In 1950, James Ostler, a Frankfort mailman and amateur photographer, began taking photographs for the Farmers Bank. One of the bank’s former presidents conceived the idea in order to show the images in a rotating display for bank patrons. Ostler was given free reign as to what photographs he took, so the collection encompasses everything from school events, club meetings, school games, political affairs, businesses, and organizations. Most residents knew him and remember him always taking photographs; many called him before an event to ensure that he would be there—and he was.
James Ostler died in September of 1979 at the age of 83, but the photographs did not die with him. The tradition continued, with Ron Trees being the last photographer. After the Farmers Bank remodeled, they discontinued the use of the displays, and in the 1980s, they donated the collection to the Frankfort Community Public Library. The collection currently runs from the fall of 1950 to 2007, with around 45,000 slides.
In September of 2013, the Genealogy & Local History Department began digitizing the slides to preserve and protect them for future use. It was then noticed that the great majority of slides have no identification. In 2014, two exhibitions have been held so the community could help us name the individuals in the images. Overall, this has been successful, but help is still needed. If you see someone or a business you recognize, please use the comment feature and let us know.