Way back in 1969, I stumbled across a dying coal town in Perry County, Ohio, that looked like something out of a Western movie set. Many of the buildings had wooden balconies overlooking Main Street.
Most unusual was an effigy hanging at the main intersection in town. I was told that some in town thought it was supposed to represent the mayor, but I couldn’t confirm that.
I needed ten more hours to graduate from Ohio University, so I convinced an architecture prof to let me earn six hours of credit for documenting the town. I spent about 20 hours and shot over 400 photos. I didn’t think I had exhausted all the possibilities the town had, so I took an incomplete to keep working. Riots, a job offer in another state and circumstances kept me from getting the hours and the degree.
I spent almost a month recently digitizing the negatives, improving their quality and repairing dust spots and scratches. The result will be a series of exhibits in concert with the Little Cities of Black Diamonds and the Southeast Ohio History Center. The first showing will be at the Second Saturday celebration in Shawnee on June 9, 2018.
The first will center on Shawnee High School. The only thing left of it today is the gymnasium.
Gallery of Shawnee High School in 1969
Click on any image to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around.
I was rooting through my Ohio photos trying to find something for Curator Jessica to use in a brochure or some such thing when I ran across this photo slugged “Barn on River Road,” taken in Athens (OH) county in August 2014.
When I was working in Athens, I went through a barn phase. There were lots of really pretty, well-kept ones in that area. This one still has a good coat of the traditional red paint. (Click on it to make it larger.)
Why are barns red?
Why are barns red, you might ask? Because they’re prettier against green grass, maybe? Actually, I ran across a whole bunch of links dealing with barn paint.
I never know what I’m going to find when I pull into my Athens, Ohio, No-Tell Motel. These folks greeted me in October of 2013.
What are THEY doing?
After spending the day helping Curator Jessica and the other fine folks at the Athens County Historical Society and Museum get set up for Thursday night’s exhibit of my photos, I headed back to the motel to put on a non-rumpled shirt and some clean pants.
When I pulled into the parking lot, I first encountered a guy with a noisy leaf blower. In my parking space and a couple of adjacent ones stood a circle of singing or chanting arm-wavers. Great, I thought, it’s some crazy religious nuts.
From the University of Wisconsin
It turns out they were from the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire, in town with about 1,500 other students from 79 schools to compete in the National Forensic Association’s finals.
They were doing warm-up exercises that included chants, some obscure elimination game and emoting that involved making expressions that looked like a poodle passing a peach pit.
When I was in the Central High School forensic program, about the only warming up I got was getting whacked with a ruler by Ruby Davis when I said “warsh” instead of wash.” Times must have changed.
Gallery of photos
Here are some more photos of my neighbors (who were amazingly quiet, by the way). They include Kelly Wright, assistant forensics director, in polka dots. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around.