You might be from Marietta if...
It is the opening line of many of the vibrant memories and Marietta anecdotes posted to the popular Facebook group of the same name.
Every day individual memories shared on the group's page evolve into elaborate shared histories as the group's nearly 1,600 members-both residents and former residents alike-add their stories or old black and white photographs into the discussions.
Photos courtesy of Mike Northrup
Sarah Jane Riddle, circa 1974, stands in front of Riddle’s Confectionery, which was a popular neighborhood hangout on the corner of Fifth and Washington streets.
Photos courtesy of Mike Northrup
Pete Muscari, who was well known about town as the owner of the Merryland Pool at the Washington County Fairgrounds, is frequently a topic of conversation on the “You might from Marietta if...” Facebook group.
Times file photo
A diver springs for the water at Jackson Pool. Now closed and filled in with cement, the pool was a popular hang-out and a much reminisced about topic on the “You might be from Marietta if...” Facebook group.
Times file photo
Children skate around the Marietta Roller Rink, which has been the discussion of subjects and old pictures on the “You might from Marietta if...” Facebook group.
Favorite hang-outs that are long since gone, vibrant town characters that were well-known, and historic events that shaped the small community are just some of the popular discussions on the site.
"We've discussed a lot of characters," said Marietta resident Karin Davidson, 48, who has been a member of the group for almost a year.
One popular discussion involved a woman named Olivene Goodnight Gyurko, an eccentric woman more commonly known by her nickname, Marietta Red.
- The Facebook group has nearly 1,600 members.
- Common posts include photos and stories about old businesses, well-known residents, big town events and other musings related to life in Marietta.
- The group is open to the public, but you must request to join in order to post photos and comments.
- The group can be found at http://on.fb.me/1fYkGgq
Source: Times research.
Former Marietta resident Mike Northrup, 65, of Baltimore, remembers Marietta Red from his teenage years.
She could almost always be found downtown, looking forlorn and obsessively pacing the streets, he recalled.
Added Davidson, "There seem to be so many people fascinated with her who can't find out enough about her."
The red-headed woman certainly made an impression on Billy Reiter, 59, of Thornville, who lived in Marietta until 1981, nine years after he graduated high school.
"I always felt bad for her. She'd be on the street by herself. No one would talk to her," recalled Reiter.
When Reiter wrote a song about the woman called "Marietta Red" and shared it with the group, the memories and stories about the woman started pouring out.
"A lot of people really identified and responded to that song," said Reiter.
Sharing his music on the group's page and reminiscing with old acquaintances has inspired Reiter to begin playing live shows again, and he has booked a handful of shows in Marietta in the coming months, he said.
Another well-known character was Pete Muscari, who owned the Merryland Swimming Pool at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
"He was sort of an inventor. You could see this frame work of this big outdoor world he was planning. He was going to make a daytime drive-in down there," said Northrup.
As a professional photographer, Northrup spent much of his twenties photographing the iconic people and places of the city.
But those early works of his career remained unseen for decades, until Northrup recently found the negatives from his Marietta days stored under a bed.
The Facebook group has provided the perfect audience for his black and white profiles.
"This is a great opportunity to get these things seen by people. Facebook puts us in touch, and now I have a whole audience of people who really appreciate them," he explained.
Many of Northrup's black and white photos are posted as if they are a quiz. Group members begin commenting, guessing about the characters and places pictured.
In one black and white photo, a smartly dressed young man looks up from signing papers on a desk containing a City of Marietta hard hat.
Commenters quickly recalled Mayor Geoff Brunton and stories of how he used common sense approaches to city problems and was often seen working with city crews. One commenter added that Brunton officiated her wedding.
But many of the commenters recalled that Brunton's election was a bit of a surprise for everyone, including Brunton himself.
"They dared him to run for office. He ran for mayor and he won. He beat some guy that had been there for a long time," said Northrup.
While the characters are fun, Davidson says she enjoys much of the history about old buildings shared on the site.
"There was a store on the corner of Greene and Colegate. Apparently it was a neighborhood grocery store at one point," she recalled.
Another place of interest was Jackson Pool. Now filled in with concrete, the pool was a popular town hang-out, recalled Davidson.
"That was the pool that had the best diving board," she said.
Students divided their attention between the Jackson and Merryland pools or just swam in the rivers if they did not have the admission price, Davidson recalled with a laugh.
Another major high school hang-out was Riddle's Confectionery. Many posts and photos are dedicated to the eatery and its eponymous matron, Sarah Jane Riddle.
"Sarah Jane was a character and we all remember her," recalled Northrup, who posted a photo of the woman in front of the establishment at the corner of Fifth and Washington streets.
Like most of the photos on the site, the photo of Sarah Jane elicited a lot of memories.
One commenter recalled how her son broke his leg on the nearby playground and Sarah Jane called her.
Many others commenters told stories of getting kicked out by the fiery personality.
Not everything shared on the page has slowly gone the way of the buffalo. An old picture of the Marietta Roller Rink from the mid-1970s elicited a lot of memories.
The rink was a popular spot when Reiter was a boy, he recalled.
"All us boys got in trouble because we'd go down there and race. Eventually they just decided they'd shut it down for a little bit and let us all knock each other down without bothering everybody," he laughed.
Part of the appeal of the group is that it is a place of common ground among people who have spread all over the United States and who span all sorts of generations.
"There seems to be such a wide range of ages. We've got younger folks in their 20s and then a lot of folks my age," said Davidson.
"It just seems like there is something unique about being from Marietta and the friendship," added Reiter. "We all have something in common as for being from Marietta and we want to share it."