Two women from Chicago are on a mission to solve the mystery of photos printed in Regina back in the 1940s that somehow found their way to a goodwill store in their city — and they’re hoping they can find the family in the long-forgotten photos
Maria Ochoa and Kimberly Dosamantes run an Instagram page called Saved the Spot, where they post pictures of bookmarks and other items found in thrift shops.
“Sometimes we just go to thrift shops and we look for old bookmarks,” to post on the page, said Dosamantes.
“I just like finding things that people left behind,” she added.
One day in a Chicago goodwill store, Ochoa said she was doing her usual book browsing for hidden gems to share on the page. Instead, she found something “even better.”
“I ended up finding this pack of pictures in the book,” said Ochoa.
There were several family pictures with a stamp on the back of the photos indicating the photos had been printed at TruLife Photo Co., located at 11th Avenue and Cornwall Street in Regina.
“We just decided to post them. Kim wanted to search to find the family [and see] if we can send these pictures to them, because we know they’re probably valuable to them,” said Ochoa.
Ochoa had discovered nearly a dozen photos.
Dana Turgeon, Regina’s historical information and preservation supervisor, said that most of the dozen photos appear to be from the 1940s. She says the clothing worn in the photos is very emblematic of that era.
“The woman in her wedding dress — it’s a very ’40s style of wedding dress,” said Turgeon.
Turgeon also said it seems like the woman in the photos is wearing outfits she would have had in her trousseau — a collection of clothing and linens a woman would keep for her marriage, a common custom in that era.
Turgeon hypothesizes that some of the photos depict the woman on the day after her wedding, heading out in her travelling clothes.
“She has a nice suit jacket on, a skirt and a shirt. It fits with that timeframe,” said Turgeon.
The photos were printed by TruLife Photo Co. in Regina, which was located at 2136 11th Ave., near the entrance to the Bay in the Cornwall Centre today.
TruLife was also listed as the photographer for the 1948 city council photo, said Turgeon.
In one photo, a man and woman are walking across a street, and a shop can be seen in the background with an awning that seems to read “Jolly’s Drugs.” There was a Jolly’s Drugs located at 1799 Rose St. back at that time.
There is also a picture where a man stands in front of a shop that seems to be called Cafe Cadillac, but it remains a mystery where that shop was located.
Turgeon said there doesn’t seem to be a café with that name in Regina from the same time period, but there is a town in Saskatchewan called Cadillac, approximately 240 kilometres away from Regina.
On a mission
“We’re trying to really find anything about their family,” said Dosamantes.
The women posted the photos to Reddit in hopes of finding more information so they could send the pictures to the family.
“I would really love it if we could find the family of this woman, and the man,” said Dosamantes.
“My mom lost her wedding photos a long time ago, and she used to always talk about if she could just get them back, how happy that would make her.”
Dosamantes said she hopes by finding the family and returning these photos one day, she can pay it forward to another family who lost valuable keepsakes.