Until a few years ago, a box full of Grays Harbor’s historical gems sat, aging and forgotten, in a Seattle storage unit.
The box was full of 35mm film, featuring hours of amateur newsreels from around the Grays Harbor area from 1925 to 1933. The reels were donated to the University of Washington for preservation, and after years of work, have become a historical documentary which will be shown March 9 at Hoquiam’s 7th St. Theatre.
The finished product, called “Harbor Happenings: Reel Life in the 1920s,” shows small-town milestones and daily events like the opening of the Aberdeen-Willapa Highway, the sinking of the tugboat Harbor Queen on the Hoquiam River, Aberdeen Fire Department drills and cow herding in Elma.
The newsreels were digitized thanks to funding from the Apex Foundation. The documentary was made under the direction of Ann Coppel, producer/writer/director at UWTV. It includes selections from the newsreels and interviews with local Grays Harbor County historians and researchers who have helped identify the locations and content of the films. The documentary film was made possible with the efforts of the UW Libraries Special Collections and the support of many other organizations including the Grays Harbor Community Foundation, the UW Alumni Association and UWTV.
A presentation will be made by the UW Libraries team that worked on the project, and staff from the Polson Museum and the Aberdeen Museum of History will discuss and narrate some of the original newsreels.
The documentary screening and presentations on the project will take place at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the 7th Street Theatre Association, the Aberdeen History Museum and the Polson Museum.
Doors open at 1:30 p.m. for the 2 p.m. presentation and at 6:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. event. All seats are $7 and tickets will be available at the door. Advance tickets are available at City Drug in Aberdeen, Harbor Drug in Hoquiam and online at www.harbor.brownpapertickets.com.
For more information call (360) 537-7400 or check the theater’s website, www.7thstreettheatre.com.