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ALVIRA, and the good guys who lost

By Staff | Sep 17, 2013

Martha and Steve Huddy who documented the story of Alvira and the Pennsylvania Ordnance Works near Montgomery came to the East Lycoming Historical Society on Tuesday, Sept. 10 to promote the film they produced.

HUGHESVILLE – The dream of producing a documentary of Alvira has been a long time goal for Martha and Steve Huddy. The Williamsport residents have no personal connection with evicted landowners located where the counties of Union and Lycoming meet. They do feel a sense of urgency in that the 70-year old event was “falling through the cracks.”

Few remain with first-hand accounts on Alvira, the city lost during World War II, and after several power point presentations, questions have been posed by children and grandchildren.

To that end and at their own expense, the Huddy’s spent three years on personal interviews and record research. Eight government agencies hold records of Alvira and 76 similar sites across the country. Of those agencies, there remain two the couple were never granted access.

“There’s a lot of legend out there, we wanted to find the truth,” Steve Huddy said. In preparation for the taping project, Martha said, “Steve read every book out there on film making for dummies.” The couple founded Vallamont Studios, learning as they went , with an eye on future documentaries.

In the spring of 1942, as World War II raged on, another battle was being fought in Lycoming County, and the good guys lost EVERYTHING. The 11 month operation cost the nation 50 million dollars and an untold amount of human anxiety.

About one half of the 3,500 workers needed were local, some car pooled while still others took advantage of the bus service offered. “Learn about promises unkept, the storage of bombs, and how it fell off the radar. Alvira and the revelation of what happened, will make you scratch your head,” Steve said.

The first public showing will be held Monday evening, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Williamsport Community Arts Center. Tickets are available at the door, or at Muncy Historical Society, Montgomery’s Pharmacy in Montgomery and at the Thomas Taber Museum. Proceeds benefit the Lycoming County Historical Society.