For many older Lawrence County residents, John Hitch’s photographs offer vivid memories of the way things were when they were young. For today’s youth, Hitch’s images provide an opportunity to see a period of time they never knew.
This is certainly true of the Hoyt’s latest exhibition exploring New Castle’s urban renewal in the 1960s. Hitch documented the transformation of entire blocks as they were demolished to make way for Washington Center, the Columbus Innerbelt, the Towne Mall and other modern developments. A historian at heart, Hitch no doubt felt the loss of his community’s past as the Johnson Building, Penn Theater, Kurtz mansion and other noted landmarks came down. Yet, he also seemed to recognize the importance of recording the community’s future history. As we reflect back, what is it that we can learn in terms of revitalizing our communities today?
This collection of more than 60 photographs was pulled from the archives of the Lawrence County Historical Society and will be on display in the Hoyt Galleries, September 1- November 5, 2020. Admission is free Tuesday-Thursday, 11-8 and Friday & Saturday, 11-4.
The corresponding book, New Castle’s Urban Renewal: Through the Eyes of John Hitch, is available in the Hoyt Gift Shop or order online.