Green Lake During the 1918 Influenza

March 31, 2020 9:31pm
Photo via National Archives

Recently my husband went down a weird online rabbit hole, looking up the history of the N-95 mask until he stumbled on a photo that caught his attention. That photo is above. The undated photo of the Green Lake electric trolley came with the caption: “Precautions taken in Seattle, Washington during the Spanish Influenza epidemic would not permit anyone to ride on the street cars without wearing a mask. The Red Cross made 260,000 masks. Local Identifier: 165-WW-269B-11”

It is one of many photos that were created through the American Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs, which have been digitized in full as part of the Wartime Films Project.

I can’t help but wonder what photos are being taken now that people will look at in 100 years. This photo and the collection of photos taken at that time are a good reminder that the world has been through this before and someday this day will pass.