hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


June 6, 2013

Visiting 1970s Haverhill

Film features 1975 political feud, dying shoe industry

They are icons from Haverhill’s political past.

Mention the names George Katsaros and Lewis Burton, and people who can remember back to the 1970s will think of a sometimes-fierce political feud as the men battled to be mayor.

The struggle was against the backdrop of mid-1970s Haverhill. The city’s shoe industry had all but died out, the economy was suffering and the community was politically tense.

A Greater Boston film group is about to take people back in time to relive that mayoral campaign and time from Haverhill’s past. The group has revived a documentary film made in 1975 about the city’s political struggles of that time.

The documentary “If It Fits’’ will be shown July 29 at 7 p.m. at the Brattle Street Theatre in Cambridge. The film will be presented by Documentary Educational Resources, a Cambridge film curator, and The Doc-Yard, a bi-weekly film and discussion series. Documentary Educational Resources is a non-profit organization that shows cultural and educational films.

Film-maker John Marshall made the 58-minute movie in the 1970s to detail what happened to the city’s once-successful shoe-manufacturing industry and how its demise hurt Haverhill’s economy. The film documents the lives of political figures, their campaigns and the condition of a struggling Haverhill.

The film details how Fire Chief Lewis Burton ran for mayor against Katsaros and beat him in 1975, as the city debated how to rebound from the dying shoe industry that cost many jobs. Shoe-manufacturing had been Haverhill’s economic lifeblood for generations.

“This film examines a dying industrial town and its politicians’ search for votes over such issues as municipal spending, rising taxes, the revitalization of depressed areas, and attracting new industry,’’ Documentary Educational Resources said on its website.

Marshall made the documentary during the second administration of Katsaros, a three-term mayor. The film captures Katsaros’ efforts to win an election as the city’s economy was collapsing. The film does not reach the conclusion of the campaign, which Kastaros lost to Burton.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • waldron

    James Waldron

    James Waldron was city's first true mayor Posted 10 hours ago 1 Photo
  • The Lamp Post Posted 10 hours ago
  • 140411_hg_hand_fooddrive

    Mayor James Fiorentini visits the food bank at Emmaus Inc. and meets with Emmaus' Americorp/VISTA volunteers Alexandra Elwell, Alison Lee and Gabriella Berger. They organized a food drive to replenish the supply at the bank.

    Emmaus Inc. looks to help the hungry Posted 10 hours ago 1 Photo
  • Haverhill Real Estate Posted 10 hours ago
  • sculpture

    RYAN HUTTON/ Staff photo. Haverhill High School's new sculpture was dedicated April 17.

    The week's news in review Posted 10 hours ago 1 Photo
  • museum

    Courtesy photo Step into the past at the Haverhill Firefighting Museum. A new area, devoted to children, will open there May 3.

    Firefighting museum to unveil child-oriented exhibit Posted 10 hours ago 1 Photo
  • 140412_hg_tje_celebration_02

    TIM JEAN/Staff photo. Vincent Buonanno, of Methuen, and member of their Sons of Italy, speaks before dinner to celebrate the Sons of Italy Victor Emanuel Lodge of Haverhill 75th anniversary of their Drum & Bugle Corps. 4/12/14

    Marching in Posted 10 hours ago 8 Photos
  • Community Television Posted 10 hours ago
  • Haverhill police log Posted 10 hours ago
  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
  • 140415_HG_MSC_ROBOT_4

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo Jazzy Brown, 4, of Haverhill, works with a a Robot named Connor as Behavior Specialist Julie Bernier looks on, during an interactive session at the Moody School in Haverhill.

    Their best friend's a robot Posted 7 days ago 5 Photos

Photos of the Week