History chronicled in cyberspace

Published 10:10 am Thursday, January 23, 2014

3-year project still a work in progress


COAL GROVE — The history of the Village of Coal Grove is now just a click away.

What began three years ago as a project for Dean Mader’s hands-on history class at Dawson-Bryant High School has blossomed into a full-fledged website dedicated to documenting Coal Grove’s heritage.

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It’s called The Coal Grove Memory Project and its moniker is “Connecting Yesterday with Tomorrow.” Project organizers say the large undertaking is a continual work in progress. Launched on Jan. 9, www.cgmemory.org aims to contain anything and everything about Coal Grove and the Dawson-Bryant School District.

“We have been and will be constantly adding content to the site,” Mader said. “We are trying to compile everything we can about every community in our school district.”

The project would have never come to fruition if not for the help of Dawson-Bryant Technology Coordinator Tyler Waller, Mader said, as well as many others.

“A lot of people are helping with this project,” Mader said. “Tyler Waller handles the technology side of it and we have students and anyone else we can get helping us compile information. We are asking for the community’s help.”

Mader said he and students have attended multiple meetings throughout the community asking for assistance in finding pictures, stories or any information about businesses, schools, students, members of the military or anything else in regard to the history of Coal Grove, Deering and Andis.

“Our schools are named after two soldiers — Homer Dawson and Curtis Bryant — who were killed in World War I,” Mader said. “Our high school principal, Steve Easterling, said he had never seen a picture of the two soldiers. Things like that are what made us want to do this.”

The website has had 1,500 unique visitors since it launched, a thousand of which have visited since last Wednesday. More than 3,000 photos have been posted to the site as well as multiple yearbooks, an interview and numerous other archives.

“The students are always asking about the history of the school they attend and the area in which they live,” Mader said. “What better way to teach it to them than to have them compile it themselves? This project is a way for the people in the community to reflect on the past and give future generations a glimpse into our proud heritage.”

Although those involved in the project are currently focusing on older pictures and other archival materials, the plan, Mader said, is to have a complete historical timeline available online.

Information gathered will not only go online but will be used for other potential projects in the spirit of celebrating Coal Grove’s heritage such as Project Paint the Walls, which will use photos to create murals to place throughout the high school, a video tour of history on DVD, a narrative book and an online photograph database accessible by the community.

“To tell the story as best as we can we need all the help from the community we can get,” Mader said. “I urge anyone to share photos, stories and ideas from every time period in our history.”

The best ways to aid Mader and his students in this endeavor is answering the online questionnaire, emailing pictures and stories, donating artifacts, being the subject of an interview or providing story leads.

Several photo galleries and historical stories are already posted on the website along with yearbooks from 1933, 1936, 1941, 1946, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1958, 1968, 1970, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

To offer assistance in any of the aforementioned ways, contact Mader by calling 740-532-6345 ext. 72160 or by email at dean.mader@db.k12.oh.us.