Historical perspectives from ‘Images of Mount Holly’

by Sarah Melton

Learning about Mount Holly’s history is now only mouse click away.

Emily Lorance Rall presented “Images of Historic Mount Holly” to the Mount Holly Historical Association recently, where she discussed www.historicmountholly.com, a website she created while interning with the City of Mount Holly in 2006. She wrapped up the project in December 2008 and the site went live the following month.

Rall, who grew up in Belmont, was inspired to create the site after seeing a hand drawn map from longtime Mount Holly resident Ed Cox. The map not only showcased places of general interest, but also places of special interest to Cox that brought back childhood memories.

“When I saw this map, it was like a light bulb just struck me and I thought, ‘What if we could expand this idea? What if more people could contribute to the history of Mount Holly?’” Rall said. “I started thinking, ‘What if we could put it online and make it interactive so people could add their own places, photos and stories?’”

Rall used documents from the city’s archives, books and solicited information from the community to learn more about the history of Mount Holly. She created a website filled with interactive maps with pictures and descriptions. Videos, historical maps, interviews, newspaper and magazine articles and historical sketches are also on the site.

One of Rall’s favorite parts of the project was digitizing old film reels.

“From what I remember about the reels, an independent cinematographer, used to go to different communities and shoot daily life,” she said. “The segments would be 5-15 minutes and sold to local movie theaters to play before the feature films. Everybody got a kick out of seeing their neighbors and seeing what was going on in town.”

Only certain administrators can make changes to the site, but the community is welcome to request to add more information by contacting city planning staff.

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