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Susquehanna Life

Can You Help Restore This Rare Find?

May 26, 2015 05:32PM ● By Erica Shames

In the midst of Union County’s Bicentennial celebration in 2013, a remarkable artifact surfaced in the archives of the Union County Historical Society—a 12-inch reel of film, similar in format to the film 1937 in Mifflinburg and Western Union County, which was made available to the public in 2013. The format was so similar that the same company responsible for the Mifflinburg production was clearly at work in Lewisburg. The leader piece of the Lewisburg film was still intact and identified the production company: Amateur Services Production.

Amateur Services Production was a company active from about 1930 to 1950. It provided the resources and training necessary for aspiring filmmakers to produce local films in small towns as part of a series entitled, “See Yourself and Your Town in the Movies.” We see everyday life in 1937. It is not fancy, it is not staged, but it shows a community of folks doing their work, enjoying their friends and family, and helping out the community. We see a caring community and a vibrant business community.

The film is sure to bring to life the lost memories of how it used to be. And, anyone in school in 1937 is almost certain to appear in the footage. Local factories, stores and shops are shown, often with their owners, staff, and employees. Lois Huffines had the film digitized and is volunteering her time to edit the film, working with local historians to identify the places shown and, through the Union County Historical Society, make it available for sale. The working title is 1937 in Lewisburg.

In order to make this film available as a DVD, the historical society needs some financial help. The project will cost about $1000. The society is trying to identify, by July 1, ten people, families or businesses with an interest in local history, who would be willing to each donate $100 toward the project. Three, including Susquehanna Life magazine, have been secured. The society plans to order 100 DVD copies and hopes to have it available in time for the 2015 holidays.

For more information, contact the Union County Historical Society at (570) 524-8666. Checks made out to the Union County Historical Society may be sent to UCHS, 103 South Second St., Lewisburg, PA 17837. This is a great find, and a wonderful part of Union County history. All sponsors will receive a copy of the edited DVD. 

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