Thursday, February 14, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Frostburg MD in Movies, 1938

Mom got a DVD form Aunt Betty containing a movie in four reels about Frostburg, Maryland filmed in 1938 and she sent it on to me. Don't know where Aunt Betty got it, but I suspect her wonderful friend Shirley was the source. Shirley is related too but I can't quite think how at the moment.

In Frostburg, if two people both go back a couple of generations, there's a more than 50-50 chance that you're probably related. After a while, when you sit at the Princess Restaurant on Main Street, and you see a face, you just know if you are related or not. Really!

So here are some screen shots from the 1938 film. Unfortunately I can't find anything about how this film company, why the film was made, or for what purpose. The title page would lead one to thing that this was part of a larger series about various small towns. The only reference I see in the Google search is for an excerpt on Project Muse about itinerant film productions which gives this:

Amateur Services Production: See Yourself and Your Town in the Movies Series (ca. 1930–1950)

So here are the screen shots from the first reel. Have yet to check out the remaining three reels... what fun!!

Title for all four reels.

Main Street, Frostburg, Maryland, 1938.

Wallpaper store on main Street. Wallpaper was really big then!

Wide view of the wallpaper store. Notice the old and beautiful building fronts.

 Guys handing out in front of a store. Still happens.

Horse drawn wagons still in use in 1938.

Much welcomed WPA money funded road repair and rebuilding.
A WPA road crew digs up and repairs the street.

Gunter's gas station.

State police in jodhpurs outside Gunter's.

Abundant food in cans grace the store window.
The Great Depression was almost over and people were going back to work.
Mom and Dad were married in August of 1939 so I can quit examining every frame for the happy couple out for a stroll. Mom remembers Frostburg as it was, of course, as she remembers just about everything. Mom told me recently about seeing one of those WPA road crews at work. She looked into the deep hole and saw three layers of the old National Road. The first layer was the old dirt road which you can see in the photos in the album on the tab, above, and one below. The next layer was rock and the last was cobble stones. The film shows the crew relaying those stones.  Interestingly for us, Mom's grandfather, Joseph H. Whetstone, helped lay the original cobblestone pavers.
The old National Road, dirt version, about 1912.

Joseph H. Whetstone (1858 - 1939), stone mason.
Mom's high school graduation photo, 1936.


  1. Hello! Your mother graduated from high school the same year my father did. Was she at Beall High School? My dad was George Greco and they lived on McCulloch Street

    1. Mom graduated from Beall High in 1936:) They must have been in the same class together! Next time I talk to her I'll ask if she remembers him or any stories from then about him. I'll post back.