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Project documents personal, county histories for museum
Norman Turner
Effingham County native Norman Turner rests on the steps of the Blandford Depot at the Living History Site in Springfield. He is a subject of “Effingham Crossroads: Discovering Neighbors and a Sense of Place.” - photo by Photo submitted
It is going to be one of our featured things at the festival.
Beverly Poole, longtime associate of the Effingham County Museum and Living History Site

 SPRINGFIELD — The Olde Effingham Day Festival on April 16 will feature something brand new.

“Effingham Crossroads: Discovering Neighbors and a Sense of Place” is a documentary project designed to advance the awareness of heritage through still photography and storytelling. Funded by the Effingham County Museum and City of Springfield, it will feature historical accounts and memories of 17 elderly Effingham County natives, including Norman Turner, Eddie Browning and 99-year-old World War II veteran James Sapp of Rincon.

“The pictures were taken with the old type of camera where you pull the hood over your head,” said Beverly Poole, a longtime associate of the Effingham County Museum and Living History Site who will also be included. “Beside (the pictures), you will see their life stories. It’s going to be one of our featured things at the festival.”

Three of the documentary subjects died shortly after they were interviewed.

“It’s great that their stories have been preserved,” Poole said.

Tifton’s Eric Dusenbery, an award-winning journalist, collected the information and took the pictures for “Effingham Crossroads.” His photography has been widely exhibited and his work has appeared in numerous national publications.

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” Dusenbery said. “I had a studio in Orlando, Florida, and then I did some documentary work.”

 In addition to a black-and-white image that emphasizes the traditions of documentary photography, each “Effingham Crossroads” subject’s exhibit will feature a single-page account of their lives and memories.

The subjects were selected by museum associates and Springfield officials.

“These people have so many stories, said Tom Hodgson, former president of the Effingham County Historical Society. “They are going to be lost (without documenting them). Some of them have already been lost.

“That’s why we wanted to get some of the history of Effingham County down.”

Dusenbery’s interviews with the “Effingham Crossroads” subjects were 30 minutes to one hour in length. He recorded them and then transcribed the results.

“After talking with the people, then we would do the photograph,” Dusenbery said. “Some of them were on location here and some were off property. I enjoyed the conversations immensely because everyone has a story and every story is different somehow.”

One of the subject’s stories involved pet insects.

“He and his brother, I think, would catch a dragonfly and put a string around it and walk it around as a pet,” Dusenbery said. “Of course, they would let it go to make sure they didn’t harm the dragonfly.”

The brothers also sold peanuts on the side of a road.

“I don’t remember their names but it’s in the transcript,” Dusenbery said.

Poole said Dusenbery’s work will be kept in the museum after the festival. In addition, it will likely be shown at the annual history society banquet.

“We may sell (the displays) if families want to buy them,” Poole said. “We could keep a copy of them.”

The 15th Olde Effingham Festival will be conducted at the corner of Pine and Early streets across from the Historic Effingham County Courthouse starting at 10 a.m.