Posts Tagged ‘documentaries’

Ashtabula Train Disaster Documentary Delayed

July 12, 2020

Production of a documentary about a 19th century train disaster in Ashtabula has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The documentary was to have premiered in November but director Len Brown has put completion of the film on hold.

Brown said the film is about 85 percent complete. Some filming was done in a former New York Central passenger station in Jefferson in February 2019 with other scenes filmed on the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania.

“We still have the Pymatuning Valley Dam, Center Village in Burton, Williamsfield Community Center and Ohio Village in Columbus,” Brown said.

Work on the documentary has been ongoing for nine years.

The disaster occurred Dec. 29, 1876, when the bridge carrying the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern over the Ashtabula River collapsed as the Pacific Express was crossing it.

The train had originated in Buffalo, New York, and was bound for Chicago with through cars from New York.

The official death toll from the disaster is 83, but historians have noted that it could have been as high as 200.

Akron Library to Show Film About Pullman Porters

February 21, 2018

A documentary film about the history of Pullman porters will be shown at the Akron Public Library at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24.

The event is being held in cooperation with the Akron Railroad Club. ARRC President Craig Sanders will introduce the film by presenting an overview of the history of railroad sleeping cars and the trains that served Akron that carried them.

That presentation will include historical and contemporary images of sleepers.

The documentary is based on the book Rising From The Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class by Larry Tye.

The book describes how George M. Pullman came to use almost exclusively black men to serve passengers riding his sleeping cars.

The job was arduous, yet many men saw it as preferable to working in the fields or factories. For several decades, being a Pullman porter was one of the best-paying jobs an African-American man would have.

Most of the film is built around interviews with Tye and former porters and members of their families.

They tell poignant tales of how they persevered in the face over racism and fought for years to organize a union to  bargain for better wages and working conditions.

The event is free and will be held in the auditorium of the main library at 60 S. High Street in downtown Akron. Free parking is available in the adjacent parking garage on High Street.