History of Our Area &
Flomaton Auction

1 - Pre 1900 History of the local Flomaton area

2 - The Recreational Years of the Jackson Theatre

3 - Action at Flomaton Antique Auction

4 - A Chronological History of Filmmaking

          I will be discussing the early history of southern Alabama and northwest Florida region and the relation of Flomaton area to these events. A quick overview will be given, beginning with interactions between Desoto and the Indians in 1540 and continuing up to the beginning of the twentieth century. I will also tell of the history of the Jackson theatre and its impact on the recreation of the Flomaton area and continue to the beginnings of Flomaton Antique Auction, its history and sales over the last 38 years, bringing you up to an invitation to be with us for one of our next first weekend monthly sales. By purchasing American antiques for your home you become a part of the history of these fine furnishings. Equally important you are helping to protect the record of the rich heritage of beautiful furniture produced in America over the last 200 years.

1 - Pre 1900 History of the local Flomaton area  

An early Indian village

           The Indians lived in South Alabama in the beautiful Pinewoods. An early record of an Indian town as described by Spaniard Hernando Desoto was located on the banks of the Alabama River, approximately 85 miles north of Pensacola, FL, 25 miles north of the fork of the Alabama/Tombigbee River and northeast of the current city of Mobile. This fortified town of Maubila portrayed by Desoto had “eighty handsome houses”, each able to hold a thousand men and fronted toward a large public square. They were encompassed by a high wall made of immense trunks of trees, woven together and covered with a thick mud resembling stucco.

          In early 1540 Desoto traversed from northeast Alabama through the Montgomery area continuing through Southern Alabama on a route long established by the Indians - the Lower Creek Trading Path. In October of that year, after arriving at the Indian town of Maubila, a 9-hour bloody battle ensued with the Indians. The next day while recovering from battle and hearing from captured Indians the report that Spanish supply ships were in Pensacola Bay, he promptly sent a chief to confirm the information. This probably took the chief’s party on an Indian path west of present day Flomaton. Desoto’s party never followed on this route due to his discovery of mutiny among his men on arrival at the Bay. Instead, they continued further west across the Mississippi River, exploring into Arkansas, then back to the Mississippi river where he was buried. Nineteen years later on August 14, 1559 Desoto’s lieutenant general, Don Tristan de Luna landed near Pensacola with thirteen ships and over fifteen hundred colonists and soldiers. This site called Santa Maria was the first European/Spanish settlement attempt in the continental United States, six years prior to St Augustine. Three years later after interior explorations were accomplished, this area was abandoned due to hurricane devastation and Indian hostilities. In 1561 Angel de Villafane offered transport to those colonizing Panzacola. The orders to find an overland route to Santa Elena (Port Royal, SC) had not been accomplished, however there was a route established into the Nachoochee Valley (northeast Georgia gold country) and used by the Spanish over the next one hundred and seventy years.   In 1696 Don Andres d’Arriola successfully established Pensacola and with three hundred men built the fort San Carlos.   (1)

                 Further north in present day Alabama, The Lower Creek Trading Route used by Hernando Desoto is documented of being used by traders, travelers and early settlers throughout the 1700’s. In July 1775, William Bartram (America’s first botanist) traveled and promoted “Mississippi territory” on this route from Milledgeville Georgia to French occupied Mobile. Later this route became the Old Federal Road that was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson and Congress in 1806. The United States military road was specified to be four feet wide and became an achievement of frontier and political engineering at the time. The provision of this new route intended for the transfer of military and political news between Washington and New Orleans and was a distance of 1152 miles. This saved 320 miles, and via post rider was ten days shorter than the month long Natchez Trace route.    (1a, 2)

