Frank Jay Haynes was born on October 28, 1853, in Saline, Michigan. He received his early formal education in that town’s public schools and his first business experience in his father’s mercantile store.Haynes opened his phtotographic studio in Moorhead, Minnesota, in 1876. Almost immediately Haynes received his first contract from the Northern Pacific Railroad to take high-quality views of the “bonanza” farms in the Red River Valley.
In 1881 Haynes made an Northern Pacific-sponsored trip to Yellowstone Park and immediately recognized the photographic and business opportunities offered by the area. Thereafter, the Park figured prominently in Haynes’ career.
By 1885, the photographer had adapted a railroad coach for use as a studio and was touring the Northwest in his Haynes Palace Studio Car. During his trips over the NP lines, Haynes produced hundreds of negatives of railroad and trackside subjects. He also increased his studio staff in Fargo and, simultaneously, established branch photographic operations in Yellowstone National Park. Haynes moved his studio from Fargo to St. Paul in 1889. He still maintained the Palace Studio Car on the NP’s tracks, but increasingly delegated its operation to several trusted assistants. Finally in 1905, the studio car ceased operation and Haynes ended his close association with the Northern Pacific.
From his modest beginnings in Yellowstone Park, F. Jay Haynes, with the assistance of his son, Jack Ellis Haynes, developed a lucrative photographic business in the Park. They photographed and marketed hundreds of views of scenery, wildlife and tourist activities. By 1916, because of failing health, Haynes transferred his photographic interests to his son Jack Ellis Haynes.
F. Jay Haynes died at his home in St. Paul, Minnesota, on March 10, 1921.