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Intern scouts local movie sites

Shelley Stevens had a unique opportunity to explore her hometown this summer.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill senior interned with Lincoln County planners, Lincoln Economic Development Association, or LEDA, the Downtown Development Association of Lincolnton and the county’s Geographic Information System team.

During her time at LEDA, Stevens worked on a project for the Charlotte Regional Partnership, an economic development company representing 16 counties in North Carolina and South Carolina. Stevens worked with the Partnership’s Charlotte Regional Film Commission, which recruits film production companies to the area.

Stevens, along with two Film Commission interns, were asked to update a catalog of location sites.

“We are always looking and things change,” Film Commission Director Beth Petty said. “People paint houses or remodel. Sometimes things get torn down or an organization changes ownership. A 7-Eleven could have been put in across the street or suddenly, there is a four lane highway.”

The catalog has more than 120,000 photos, but Stevens only needed to focus on unique and historic sites in Lincoln County.

Stevens was familiar with some buildings in the area since she grew up in Lincolnton. She discovered that the home of her parents, Caren and Randall Stevens, was one of the structures already in the inventory. The Greek-style home was built in 1832. She took new pictures of the home and updated the information on the Film Commission’s site.

For several days in July, Stevens took photographs and researched more than 35 sites in Lincoln County for the Film Commission. She also did a short video of each site for LEDA. Stevens made sure to cover all the bases in Lincoln County, from a mansion dating back to possibly 1824 to the cottage home where Anna Morrison married future Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson in 1857.

Several Lincoln County historic churches, banks and parks were also added to the database.

All of the sites proved interesting, but Stevens really enjoyed seeing an old Confederate medical laboratory and mill site that dates back to 1861.

The current building owner showed Stevens old tools and newspapers from 1903 that were found inside. Remnants of where old windows used to be were still evident. Back in those times, air-conditioning was nonexistent, so the windows were built big to let more air into the building.

“It was just interesting to learn more about the history of these places,” Stevens said. “It wasn’t all about the historical pictures. It was so interesting to learn more about the culture and the history of the county.”

Working with so many organizations was beneficial for Stevens. “I want to be an environmental city planner so this was a really unique aspect of city planning,” she said. “I had a really good experience working with LEDA and the internship in general. All of my coworkers were really nice and easygoing. I learned a lot.”

Petty was impressed with Steven’s work. “She is a very, very sweet girl and very enthusiastic, which is so important and golden,” she said. “When you meet folks that are excited about what they are working on, it makes all the difference.”

Contact the Charlotte Regional Film Commission at 704-347-8942 or www.charlotteusa.com to learn more about the catalogued location sites.

Photo supplied by – Seth Mabry / LTN Photo