                 The treaty of 1795 between Spain and the United States set the international border at the 31st parallel (one block south of the Auction). It remained until the US purchase of Florida in 1821, at which time it became the line between the State of Alabama and the Florida territory. There are records of several settlements extending north from the Gulf coast to this area by the early 1800’s. On perusing the maps of the 1800’s and focusing on the Flomaton area, we can see a settlement to the west, with the name of Miles (known currently as the Sardis community). This was along an Indian trail that connected Pensacola to the Lower Creek Trading Route. Flomaton is situated east of this path, on the international border and near the old Indian “Wolf Trail” that ran west of the Escambia River. The Wolf Trail ran from Spanish Pensacola and by the US Fort Crawford, a fort built as an outpost on the international border, which began the United States drive to take Florida Territory from Spain. On May 6, 1816, Andrew Jackson sent the 7th Infantry Battalion from Fort Montgomery on the Alabama River to find a suitable site on the Escambia River. On May 27th it appears they crossed Big Escambia River and encamped east of the site of Flomaton. The encampment continued there until the Fort Crawford site was selected on the bluffs of the navigable “Conaka” (Conecuh) River (at the present site of East Brewton, Alabama). After this, in Spanish Florida, Fort Apalachicola was taken in July 1816 and later this part of Florida was secured by the US in 1818 with the taking of St Mark’s and Fort Pensacola. In 1821 Florida was purchased by the United States and become a state in 1845. Alabama had become a state by 1819.   ( 2a, 2b)

Above:  Railroad map
Left: International Border 1814

            Just prior to the Civil War in May of 1861, a fire breathing behemoth came clickity-clacking through the area. A rail charter was signed in 1832 but never came to fruition. The first successful railroad charter signed in 1850 and completed eleven years later was the A&F (Alabama & Florida) Montgomery to Pensacola route that ran to the east of present day Flomaton. The old rail bed is still visible in areas along Welka Road and to the east of Fannie Road that crossed the Little Escambia River on a 2000-foot trestle east of the existing Hardy Ferry Bridge. It then continued until it connected with Jefferson Street in Century, Florida and on to Pensacola. This rail bed probably followed near the early Indian “Wolf” trail and later road to Fort Crawford and Pollard. Then came the Civil War when the railroad trestle was destroyed, probably by the Confederates to keep the Union from using the latest troop movement devices. Connecting at Pollard was the rail line to the west. The M&GN (Mobile & Great Northern) ran to the Tensaw River, where travel by ferry across the Mobile Bay to the city of Mobile was made possible. This was probably the delivery route of the Hunley, the first submarine successfully used in combat, built in Mobile and routed through this area under tarp and armed secrecy to Charleston, South Carolina, in August 1863.   (3,4)

             After the Civil War we see the beginnings of the small town of Flomaton, Alabama. The new Florida rail – P&L (Pensacola & Louisville) merged in 1868 with the A&F and the M&GN to become the M&M (Mobile & Montgomery). In 1867, probably in process of building the new rail line, railroad man Hiram Renfroe, with his wife Delilah, built a small log house south of the state line and along the new rail line to Pensacola. This route was chosen to eliminate the expense of rebuilding the 2000-foot trestle to the east that had been beside the Hardy Ferry (now Bridge). Pensacola Junction is the name often given on early maps to this railhead. Other names seen on maps for this important rail junction were – Whiting (after a local stationmaster), Reuterville (after the Colonel that drove the last spike on the rail line), and Miles (which is in reality to the West). The late 1800’s saw an influx of many travelers through this area. This line was the main rail route from the North and East coast to New Orleans and the Southwest “Wild West” country. By 1886 two hundred and fifty residents were living in this railroad community and a few churches had been established. By the 1900’s many of the early families had settled in – Browns, Drurys, Jacksons (a name to come up later in our discussion), McCurdys, Walkers (possibly the earliest landowners) and Weavers (1904). On April 13, 1908, the town was incorporated as Flomaton – FLO-rida/alaba-MA with TON being added by Post Office. A considerable amount of history has been recorded since then. I will be focusing particularly on the history of the Jackson Theatre, later to become the galleries of Flomaton Antique Auction

