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New Site is Window to Over 50 Years of Photography

New Site is Window to Over 50 Years of Photography

For Immediate Release May 11, 2015
Contact: Travis Bell

Columbia, S.C. – A new website that features work from a collection of 10,000 images among four photographers has opened the door to decades of Lancaster, S.C., history.

Columbia photographer and Lancaster native Travis Bell, whose father owned Bell Studio in Lancaster for 30 years, has launched the Historic Lancaster Archive, a website that allows visitors to view, search and download vintage digital images.

The archive contains work from professional photographers who captured life on film for over 50 years, including the late Lavoy Bauknight, the late Buddy Montgomery, the late Bobby Bell and Bell, a former Lancaster News staff photographer.

Many of the photographs come from an era when newspapers contracted with local professional photographers to capture life in the small but bustling mill town. The collection features shots of Main Street, recreation, groups and work places, just to name a few. It also includes notables like native Charlie Duke, Sen. Strom Thurmond and former NASCAR champion Ned Jarrett, the father of Dale Jarrett, visiting Lancaster.

“This collection is a priceless look at a time gone but not forgotten,” Bell said.

An estimated 70 percent of the collection has never been published because photographers often shot several rolls of film but only a few photos would be published in the newspaper.

“I’m thrilled that we have the technology to bring these beautiful images to life,” Bell said. “They don’t have to sit in a closet gathering dust.”

The site, which is, is updated every Wednesday with new photos and includes keyword indexing on each image. The keyword search creates an opportunity for teachers and students to use the site for class projects. They can search by name, street or subject. It also takes the younger generation back in time to a town where almost everyone flocked to Main Street for shopping, dining and entertainment.

Bell is open to expanding the archive with more Lancaster images. If you have a collection of negatives or prints you would like to donate, contact him at 803.312.2942.


EDITORS: To download images that will work well with this story, visit The password is lancaster