REYNOLDSVILLE — A group of Reynoldsville residents and fellow community supporters gathered Thursday night to enjoy a blast-from-the-past broadcast.
“Our Town Reynoldsville” was debuted at the Reynoldsville Foundry. The “Our Town” series is a program produced by WPSU of Penn State University — Public Media for Central Pennsylvania — offering the opportunity for community volunteers to share their love of the town and its unique features.
The series is more than 20 years old, and focuses on profiling “organizations, arts, schools, attractions, local folklore, places, history, and people,” according to www.wpsu.psu.edu. The series documents and highlights characters and cultures, sharing them with the world through commercial-free and educational programs, investing in communities around the state.
The program featured members of the Reynoldsville Historical Society, including Founder Gene Deible, and Reynoldsville Public Library Director Karl Rebon, as well as many others.
The “Our Town” series has been to Reynoldsville before, about 10 or more years ago, Rebon recalled. The program’s producers revisit areas after so many years, documenting changes and speaking to different people for “part two.” The series also debuted an Our Town film in Lock Haven last month.
“I found everything featured in the program to be interesting,” Rebon said. “Even being in the town, I didn’t know a lot of the things that were in it.”
One of the biggest things of which he was not aware, Rebon said, is the giant cement arrow located in Jefferson County that was created to direct pilots when there was an air mail route. The program shows an above-ground view of the local arrow.
Other features of the program include a photo of the building of the renowned “Tickle Belly Bridge” in 1913 over the Sandy Lick Crick, and also a photo of the bridge now, more than 100 years later. The bridge’s history and arch shape have made it one of the town’s best-known landmarks, “sending a tickle through your stomach each time you pass over it.”
The production includes several aerial photographs of the town, including some of local homes and downtown Reynoldsville. Other features include the Red, White and Blueberry Festival in July each year, a group photo from the United Methodist Church mission trip in Guatemala and the Reynoldsville Community Pool in the summertime.
The program takes viewers even further back in time to black and white photos of the Reynoldsville and Falls Creek Railroad and the era when Reynoldsville began as a “lumber town.” After Sandy Lick Crick was cleared of hanging trees, lumbering became the major industry. The Smith Mill was built near Reynoldsville in 1865, according to the RHS website.
“I think it’s important for people to know their surroundings and what’s happening in their backyard,” Rebon said. “It gives people a chance who don’t know the town or the area to come and visit or watch it and learn something new about it.”
Our Town may have even helped spread word about local organizations and entities, including the Reynoldsville Public Library, since it seems there have been more inquires about its programs since the broadcast, Rebon said.
About 20 people attended the viewing of the film, but it was also streamed live through WPSU. It can now be viewed through Passport at www.wpsu.psu.edu, and photos can be viewed on the Facebook page.
For more information on Reynoldville, visit www.reynoldsvillehistoricalsociety.com.