Perspectives

Unique Historical Discoveries Made During Production of Our Town: Gallipolis


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Our Town Gallipolis LogoATHENS, OH – The turn of a new year means the premiere screening of WOUB Public Media’s Our Town: Gallipolis is just around the corner. Gallipolis has become WOUB Producer/Director Evan Shaw’s home away from home over the last several months. He has been spending a lot of time in town interviewing local experts and historians while gathering photos and video to put in the documentary.

“I grew up in Southeastern Ohio and thought I knew most everything there was to know about this region’s history. But every time we start a new Our Town, I learn a few things that blow my mind. That, of course, is what has happened in Gallipolis, and the things we are learning are great.” said Shaw.

Evan Shaw interviewing Marianne Campbell
Shaw interviewing Marianne Campbell

Shaw interviewed longtime Gallipolis resident Marianne Campbell about the early history of the town and some of its most notable residents, as well as her more than 70-year broadcast career.

He also conducted interviews with several others about prominent figures in Gallipolis history including Edna Whiteley, an expert on Newspaper Columnist O.O. McIntyre, Grandma Gatewood’s Great-Granddaughter Marjorie Wood, and Rio Grande University Archivist Jake Bapst and Rio Grande History Professor Ivan Tribe about the story of the college and the history of basketball star Bevo Francis.

“It’s the little details you learn in these conversations that are great,” said Shaw. “We learned how Bevo Francis was really sick as a child with anemia and could barely walk, so he focused on shooting baskets.”

Shaw has also gathered interviews and photos exploring big events in the town’s history including the 1913 flood, the infamous Silver Bridge collapse, and he also recently conducted an interview about Gallipolis’ connection to another famous tragedy: the sinking of the Titanic.

Cenotaph honoring Albert Stewart
Centograph honoring Albert Stewart at Mound Hill Cementary

“We are talking to Lynn Pauley from the Bossard Memorial Library about a Gallipolis man named Albert Stewart who died on the Titanic,” said Shaw. “Who knew that Gallipolis had such a connection to this event in history and that you can find a cenotaph honoring Stewart at Mound Hill Cemetery in Gallipolis?”

Shaw is a 13-time Emmy-Award winner. Previously highlighted communities in the Our Town series include Lancaster, Pomeroy, Nelsonville, Jackson, Athens, and Morgan County.

Our Town: Gallipolis will premiere at a free public screening in Gallipolis on March 22, 2020 at Gallia Academy at 3 p.m.

About Our Town

Our Town is a historical documentary series produced by WOUB Public Media and the Barbara Geralds Institute for Storytelling and Social Impact which aims to tell the unique creation stories of communities in the Appalachian region. Through the telling of this history, Our Town is building the collective story of the Appalachian region and developing an incredible sense of place and purpose to inspire residents to continue building on the past to create a stronger future.