Online forum seeks to preserve city's history
A local woman whose Internet business helps record family histories has launched a project with the Upper Arlington Historical Society to preserve community history.
Upper Arlington resident Melanie Circle Brown carved out a private business venture several years ago to help families and individuals compile history through stories and photographs.
Last month, Brown brought the foundations of that business, Circle of Life Histories, to the local historical society in hopes of doing the same thing for Upper Arlington.
The partnership has yielded UA Memories, an online forum hosted by Brown and provided through the Upper Arlington Historical Society's website, www.uahistory.org.
The forum is free to use; it encourages UA residents and others with ties to the community to share their memories and photos.
"I'm a big believer in history and how it impacts a community," Brown said. "There are such great memories and I don't want those to go away.
"The people, the traditions -- they're the fabric that make up our community. I want to see those memories preserved."
Brown and UAHS Executive Director Kate Kallmes said no memory is too small, and topics can run the gamut.
To date, the forum features a childhood photo and story from Esther Miller, granddaughter of Upper Arlington's first mayor, James Miller. The photo shows the 7-year-old Miller atop her horse, Bess, along with Miller's brothers, Harry and Johnny.
"I'm working on one about the state championship Upper Arlington football team from 2000, which had turkey dinners after games and would watch Football Friday Nights highlights," Brown said. "Usually, these stories are 250 to 750 words.
"No one thinks they have anything, but they all have a story, a memory. People's lives are interesting."
Kallmes said UA Memories is providing a vital service to the historical society and the community. Brown's project is a "perfect fit" for the historical society's website, she said.
"It's a fantastic find because (Brown) is doing what we really need to do," Kallmes said. "She's doing oral histories, she's highlighting how important people's histories are and she's showing people how to do it.
"For us, it's amazing because I get to learn, too. You can read about other people's memories, and then other people remember something or have something they want to talk about. It's a great contribution and it's complementary to what we do."