Community group to preserve Dravosburg cemetery's history
The community group responsible for preserving Dravosburg's history with a centennial book and small museum is raising funds to capture its next project on film.
Dravosburg Community Archives will explore the history of Richland Cemetery, a 13-acre graveyard where many local historical figures are interred. Members are commissioning a documentary/period portrayal of some of the most interesting people buried there.
“Every cemetery has a lot of history to it,” Doug Baxter said. “There is a story for every one of the people buried here. We are putting together a great history source for schools, public television and community groups.”
Baxter and fellow members of the Dravosburg Community Archives nonprofit group, which formed as a legacy organization after a successful borough centennial celebration in 2003, wanted a creative way to tap into what they describe as a hub of borough history.
“We thought about leading walking tours during the summer months,” president Jan Catalogna said. “Then, we thought about installing a monument with a narrative on it. It just wasn't enough.”
By putting the cemetery's history on film, Catalogna said, the final product will be available all year round. It's a one-time project that will be around forever and viewers can watch it at their convenience, she explained.
The film will be narrated by an actor portraying John C. Risher, who once owned nearly all the land that makes up modern Dravosburg. His grave is marked with a granite monument that towers over others in the cemetery. At the time of Risher's death in 1889, the monument cost more than $5,000.
Caretaker Mike Nemeth and staff maintain the grounds around that monument and thousands of others on a daily basis, as the cemetery's acres get daily foot and bicycle traffic.
“When you walk through the cemetery and you see all of the stones, it puts local history into perspective,” Ann Toth said. “This cemetery makes history come alive.”
Archives members want the film to tell stories of local soldiers, including Jabez Griffiths, who carried President Lincoln from Ford's Theatre, and Edward Pigford, who survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
There will be a segment dedicated to Mon Valley residents who died of Spanish influenza in the early 1900s.
Actors will be dressed in period clothing including Civil War era uniforms, late 19th-century women's clothing and 1918 common dress.
“Because of generous donations and matching Archives funds, we are very close to launching this exciting project in the summer,” Catalogna said.
Anyone interested in participating in the film project is asked to call Catalogna at 412-469-2710.
Donations are payable to Dravosburg Community Archives, c/o Amity Presbyterian Church, 400 Euclid Ave., Dravosburg, 15034.
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Melocchi pleads guilty to leading McKeesport gambling ring
- McKeesport man charged with sexually assaulting girl, 11
- Musical fundraiser carries across generations
- McKeesport council considers amending adult business ordinance
- Lincoln Way widening project behind schedule
- Coalition kicks off effort to revamp education funding
- Duquesne designated a Live Well Allegheny school system
- Lincoln landslide remediation project under way
- Elizabeth Forward school board sees higher taxes next year
- Public-private partnership to bring milk to Western Pa. food banks
- Tour showcases Great Allegheny Passage, raises funds for Mon Yough chamber