In early 2012, members of the UW Libraries staff and Grays Harbor County residents gathered in Hoquiam’s 7th Street Theatre to take a trip back in time. The grainy clips of 1920s Grays Harbor County included highlights of a semi-pro baseball team, a parade and footage of a shipwreck.
“This was their home movie,” said Joyce Agee, associate director of development for UW Libraries. The clips found a home on the UW Special Collections website, the culmination of an eight-year effort. The newsreel footage, which was shown before feature films, was available to the public for the first time in nearly 90 years.
But Hannah Palin, film archives specialist with Libraries Special Collections, felt the footage deserved a wider audience. “There’s so much vitality in this small town and the community events that we don’t really do anymore,” Palin said. The footage became the heart of “Grays Harbor Happenings,” a documentary that will premiere on March 9 in Hoquiam. She teamed with Agee, Libraries Visual Materials Curator Nicolette Bromberg and UWTV’s Ann Coppel to spearhead the half-hour movie. “We’re learning something about a community’s life and what that meant,” Coppel said.—Matt Wastradowski