Historical Society asks for photos

By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein The Press-Tribune
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The Roseville Historical Society thinks you oughta be in pictures. If not you, then maybe your ancestors. The longtime local nonprofit is asking the community to take a look in attics, basements and old drawers in hopes of turning up interesting pre-1950 photographs of Roseville for a book project timed to the city’s centennial celebration. “I’m looking for pictures of places like businesses, old homes and people,” said Phoebe Astill, curator of the group’s Carnegie Museum. “And if we use them in this special project, they’ll get a credit in the book.” The book, which has yet to be titled, is slated to be published later this year. It will tell the story of Roseville from its early days, when it was called Junction, and chronicle its growth until about mid-century – mostly through photos. Astill said it will be a fitting tribute to the city as it approaches the 100th anniversary of its incorporation on April 10, 1909. Submissions will be scanned onto a computer and returned, Astill said; although not everything will make it in the book, all items will be added to the society’s archives. Of special interest are photos of pioneer families and anyone who lived here up until 1950. “There are some families that are pioneer families that are not real well known,” she said. And it’s not just photos the society is interested in. Things such as old phone books and receipts can also be extremely valuable for those conducting research. Indeed, the society often relies on spontaneous donations to the museum for some of its most important artifacts. A nearly complete archive of the short-lived Roseville Star newspaper turned up after a Roseville resident cleaned out her closet a few years ago. Unfortunately, many people don’t recognize the value of a collection of old photos. Often it’s discovered when somebody dies and is simply tossed. For the Historical Society, archiving such artifacts isn’t just for nostalgia’s sake. It’s also to aid in researching family trees, building provenance and more. “It’s to preserve the history,” Astill said. “Our motto is to preserve and promote the history of Roseville.” The Historical Society’s project isn’t the only one being timed in honor of the century celebration. The city of Roseville is also seeking historical remembrances for a video as well as its own book project. Information on that effort is available at Astill said the outreach effort would uncover previously unknown gems from the city and area’s past. “I had a gentleman bring over a picture of businesses on Riverside (Boulevard) that I had never heard of,” said Astill, whose family traces its roots in the area back generations. “They were in his family’s scrapbook. “It could be in a garage, shed, attic or basement,” she added. “You just never know where you might find it.”