CH filmmaker to show documentary at Lee Road Library

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library and the Northern Ohio Chapter of the Society for Industrial Archeology (NOCSIA) will sponsor a showing of local filmmaker Valda Lewis’s 52-minute documentary, "Devil's Oven: The Fire in the Heart of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds." Following the screening at the Lee Road library on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m., Lewis will discuss the making of the film and answer questions.

The documentary focuses on the mining towns of the Hocking Hills, southeast of Columbus. It explores the industrial and labor history of the region and the efforts of current residents to recover from the social, economic and environmental consequences of the mining era.

The film, set during the 1884 labor strife that led to the founding of the United Mine Workers of America in 1890, takes its name from a century-old mine fire in New Straitsville, Ohio.

Lewis read about the fire in an article in the Plain Dealer. Through a friend, she made contact with the Monday Creek Restoration Project in New Straitsville to explore the possibility of making the film.

Produced with funding from the Gund Foundation and the Ohio Humanities Council, the documentary became an official selection at several film festivals, including the Cleveland International Film Festival, and received the Katherine Knight Award at the Earth Vision Environmental Film Festival.

Stephen Titchenal, retired technology teacher and media specialist, is secretary of NOCSIA. He currently scans and georeferences old maps, which he shares on

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Volume 3, Issue 2, Posted 8:43 AM, 01.19.2010