Published April 14th, 2008, The Huntsville Item.

Reception to kick off historical photo exhibit

By Jay Ermis
Managing Editor


Walker County residents can see pictures of Huntsville's past, present and future starting today in the Lowman Student Center at Sam Houston State University.

SHSU's Political Science Junior Fellows and the Huntsville Main Street program have teamed up to create an art gallery that highlights historic locations in Huntsville.

A reception will be held today at the LSC from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The exhibit will continue through April 25.

Harold Hutcheson is Huntsville Main Street program manager.

Political science professor Mike Yawn said “The University Corridor Gallery” will link historical SHSU with historical downtown Huntsville through the University Avenue corridor.

One photo replication involves members of the Walker County Sheriff's Department SWAT team. It was taken in front of the old county jail, now a law office, on University Avenue to replicate an early 1890s photo of a group of county law enforcement officers.

That group of lawmen carried shotguns and rifles, and their protection was the clothing of the day.

The eight-member SWAT team was dressed in protective gear — along with shotguns and assault rifles — needed to combat today's criminals and terrorists.

The gallery will highlight at least a dozen locations in the downtown area, Yawn said.

“They will provide a visual record of each locations past, present and future,” he said. “Photos from 1860 to 1960 will be used to record the past.

“Local photographers and SHSU photography students will replicate these photos of specific downtown locations, capturing these locations as they look today. Finally, local artists, SHSU art students, and SHSU IT students will produce renderings of their vision for these locations in 2025.”

“The major purpose of the gallery is to highlight the city's historical locations,” Yawn said. “In the process of meeting this objective, we hope to promote interdisciplinary learning, expose the community to the work of SHSU students and strengthen ties between the university and the city of Huntsville.”

Sheriff Clint McRae said SWAT team members are highly trained, providing services such as high-risk narcotics search warrants and hostage negotiation situations.

“They serve as a full-fledged SWAT team for the Walker County Sheriff's Department,” McRae said. “They have to meet certain standards to qualify.”

Yawn said another project shows Joe Pritchett in front of Old Main (and Austin Hall and the Peabody Library).

“Joe Pritchett was the Dean of Mean and his brother, Henry, was the president,” Yawn said. “This picture was taken in 1908.”

Replicating the photo is one of Nancy Gaertner in front of Austin Hall (and the Peabody Library).

Gaertner —the wife of SHSU President James Gaertner — is standing by a Red Solstice loaned by Weisner of Huntsville. The picture was taken in 2008, 100 years after the Pritchett photograph.

Another SHSU project is a picture of former SHSU President Harry Estill in 1940. He is overseeing unidentified children playing tug of war at his home on University Avenue.

The accompanying photo is of SHSU President James Gaertner in 2008. He is overseeing three SHSU students playing tug of war.

The three students are, from left, Industrial Tech Major Lance Ewing, Political Science Junior Fellow Lauren Schroeder and Political Science Junior Fellow Chris Rahlwes.

The location is the former home of Harry Estill. It is currently the Episcopalian Student Center.