Remembering the Past: Project Flashback Seeks to Preserve Centerville’s Unique History

By Avra Sullivan

Did you know there used to be an Opera House next to Edward’s Pharmacy? Or that Callahan’s Gas and Appliance used to be a carriage house? Were you aware that in the 1950’s during snow days, the police would close off Liberty Street so the kids could go sledding? I discovered these and more interesting facts about the town of Centreville by talking to Bob Pino, who is involved with the group Project Flashback Centreville. The group seeks to bring photos, history and anecdotes from Centreville’s past into the present. Project Flashback started as an idea for the annual Block Party. So many stories of “long ago” were told at Bob’s store, An Optical Galleria, that he decided to bring them to the rest of the town so they would not be lost. The Project Flashback Group, which is comprised of several people interested in Centreville’s unique history, meets the 4th Wednesday of every month at 6pm at Bob’s store. They collect photos, historical facts and personal stories to make posters to hang in the windows of local shops.

The posters will show the history of the store or building, as well as photos from its past. “We hope to include as many area stores as possible,” says Bob. They hope to form a walking tour of Centreville both for locals and town visitors. Bob explains that most of what they have uncovered has been from personal memories of those who have lived here for many years, as well as from old newspapers and individuals from the historical society. The research has been intense and they have just scratched the surface as more and more facts emerge. The Group has not yet asked the town for permission to dig through the archives, which are not computerized but in many, many boxes. Bob hopes this will become a community project, getting as many people involved as possible.

Anyone who would like to take part in the monthly meetings, assist with research, or that has information on the history of Centreville or any buildings or businesses can contact Bob at his store at 410-262-9415 or through the group’s Facebook Page, Project Flashback-Centreville. He also urges anyone that has a photograph from the past to contact him. The originals can be scanned and copied at Edwards Pharmacy and then can be returned to the owner.