John D. Megown – An Early 20th Century Perspective

John D. Megown was a professional photographer in Youngstown during the early decades of the 20th Century. Megown photographed a wide variety of subjects, both commercial and scenic. His work is a fascinating record of the social and economic setting during a period of significant growth in the history of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.

2007-78-10 John Douglas Megown leaning against pump

Born in Youngstown in 1871, Megown worked as a machinist and gunsmith before changing to photography in 1907. Megown married Elizabeth Clark and the couple had eight children, which were the subject of many of Megown’s personal photographs. Family photography was also one of Megown’s professional skills, capturing scenes of his patrons’ home life. Megown also documented significant events, such as a visit to downtown Youngstown in 1908 by presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, as well as scenes of people at work and groups engaged in social activities or leisure pursuits.

Megown photographed Youngstown’s growing commercial district and the construction of several landmark buildings, including the Mahoning County Courthouse cornerstone laying in 1908. Megown’s photographs also featured schools, businesses, industry, and scenic views from Mill Creek and Idora Parks.

In 2007, members of the Megown family donated to MVHS hundreds of photographic images taken by John Megown during his photographic career. In addition, MVHS was granted permission by Tom Molocea to duplicate a collection of Megown’s photographic work that Mr. Molocea had previously acquired. The combined collection of images provides a unique window to the people, places, and pastimes of the era.

Below is a sampling of Megown’s work.  To see more, visit the MVHS Archives, Tuesday-Friday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Saturday hours resume September 7th .  Click any photo to open up the slide show…