            One current note of action is about the property just north of the Alabama/Florida state line. The Flomaton Chamber of Commerce is developing this area into a local museum and Alabama Welcome Center. The two room Renfroe log home, mentioned earlier, has been moved to the property adjacent to the circa 1900 Victorian Grant/Nelson home. Joseph J Grant, with William Washburn and J J Sullivan (of Pensacola) started Hall’s Creek Logging And Manufacturing Company, Inc, on August 28,1896 (register brand S). Joseph Grant built his house on the corner of Palafox and Church Streets across from his two-story hotel on the corner of Palafox and Ringold Streets (northeast corner). The Victorian house has been restored to the original colors chosen by the first owners from colors in vogue around the turn of that century.    (2a)


Above:  The Renfroe cabin (background) and Grant/Nelson house at their US 29 location.

Right:  Grant/Nelson house at original Palafox Street location.

2 - The Recreational Years of the Jackson Theatre

            In 1926, during the bustling years of the “roaring twenties”, one of the early businessmen of Flomaton, Mr. Sam Jackson, Sr. built a large brick theatre building near the center of town, probably using brick produced locally in the Keego brickyard located about ten miles northeast of Flomaton. It is a 50’ x 100’ building done in a Spanish style architecture with four large arched entrances across the front. There was a hexagon shaped ticket booth in the center of the large protected portal. The interior has an eighteen-foot high tin ceiling, a sloped audience floor and had a full production stage, complete with dressing rooms and under stage frontal lighting. The building was later equipped with a large water-cooling “air-conditioning system”.  This was the first theater building in Escambia County, Alabama. With a seating capacity of around 400 patrons it was among the largest in Alabama until mid century.

Jackson's Theatre, 1951
Showing "Red Desert" and "Fortunes of Captain Blood"

              The official opening date was on Friday, October 2, 1926 with the showing of “The Deadline”, starring Bob Custer along with a twenty minute slapstick comedy “Egged On” with Charlie Bowers”. One week earlier local citizens were treated to the showing of “The Flomaton Fish”, a documentary shown regionally with personal appearances of renown local swimmer Bill Jackson (swimming feats of Flomaton to Pensacola, Mobile Bay, etc). In those early years there were many silent “picture shows” presented. These entertained the local population as well as the many travelers from the railroad that were laying over to catch the next train or spending the night in one of the 3 or 4 hotels for fifty cents a night and enjoying one of the 24hr eating establishments, also fifty cents per meal. There were also many live shows or vaudeville plays, as they were known, that were popular throughout America until the sound picture shows gained prominence in the1930’s. Some of the early theatrical productions in the Jackson theatre ran for a week. An example was the Cooke Players who performed during the “Depression Years”, as remembered by Dot Ptomey (Weaver) whose family kept one of the members. Another memorable person purported to have a performance in Flomaton was Ophelia Colley, of Nashville, Tennessee, going by the name of Minnie Pearl. There also were probably some displays of humor, as comedy shows were one of the early functions of this type of building, as society moved from live theatre to the showing of movies. The “picture show” house was also the place of many local piano recitals since they had the pianos already in place. The Jackson’s Theatre had two, one was a player piano that was used to play the rolls to correspond and add entertainment to the silent movies of the day. The demise of the player piano was during the flood of 1929, when it was found floating inside the building. It was probably never replaced due to the synchronizing of sound with movie film in that same year. The 30’s saw the end of silent shows such as Charlie Chaplin in “City Lights”(1931) and “Modern Times”(1936) and the beginning of early sound productions like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1931, “Nitwits”, “Call of the Wild”, “Cowboy and the Kid”. These and others were shown in Flomaton in 1935 and 1936 as recorded in the meticulous ledgers kept by Mr. Sammy Jackson.

