A recent segment for Crossroads on WIWU-TV could help save historically significant structures in the city of Marion. The story, produced by IWUCom faculty member and Director of Broadcast Media, Dr. Randall E. King, showcases the work of “Save Our Seven” (S.O.S), a group of community volunteers who want to preserve some of Marion’s important buildings.
In less than 48 hours after first airing the story and posting it online, more than 5,000 people had at least seen the headline and photos on social media and many shared it with friends, according to Facebook statistics from the WIWU-TV page and other sources.
“Clearly, lots of people care about preserving these Marion icons,” King said. “It is great when you do something that connects with a lot of people and we hope it helps S.O.S. get the word out.”
The list of seven includes several buildings designed by prominent African-American architect Samuel Plato, such as the one recently known as Aunt Sue’s Tea Room near the downtown square. Plato spent 19 years in Marion in the early part of the 20th century, designing and supervising construction of numerous projects that put black and white construction crews together, according to Grant County historian Bill Munn, Vice-President of S.O.S..
Other buildings include the former Marion National Bank on the downtown square, the Old Catholic Rectory on Adams Street and the Swayzee-Love mansion on Washington Street. S.O.S. had additional structures on its watch list and keeps tabs on changes in the city through a Wikipedia site and Facebook group called “Disappearing Marion.”
For King, the story was another reminder how university media can serve the community through telling its stories.
“We keep Crossroads on the air year round, telling these stories about the people and places in our community,” he said. “I hope the students who work on this show, or any of our other communication organizations have a chance to see their work connect with people on things that matter.”
Watch the Crossroads video: