The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society will host a Society Program on Sunday, May 20, at 2pm in its Community Room. Guest lecturer Gale Largey will present commentary on his documentary, “The Austin Disaster 1911: A Chronicle of Human Character”. The program is free and open to the public.
In 1911 Austin, Pennsylvania was flooded due to the collapse of a dam built to serve the town's large paper mill, killing 72 people, many of whom were trying to save the lives of others. Moving across the town's earliest wooded beginning to its fiercely industrial urbanity, Austin, within the context of apathy and tragedy, is revealed through a rich interplay of narration, interviews, and detailed photographs. The film explores the social environment of Industrial America in the early 1900's with its rapidly shifting commercial interests, increasing immigration and severe tensions between factory owners and the working class. Turning on the tragic pivot of the flood, a portrait of an American community is etched starkly with the character of its people made plain in the receding waters.
The Society Program continues a series of lectures which focus on the era of World War I. As the Society Program coincides with the third Sunday of the month, admission to the museum is free. The museum is now open on Sundays from May through the end of October. The Lecture Series combines the Sunday afternoon programs with Thursday morning Coffee Hours. Future talks will focus on World War I quilts, the River Valley Quintet performing the music of Irving Berlin and George M. Cohan, and a lecture on aviation during World War I by William E. Fischer, Jr., U.S. Air Force (retired).