           In the aftermath of the greatest flood in Alabama in March of 1929, and in October with the stock market crash marking the beginning of the “depression” era, plus the change from silent to sound movies all contributed to snuffing the “roaring twenties” out of the way. In this social and economic environment the theatre building was rented to others to operate. The theatre continued to prosper, and during this period a balcony was added in the rear of the auditorium to accommodate the “blacks” and some local mechanics. This added another 75 or so seats, bringing the total seating capacity to near 500 people. There was a separate entrance into the outside portal for the balcony, with its own restroom and water fountain.

             On Saturday, October 2, 1934, twenty-two year old Sammy Jackson married Clara Mixon, a schoolteacher from Chumuckla, Florida. At the ceremonies, Sammy’s father handed them their wedding gift – the deed to the Jackson Theatre. They then ended the day with an evening at the “picture show”. The happily married couple then embarked on the livelihood of their lives. They would, in the early days, travel to New Orleans and on “Film Row” choose the next week’s showings and shipped via Transway Truck. The palate of companies to peruse was Columbia, Universal, Paramount, Warner Bros, United Artist (Fox), Republic, RKO, and others of that time. Later the company salesmen would bring the reels by, then the movie house proprietors express mailed them back to the film company. There were showings on every day of the week with some days, especially weekends, having noon openings.  At opening time the special feature was shown, with an approximate time of one and a half to two hours. This was followed with a short interval cartoon or serial of fifteen to twenty minutes, such as the “Miracle Rider”, “Cats in a Bag”, and later years, the “Little Rascals”, “Three Stooges” or such. At times a newsreel was shown as the interval, along with an occasional ad such as – “I’m so full…I had a BIG MEAL at Jackson’s Hotel and Cafe”. This order of showing was continued until closing time, many days having shown a feature film four times.

Old glass slides advertising another Jackson enterprise

            Mrs. Clara Jackson was always at the ticket booth exchanging tickets for the handsome sum of ten cents for children and a quarter for those above twelve. In the 1940’s Lil’ Sue, their only child, sat on the step behind her mother while Mr. Sammy was nearby in the lobby greeting and ushering the patrons into the darkened auditorium. Mr. Sammy, with his trusty flashlight, kept order in the room – quieting boisterous children and keeping an eye on over-zealous lovers. There were many Wednesday drawings held, giving various prizes to the excited winner. The Jackson Theatre was the place to watch that favorite movie, and many times was the first local offering of a “hit” movie. Being the first to show such movies, the crowds were often at full capacity and according to Mrs. Jackson; one such movie in 1939 was “Gone with the Wind”. This was one movie that ran for several weeks. Showing popular movies as this and the high character of Mr. Sammy and Matie Lou brought them much respect in the surrounding communities. During World War II Sammy was “called to duty” and served our country by  - guess what – showing films to our servicemen stateside. By doing so, our servicemen could relax and get a break from the intense pressure of the impending trip across the ocean and to the battlefront. On the home front Mrs Jackson, with the help of Jack McCloud, kept the picture shows running right on schedule.

Glass Theatre Slide -- Coming Attractions

            The building was always kept clean and neat, with as many as four bulletins displaying the latest and future showings. The front also sported the most moderne attention grabbers – neon lights – stretching across the front with diamond shapes interspersed with the arches, and word “theatre” in the center attempting to reach out and drag you in. By the 1970’s with movies “becoming dirty”, as described by the respectable Mr. Sammy, there was discussion to close the movie house. These later years, he often met his patrons in the parking lot and warned them of the questionable content of a particular movie. The showing of “Creatures the World Forgot” on January 1, 1971 ended an entertaining forty-five years and 3 months with the final closing of the doors at the Jackson Theatre.  5,6

            In the ensuing years there were renters, one being a pipe fitting company brought in with the influx of oil producing activity in the surrounding area. Then in 1977 Mr. Sammy Jackson was approached about selling the building, and since there were no prospects of movie shows, he did so. The purchaser was Mr. Herbert Heller, local proprietor of Flomaton Antique Auction. Ironically, the building would be destined to revert, in a way, back to its original intent and purpose – live theater. The furniture would display on the original stage with lights tuned in, much the same way as a live artists performed. There would be interaction with the audience as the bid caller announced the next bid increment. We now continue onto the history of Flomaton Antique Auction
3 - Action at Flomaton Antique Auction

