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Documentary to look at past century of Canton’s history

Canton’s 100th Labor Day Celebration will feature three showings of a 30-minute documentary about the town’s history at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25; 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27; and at 4 p.m. on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4. All showings are free and will be held at the Canton Colonial Theater.

The program shown at the Colonial includes interviews with several “old-timers” and new-timers and covers several of the events that have made Canton’s history unique, from the founding of the paper mill to World War II heroes to the arrival of Interstate 40 to the YMCA, the chief hang-out for many young people growing up in Canton. There also is a special appearance by Nat “The Cat” Lowery, a longtime mill worker who moonlighted as a popular radio deejay in the 1950’s and ‘60’s.

“A great deal has happened over the course of the town’s past 100 Labor Days — some of it exciting, like one of the country’s most enduring Labor Day celebrations and some of it tragic, such as the floods of the 1940’s and 2004,” said Eric Larson, president of Stellar Media, which produced the documentary. “My dad worked 27 years for the Champion mill in Courtland, Ala., so I felt a personal connection to this project. Canton’s mill is intricately connected to the lives of its townsfolk, and this documentary shows that.”

The documentary will receive an introduction from Patrick Willis, director of the Canton Area Historical Museum. Willis is a member of the 2006 Canton Labor Day Committee, which commissioned the documentary project. Attendees will be invited to take part in the new Historic Walking Tour and visit the museum across the street.

“This will be a chance for folks to reminisce about their upbringings in Canton,” Larson said. “We’re indebted to the Canton residents who agreed to be interviewed and to share their photographs of bygone eras. We’re still adding material to the DVD version, so we’re encouraging anyone who has old photos to share them with the museum staff for us to scan and include for posterity.”

For more information about all the Canton centennial Labor Day events, call 828.646.3412 or visit

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