Glimpse history through fascinating old images of Charleston, West Virginia.
Charleston WV 1932
In August 1932, the Kearse Theatre and the Charleston Daily Mail made this film called ‘Charleston Beautiful’, directed by L. Blundon Wills, which described itself as “Charleston’s first all-sound community motion picture”.
Unusually, this film was made with the specific purpose of recording community life and activities as a record for the future, though it was envisoned to be of interest ten or twenty years after 1932. The filmmakers recognised that major change would happen.
It includes the City Mayor, Quarrier Street, State Street, Capitol Street, West Side, the Baby Parade at the YMCA, the telephone exchange, the area hospital nursing students, and the Charleston Fire Dept.
The commentator names the streets, talks about some of the buildings and landmarks, and names some of the people seen on screen.
The final scene is a wonderful panning shot across the city from the bridge across the river, as the commentator says this film will be a record for the next generation, for when those babies filmed at the YMCA are grown up.
Charleston WV In 1932 – wvsky on YouTube
Charleston WV 1981-1984
This home movie of clips recorded by Rodney D. Morrison between 1981 and 1984 includes the riverfront, scenes of Downtown from above and at street level, and a drive past store fronts.
It was a time of redevelopment, captured in the rooftop clips.
At 1:58 a car goes by with its boot up and a man sitting precariously inside. None of the pedestrians turns to look at this surprising sight.
The streets are busy so perhaps hundreds of people could spot themselves captured on film all these decades ago.
Charleston WV 1981-82 – wvsky on YouTube