Appalshop Archive is excited to announce that it has received a 2016 grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to preserve 16mm amateur films shot by Father Richard J. Reimondo, a Catholic priest who helped lead a parish in Hazard, KY in the early 1950s.
Born in Buffalo, NY, Richard Reimondo arrived in Hazard soon after his ordination at St. Charles Seminary in Carthagena, OH in 1951. During his time as a priest at Hazard’s Mother of Good Counsel Church and as Chaplain at Mount Mary Hospital, Reimondo shot 16mm color and b-w film documenting the Church grounds, the religious lives of parishioners, Mount Mary Hospital Benedictine sisters, and various places of interest in the city and surrounding county such as construction sites, the inauguration of a new coal mine, the town’s “Swinging Bridge,” post office, and community swimming pool.
The footage provides rare historical documentation of a mid-century central Appalachian community, where the rise of the coal industry in the early 20th century led to an influx of European–-particularly Italian—immigrants into coalfield towns. Many of these new residents were of the Catholic faith, prompting the regional diocese of the Church to send pastors to eastern Kentucky parishes. In addition to priests, Catholic sisters were dispatched to the region to found hospitals. The establishment of these institutions diversified cultural life in coalfield towns such as Hazard.
The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. To see a full list of the outstanding projects receiving NFPF support this year, visit http://www.filmpreservation.