The Paluxy Valley Archives and Genealogy Society (PVA&GS) is reaping the fruit of their labors. More than 50 years of local newspapers have been processed and delivered to the Somervell Heritage Library on microfilms.

The project was initiated five years ago and cost $5,000 to complete. Newspapers from the Glen Rose Reporter, The Rose and the short-lived Somervell Sun were sent to a company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to be scanned and put on microfilm.

Betty Gosdin is the director for the Somervell Heritage Library and has been involved with the PVA&GS since 1994. She said the newspapers were already a part of the library collection.

Joan Taylor said the women of PVA&GS started saving money through annual fundraisers like the Penny Auction and garage sales. And then they set to work, collecting, repairing and packing the newspapers.

“We really wanted to get the blessing of the Commissioner’s Court,” Gosdin said. “It was their papers that we’re sending off.”

“Of course we kept thinking, ‘what if something should happen to our papers in transit?’” Taylor said. “What if the papers are not returned intact? What if we never see our papers again since these were the only copies available and held the glimpse of the past history of Glen Rose and Somervell County?”

Gosdin also wanted the court to understand that there was a possibility that something could happen to the papers in the process. Many of the old Reporter papers had been bound into books. She said the company agreed to try to scan the papers without destroying the books. But her fears were also prophetic. Heritage Microfilm, the company that put the priceless newspapers on microfilm, is now submerged in the floodwaters of the Midwest.

Gosdin said the newspapers were sent off at the start of 2008 and the films were sent back with the original papers in May.

“We couldn’t have been more pleased with the quality of the work,” Gosdin said. “He really worked with us and gave us a good price. We only had $5,000 to spend.”

The microfilms are now available at the Somervell Heritage Library. The original newspapers are also safe and sound at the library, but Gosdin said people are urged to use the microfilms so that the newspapers can be saved.