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Leo Beachy: A Legacy Nearly Lost

Winner of the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Feature, "Leo Beachy: A Legacy Nearly Lost"
Winner of the 2008 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Feature, "OnQ: Uncle Leo's Legacy"

Leo Beachy mail carrier
A sampling of Leo Beachy's photographs (click for more):
Boys with pony | Owl on car | Leo with kids | Women with tire | Mail carrier

Watch the OnQ feature "Uncle Leo's Legacy" - ONDEMAND

Watch the Experience documentary "Leo Beachy: A Legacy Nearly Lost - ONDEMAND

Beachy bubblesIn the early 1900s, school teacher Leo Beachy segued into a life as a photographer, capturing images of people, places and landscapes throughout Western Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. When multiple sclerosis took over his young body, Leo's sister Kate often carried him on her back so that he could take his beloved photographs. When Leo died in 1927, family members, not realizing the value of his glass plate negatives, destroyed them.

Leo's niece, Maxine Beachy Broadwater was only five when she helped throw those negatives away.

"I still feel guilty about it today," she laments. "But I was so young, I only did what I was told."


Maxine Beachy
Above: Maxine Beachy Broadwater

Beachy girl flowersBut 50 years later, through an amazing set of circumstances, Maxine would recover 2,700 of her Uncle Leo's negatives - and what she found were photographic treasures dating from 1900-1927. She immediately started her "penance" by transforming the negatives into rich, historic prints, some of which are displayed in the Beachy Room of the Grantsville, Maryland museum. At the age of 82, Maxine still spreads the word about Uncle Leo and continues her quest for funding so that more of Beachy's historic images will someday come to life.

OnQ's Emmy-winning team of producer David Solomon and videographer Paul Ruggieri bring viewers this special report, highlighted by Maxine Beachy Broadwater's memories and Leo Beachy's unforgettable photographs.

Leo Beachy's photographs are on display at:
The Grantsville Museum in Maryland
153 Main St.
Grantsville, MD 21536
(301) 895-5454
Maxine Beachy Broadwater can be reached at (301) 895-5124

"Leo Beachy left us Garrett County in pictures." -- Earleena Tressler, Grantsville Museum Curator

Leo Beachy
Above: Leo Beachy

"He knew he would die young, but he took photographs that encouraged others to travel the road he would never travel." -- Albert Feldstein, Author & Historian

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