           Who will give me…‘65…’66…19…1967…September of that year, to be exact, was the first production of Flomaton Antique Auction. In a building that was located where the cash registers of Piggly Wiggly currently stand, was where on a Friday evening Mr. Herbert Heller, along with his wife Dorothy, rang up their first total of $1465.00. Going back before the beginnings of the auction company, Herbert Heller, with his wife, moved to this small town of Flomaton, Alabama in 1961 to pastor a Mennonite church in the community. Having moved here from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Herbert was aware of the fine antiques made in America and especially those produced in the population and manufacturing centers of the Northeastern area of the country. After a phone call from a third cousin, Dave Lehman, Herbert accepted his proposal; if Herbert would set up an auction company, Dave, being a fulltime buyer/picker would supply the merchandise. In 1967 Flomaton Antique Auction began having bi-weekly auctions on Friday evenings. By the third auction, Chiquita’s Department Store building was chosen to be the site of the early auctions. In 1972, a new block building with ample parking was built to accommodate the auction company. Both of these buildings are located one mile south of the Alabama/Florida state line, along Highway 29 and currently accommodate Wallace Paint and Body Shop.

Open-Air Catalog Photography, 1970's

          Then in 1977 Mr. Heller purchased the Jackson Theatre building in downtown Flomaton giving additional space of 6,000 square feet, along with the adjacent parking lot. In 1981 a showroom was added across the back of the building. Then an additional warehouse was built in 1987 bringing the total square footage to around eleven thousand. In 2002 the town created a parking lot to the south of the building, giving plenty of parking nearby.

Auction Truck at the Newly-Acquired Theatre

            About a year after the first auction, the decision was made to open a satellite business in Lyman, nine miles north of Gulfport, Mississippi. Several auctions were held at this location and were supplied by Dave and Bill Hughes. The strong gusts of Hurricane Camille destroyed the building and ended this function of the antique business. Thereafter, some customers from that area were pulled in and did come to Flomaton for their purchases. The 70’s saw the end of biweekly auctions and the beginning of monthly Saturday “day” sales. These auctions had more items being sold and a small 8” X 5” catalog was produced with around 200 items advertised. In 1971, a New Year’s Day sale was begun which has developed into the largest annual auction day for the company, some years having as many as 600 in attendance and includes a record breaking sale of $700,000.00. The average attendance over the years has been around one to three hundred patrons for each auction. During the 70’s each of the Heller’s six children performed some chore around the operation while also becoming acquainted with an entrepreneur’s life and gaining knowledge of the quality antiques that they handled for years as they grew up. In 1980 their son Nevin entered the operations. It was during this time that a truck was purchased for buying trips to Pennsylvania, with Dave Lehman continuing to be a buyer till he passed away in 1982. By this time many local estates and collections as well as complete antique shops were becoming a fascinating source of merchandise to sell, such as the Zeigler family home in Central Alabama. In the early 1980’s Tom and Julianne Gardiner, after retiring from The Brewton Standard, became involved with Nevin in buying trips to the Northeast. In 1983, both sons, Nevin and Lamar, became partners in the business. In 1981 a satellite auction was opened in Opelousas and later Plaquemine, Louisiana, holding quarterly auctions there until 1984. The early 80’s saw single day Saturday auctions being held every three to four weeks, with promotions of illustrated black and white catalogs. In 1989 Lamar left the business for a more “lucrative” job in computer program design and management. In 1990, with the company going from thirteen single day sales to six bi-monthly two-day auctions there was an increase to over 1.5 million dollars in sales. With suppliers/buyers in Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts, the focus was on finer American antiques from 1780 to the Civil War era. In 1993, daughter Sharon joined the business becoming a partner four years later. In early 1996 Herbert and son, Nevin made their first trip to England that developed into the sale of items from there for the next four years. There was a successful mix of European items to sell alongside of the American antiques that their clientele was purchasing.    (7)

