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Historical Massena structures to be focus of ‘We Are Massena’ photo display

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MASSENA - The Massena man behind the “We are Massena” photo display at the East Orvis Street Park plans to update it again in 2013, but this time with a focus toward historical Massena structures.

“The primary focus is going to be the grand homes. There are some all around the village. There are some unique buildings,” Lawrence I. Prashaw said.

Mr. Prashaw came up with the idea for the “We are Massena” photo display in early 2012. It was unveiled in July at the East Orvis Street Park, featuring submitted photos of Massena residents. Mr. Prashaw had invited residents to submit photos of themselves or family members.

Among those whose faces grace the display are the late Louie Trevino, whose attendance at local sporting events was legendary; Hal Smith, who rose to fame by playing Otis Campbell, the town drunk on “The Andy Griffith Show;” the first Massena High School football and hockey teams from the 1930s; Massena Museum Archivist Sally Yeddo; and retired village Treasurer Daniel E. Case. In total, approximately 60 pictures hang on the display.

A number of community groups, agencies and businesses, including the Massena Rotary Club, Massena Electric Department, St. Lawrence Glass, Triple A Lumber and the village Department of Public Works had all donated either funding, materials or in-kind services to construct it. MED, for example, donated utility poles to prop up the display.

“Some pictures are faded, some slipped, but it’s survived,” Mr. Prashaw said.

One of the motivations behind the display was to draw more people to the park. It was part of an overall renewal of the park, which overlooks the Grasse River, Massena Power Canal and Alcoa plant. A series of new picnic benches and garbage were installed, and upgraded lighting better illuminates the park at night. The park had held summer concerts in its heyday.

Mr. Prashaw said the addition of the “We are Massena” photo display brought people back to the park again.

“When the weather was nice, a lot of people were using the picnic benches. Some people just go to read, some take their lunch. The village has two big wire (waste) baskets, and they’re emptying those baskets twice a week. The park is looking more like a park. That’s what made me more pleased than anything,” he said.

Now, he said, it’s time to focus on re-doing the display with new photographs, and he wants to focus on buildings. Mr. Prashaw said he received information about pictures of the old Warner Undergarment Factory and the Walsh Trucking site, and he’ll start asking the community for new pictures in the spring.

“I will start asking for new pictures for the “We are Massena” display in the spring. If you’ve got pictures, take them to the chamber office. The chamber will hold them for me and have release forms available,” he said.

He also wants to highlight old houses because of their architecture.

“I’m probably going to be my best supplier. I’ll go around and capture some of the old houses in town. The Pine Grove houses are beautiful,” Mr. Prashaw said.

“I want to stay away from the personal side of photography,” he said. “People are going to associate people with the buildings.”

He plans to get other pictures from the Massena Museum.

“The museum has a widespread collection of buildings,” Mr. Prashaw said. “I’m going to try to keep them fairly black and white as much as I can, at least those that come from the museum. That’s my plan.”

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