s from territory era to present day. He holds a masters degree in resource management from Central Washington University, a BA in history and a BFA in painting from the University of Washington.

He has been employed as Historian for the United States Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) serving Washington, Oregon, Idaho and western Montana since 2008. He has written a multitude of cultural resource reports, Historic American Engineering Records, National Register of Historic Places nominations and given numerous presentations on Reclamation’s projects, dams, irrigation systems, and ditch rider housing.

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