An early catalog and our first color catalog

             In January of 2001, Herbert and Dorothy made the decision to retire and by April of that year the business was incorporated and their son, Nevin Heller took over operations. During that year, the catalogs were changed to full color and a website was developed. At the beginning of 2003, after thirty years of mailing over seven thousand of our sixteen to twenty page catalogs across the country, they were changed to a four-page color brochure and customers are now directed to the fully cataloged website with between one and two thousand photographs. Our last May 2005 auction had one million hits on the website the two weeks prior to the sale. In August 2004 we began posting the full auction on Ebay/Live Auctioneers, making it possible to interactively bid against someone in audience while sitting in your living room. This was in addition to the phone call and absentee bidding that the customers had been doing for many years. During the first year on Ebay, we have sold $140,000 of merchandise thru that venue. Our total yearly sales are holding at under two million dollars. We have currently changed our auction schedule and are having them every month on the first weekend – Friday evening auctions on the even months and Saturday day auctions on the odd months. The Saturday auctions have the same fine American antiques that we have been known to offer for many years, items and their accessories dating from the late 1700’s to the 1880’s. In the Friday auctions we are branching out to the ever-popular Oak and Colonial Revival periods of the late 1800’s and up to the mid 1900’s.

Willyabidnow on this fine...

              The customer base is largely from the Southeastern United States, with the largest percentage being dealers buying for their antique shops or a client. There are also considerable amounts of items going into the Northeast and West Coast areas. Some of our best customers over the years have been – Bob Snow (Rosie ‘O Gradies), Cook Cleland/Pensacola, Dacy Espy/Jackson, Doc Murray/Mobile, Richard Avery/Marion, Wesley Cooper/Natchez, MS, Joyce Bellows/Thomasville, GA and a multitude of others that could be mentioned. Another memorable purchaser was Arlin Dease, who restored Nottoway Plantation Home south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is the largest of all southern antebellum homes with 64 rooms and a total of 53,000 square feet of living area. We sold approximately eighty percent of the furnishings currently in this fine home, called “White Castle”, while it was being restored during the early 1980’s. Another customer has built a large contemporary underground home covered by the plains of Texas, filling it mostly with items bought in Flomaton.

             Some of the most exciting stories are of the merchandise itself, one being President Zachary Taylor’s canopy bed selling to a Taylor descendant who owns the largest farm east of the Mississippi River. She purchased the bed for thirty thousand dollars with plans for a museum to be done somewhere on her twelve thousand acre Virginia farm. Another memory was of a consignment of deaccessioned items from the Alabama Museum of Art of many guns, and included a hat used by a member of the 123rd Tennessee Confederate Regiment that sold for 16,000 dollars. This rare Ranger type hat was sold immediately to someone spending $7,000 on its restoration. Now some 15 years later it is on the market – any buyers…for $52,000? Another item we received a call on was about an item from a house trailer in the Montgomery area; an 1860 rosewood étagère that was sold for $34,000. About four years later, I received a call on my cell phone with an offer to pay $75,000 for that same étagère. The offer was turned down, along with the quote “my wife would kill me if I sold that”. This same Chicago area couple sits on Victorian sofas purchased in Flomaton over the course of several years, for the handsome sum of ten thousand dollars each. Another customer from Nashville, Tennessee, purchased his bedroom furniture at one of our auctions, paying $52,000 for almost a roomful of furniture. One other interesting story of local interest is of a cast iron boar that had been sitting in a Brewton area yard. It had a provenance including the famed Flagler Mansion collection and the crest of a Florida Indian mound. It went to an excited buyer from Ireland for $13,000.  (7)

