The cast of “Leather City” which is comprised of mostly former employees of the Bona Allen Company along with other longtime Buford residents got to see the movie in an invite-only viewing. Photo – Alicia Couch Payne

BUFORD — The City of Buford is blessed with a rich and interesting history that people can learn about through various means.  Previously, one had to either read Handsel Morgan’s “History of Buford” book or visit the Museum of Buford but now people have one more option.  A movie was made chronicling the history of Buford and the Bona Allen Company called “Leather City: Buford, Georgia and The Bona Allen Company.” The movie premiere was held in the Sylvia Beard Theatre at the Buford Community Center on November 14 and had four viewing times that drew in approximately 500 people eager to see what the movie was all about.

Museum curator, Lynn Bowman and his wife Tracey at the movie premiere.  Photo – Alicia Couch Payne

The movie project which was coordinated by the Museum of Buford curator, Lynn Bowman has been in the making for two years.  The project was brought to Lynn by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who sought to record the oral history of the city and its leather industry. The Corps found funding and that allowed the movie to be made.  The movie was made possible by the hard work of the people at Red Clay Interactive and Fried Okra Entertainment.

The cast of the movie is mostly comprised of former employees of the Bona Allen Company who each gave accounts of what it was like to work for the company and reside in Buford.  It was clear to see that the former employees had a lot of pride in having had worked for Bona Allen. Their stories gave one a vivid picture of what it was like to work in the local tannery industry along with a good bit of laughter at some of their tales.  

Other cast members are residents or they have ties to the Bona Allen family and each one had their own unique take on the City and the Bona Allen Company. The narration combined with the photos and stories from the cast members, stirred emotions, that of pride among others.

In the third viewing of “Leather City” was a special viewing and reception for the cast members along with their families, those that contributed to the movie, and other special guests.  It was a pleasure meeting these people in person and getting to hear some of their stories. That was a special treat. One gentleman, Holland “T-Model” Maddox who is now age 91 is a charming gentleman who had one of the best assignments for three days when he was assigned to assist Roy Rogers and his wife.  Rogers and his wife were in town having personal custom saddles made for themselves.

If you have the chance to see this movie, I highly recommend it as it left me feeling so nostalgic and proud of the city I grew up in.  The Museum of Buford has blu-rays for $12 and DVD’s for $10 available during their hours of operation Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum of Buford is located inside of the Buford Community Center at 2200 Buford Highway in Buford, lower level facing Buford Highway.

— By Alicia Couch Payne

Holland Maddox and family
Mr. Holland “T-Model” Maddox, a former Bona Allen employee and his family at the invite-only viewing of the movie “Leather City”.  Photo – Alicia Couch Payne
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