South Charleston: College student compiles old photos on DVD


Vulcan Hardware once occupied the space now occupied by Landmark in South Charleston. Resident Josh Murray has collected images like these on a DVD in a historical tribute to the town.
 The business section of South Charleston looks much the same way it did 100 years ago.

In what started as a classroom assignment, Urbana University student Josh Murray found an outlet for his passion for history. He has created one digital slide-show representation of South Charleston’s past and is working on another one that incorporates some of the town’s present.

Two years ago, the early childhood education major enrolled in an Ohio history class to satisfy an interest in the subject.

“I’m really passionate about history,” said Murray. “I’ve always had an interest in old photos, post cards.”

As an ongoing project, students in the class were assigned to research the history of a town. Murray chose to research his hometown and incorporate a collection of memorabilia.

Murray sifted through a collection of over 150 photographs, post cards, and other historical items to choose content for a DVD that he later sold to interested residents of South Charleston.

The South Charleston Heritage Commission helped to host a “history night” to debut the DVD. The viewing enjoyed an audience of over 60 people.

The DVD includes 36 different views of the village, some of which date back to the early 1900s.

“There’s a picture of Shoemaker’s Grocery Store and other buildings in the heart of South Charleston around the turn of the century. I think that’s probably my favorite one, just because I’ve never been able to see it before. It burnt down in the 1960s,” Murray said.

Other changes have occurred over the past 100 years in South Charleston, and they serve as inspiration for a second DVD project.

With the help of a photographer in South Charleston, Murray hopes to take pictures of South Charleston as it stands today in order to create a then-and-now comparison.

“We took some pictures last year, but when they were developed, we realized the leaves on the trees blocked a lot of the views,” he said.

Murray plans to try again in the spring and looks to finish the second DVD within the year.

Anyone interested in purchasing a copy of the first DVD of historical South Charleston should contact Josh Murray at 937-215-2471. The DVDs cost $1 each.

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