Douglas Stahlman’s Scripture Rocks

Althought his project was not technically a NAFCo project, eight NAFCo members including 7 Board members were a part of this documentary film.  Edward Forrest Frank was the Producer, Director, Interviewer, and Editor.  Perry Langill was Director and Cinematographer for the recreations scenes and also participated in production meetings and the editing process.  James Andrew Neiger was featured as an actor portraying Douglas Stahlman in event reenactment scens and narrator as Stahlman when reading from his journal.  James also recorded the music sessions of the Brookville church choir and participated in production meetings.  Ashley Renee Simpson Neiger was Casting Director for the actors in the documentary and in selecting period costumes for the actors.  Nikki Cherry portrayed a character in an event recreation.  Kaylee Santell, Mac Knapp, and Keren  (Frank-Knapp) Wineberg all worked as Production Assistants. on the documentary.

In June of 2018, the Jefferson County Historical Society at my urging applied for and recieved a small grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Program to produce a documentary about Douglas Stahlman and the Scripture Rocks.  A few years prior to this The group had developed a county park which featured around seventy rocks carved with Bible Verses and social commentary by Douglas Stahlman between 1912 and 1913 while living in a shack atop a large rtock in the woods.  This is just a prtion of over 170 rocks he carved and 500 rocks he dedicated in the hills around the town of Brookville, PA.  The two lead researchers, Ken Burkett and Brian Fritz also authored a book about Douglas Stahlman and his rocks that served as a basis for the documentary.

Douglas Stahlman  was born  on a farm in Kirkman, just outside the city of Brookville, in 1864 the middle child of 9 brothers and sisters.  He experienced a typical childhood for the time working on the family farm and going to church.  In his early twenties he was involved in local politics, he went to college, and even taught school for a time. From then on he lived a troubled life.  The documentary tells the life story of Douglas Stahlman and some of the reasons why he chose to live in the woods and carve these rocks.

Edward Frank wins the 2019 Arthur Altman Award