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Moon man's documentary spotlights Ohio River heritage

| Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, 7:32 p.m.

Before there were bridges, highways and Google Maps, local residents used the Ohio River as the main thoroughfare from Coraopolis and Moon to Sewickley.

Moon Township resident Ron Potter showcases the history of the main waterway separating the communities in his new documentary, "Moon, Coraopolis and Sewickley: Our Shared River Heritage."

The Old Moon Township Historical Society president created the 50-minute program in an effort to create awareness of the historical value of the Ohio River, he said.

"There is so much life on the river now, but a lot of the people who use it probably have no idea about its history," Potter said.

The film highlights many of the riverboats to travel through the region and also feature the LST 325 - a World War II Navy transport that made its way to Pittsburgh in 2010.

During the war, some landing ship tanks, or LSTs, were built at Dravo Corp. and American Bridge Co. factories in Ambridge and on Neville Island.

"It's hard to believe that vessels as large as that could be made so far inland and used on the oceans," Potter said.

The 74-year-old Fayette County native has been interested in rivers for much of his life, thanks to his proximity near the Youghiogheny River, he said.

"I never had a boat, but I always liked to go and sit along the river, watch the passing scene and read about the history of our rivers," Potter said.

In the 1980s, Potter created a documentary about river transportation.

He always wanted to follow that production with another.

And even after this second edition, Potter said he discovered there still is much more to tell about the rivers.

"When you're covering 200 years of history, it is difficult to cover it in just a few minutes," he said.

Potter said he learned a lot about the local communities through the research he did.

"We were joined together in ways that benefited us all," he said.

"Moon, Coraopolis and Sewickley: Our Shared River Heritage" will air at 8 p.m. Monday on MCA-TV. The program also can be viewed at www.mca-tv.com.

Copies of the program can be made by contacting MCA-TV at 412-269-1191.

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