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York Couple’s Movies Raise Amazing Sums For Local Non-profits.

A little while ago, in a post on York Fair horse racing, I mentioned that there were some motion pictures of racing at the fair on films recently digitized and preserved by the York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives, through a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Charles and Carrye Noss editing film. Note the movie camera at left.
Those images and many more were taken and shared with the community, by Charles H. Noss and his wife Carrye Neiman Noss. From 1923 to 1960 Mr. and Mrs. Noss filmed local parades and events, such as the York Fair and the construction of the 1930s Wrightsville-Columbia Veterans Memorial Bridge across the Susquehanna River, and shared them with the community. They also traveled around the country and recorded subjects from Pennsylvania Dutch customs to national parks.
The Nosses showed the movies free of charge to churches and civic groups. An admission or offering must have been collected for the groups to keep, because a November 12, 1946 Gazette and Daily newspaper article says that by then the Mr. and Mrs. Noss had shown the films to about 132,000 persons and raised nearly $100,000 for the organizations. Since they continued the showings until Mr. Noss died in 1962, they could have conceivable raised hundreds of thousands of dollars by then.

Mr. Noss passed away doing what he loved. His obituary, dated February 12, 1962, states that, at the age of 72, he suddenly collapsed and died in Miami, Florida. It says, “Noss was stricken in the lobby of the Miramar hotel during a showing of his travel film to a group of Yorkers. They were Bertha Neiman, Mr. & Mrs. Earl Wolf, Mrs. Harry Westly and Mrs. William Evans.” Carrye Neiman Noss reached the age of 92 before passing away in 1980. Mr. Noss had retired from management of the Herman Noss lumberyard, and the Noss home was at 44 East Springettsbury Ave.
The 35 reels of 16 mm film had been given to the Historical Society of York County, now part of York County Heritage Trust, some years ago. Despite being stored according to archival standards, the nature of the film was to gradually deteriorate, and that process had begun. Thanks to the PHMC grant, the total footage of over 13,000 feet was digitized and preserved in DVD form. The digitalization not only allows their viewing on a dedicated computer at the YCHT Library/Archives, but preserves the images in a form that can also be converted into future forms of technology. Since they are now in digital form, they will also lend themselves to possible future viewing through the YCHT website.
A 1951 newspaper quotes Noss: “The purpose of these films is to preserve for future generations the old ways of life, many of which have already died….” I think he would be pleased that his films have recently gained a new life and will continue his goal for many more generations to come.