Glenside Man Cherishes Old Images of Montco

Facebook page chronicles county's past

By Sarah Glover
|  Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013  |  Updated 5:49 PM EDT
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Old Images of Montgomery County

Val Lutz

Montgomeryville Mart Exterior.

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A fascination with the past has driven a Glenside, Pa. pharmaceutical researcher to moonlight as a local online historian.

"There's such a rich history most people don't know about it and it's in their backyard," said history enthusiast John Briley, founder of the Old Images of Montgomery County Facebook page. 

"You get a really vivid picture of the community. People are able to interact with the photo -- share, comment and click."

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But, Briley doesn't claim the Facebook page was his idea. He reached out to Carl Manley, founder of the Old Images of Philadelphia page, "to get his blessing" to start a Montgomery County version. 

To date, Briley has posted 1,200 vintage Montgomery County photos. Interest in the page has spread organically since its inception last August, now boasting 5,369 likes.

The old photographs of landmarks, businesses, and family portraits can be seen in color and black and white. 

Tom Blair submitted a photo taken in 1957 -- a picnic table full of children in a Lafayette Hills backyard. David Cipriano commented, "There's no iPhones these kids aren't using. Good 'ol days." 

Briley said he noticed an interest -- a high number of shares and comments -- in old drive-in theaters photographs. 

The 33-year-old prides himself with assigning the date the photo was taken on Facebook so the images can be searched by year on the page. He said that's what differentiates his page from others. 

Briley was born in Williamsport and was raised in Glenside. His fondness of Montgomery County was cultivated from childhood. He was crowned Little Mr. Glenside in the mid-1980s.

The project first started when Briely created a MySpace page years ago and then realized Facebook was the platform to restart his hobby. It has enabled him to bring his appreciation for history and his love of Montco to a larger audience.

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Most of his family and friends don't know he runs the page. "I guess I'm not trying to make a big deal about it," he said.

When Briley isn't managing the Montgomery County page, he's running the Old Images of Bucks County page, which he started in February to promote the neighboring county. 

"Facebook will dictate the future success of the page," he said. "I try to support local business and give back to the community to build awareness. I'm learning so much from the page and it motivates me to do more."

To get your images posted to the page, send an email to Briley. Include who's in the photo and the year and place it was taken. 

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