               Many of our customers are filling their antebellum homes, live-in museums and bed and breakfast inns with these fine period antiques. One currently being filled is an exquisite 1860 home with six large classical fluted columns across the front. The panorama from the rear of the house includes a view across eleven miles of beautiful central Alabama hills. Alabama, by the way, has more antebellum homes then any other state, due to easy street access during the early and mid 1800’s – streets??…did I say streets?…they actually were the waterways. These were the highways of the 1800’s; with Alabama topping the list of navigable waterways in the United States it made the development of plantations and farms achievable. While stories of fine furniture and collections such as these are exciting and interesting, they involve more dollars than the average person has for furnishing their home. We sell many fine quality items at a nominal amount for the modern home and for the price conscious buyer. These are good usable items for today’s home and are sensible investments, while at the same time are being preserved for future generations. I will end with the qualifications that should be considered when purchasing an investment quality or fine antique item – 1) quality, 2) condition, 3) maker, 4) provenance and 5) age.  


1- History of Alabama, Albert James Pickett, 1851

1a-  www.ourgeorgiahistory.com/early/conquest_of_the_land.html

2- Travels, William Bartram, 1791

2- The Federal Road 1806-1836, Henry Southerland, Jr and Jerry Brown, 1989

2b- The Avalon Project: at the Yale Law School, Treaty Between Spain & the United States, http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/avalon.htm, 1998

2b- Flomaton: It’s History, Heroes and Progressive People, Carolyn Pugh Emerich, 1980

3- www.3ri.com , website of Mobile & Montgomery Railway Photographers Group, 1972-2005

4- Raising the Hundley, Brian Hicks and Schuyler Kropf, 2002

5- Notes by Dorothy “Dot” Ptomey, and interview, July 2005

6- Interview with Clara Jackson, July 20, 2005

7- Comparing notes with Mom and Dad, the last 45 years, ....Nevin Heller.

4 – A Chronological History of Filmmaking


1676 - The Sturm Lantern

1826-1827 - Joseph Nicephore Niepce developed the process to make the first photo.

1839 - Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre working with Niepce (d 1833) developed a more efficient method of photography, naming it after himself – Daguerreotype.

1850’s - The hyalotype, a glass plate positive was developed. This was a photo on glass rather that tin or paper.

1862 - The discovery of gas provided a cheap brighter alternative than earlier lighting fuels.

1870’s - The Magic Lantern was developed, a kerosene lamp projector with   long glass plate with photos that was hand or lever slid in front of the lamp projector.

1888 - Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope was developed which used a continuous ribbon of film rolling through a projector

1895 - Louis Lumiere developed a suitcase-sized camera, film processor                                             and projector all in one unit.

1900-early 1910 – Silent short movies a few minutes in length.

1915-early 30’s – Greatest era of silent film, ending with Charlie Chapin’s “City Lights”(1931) and “Modern Times”(1936)

1929 - Development of synchronizing sound with the movie track.

1934-46 - classic Hollywood studios productions

1950’s - A television in the majority of American homes and enchantment. With the TV saw a change in the possible diminishing role of picture show” houses. The movies generally showed the moral values of the era

1960’s - The first generation to grow up watching TV and the movies becoming more dramatic in their expression, possibly to entice people to the “big screen”.

1970’s - Saw the closing of the Jackson’s Theater due to the “content of the show’s in general as degrading”. Mr. Jackson being a man that would meet his patrons and warn them that the “content was dirty”, finally made the decision to close rather than continue showing picture shows as he had for 34 years.

Website - Cinema History, Robert E. Yahnke and other.












Maps to collect….




Desoto’s map


Tristan de’Luna’s map


Indian Trails – early 1800


Railroad maps – 1880’s


Current map – 2000


Computer edited map overlays




Books of early history






Pioneers of France in the New World by Francis Parkman






Discovery timeline



Photographs copyright 2003-5 by Neal Collier, Text by Nevin Heller. Feel free to print these pages for personal use. Any commercial use of text, code or images is forbidden without permission. Hi-resolution images are available for license.