Bill Allison is the producer, script writer, and main narrator for the documentary, Jim Thorpe: The Old Mauch Chunk History Tour. Over a four year period, Bill developed the script as a walking tour of Jim Thorpe’s Historic District to entertain tourists with tales of the history, architecture, and characters that populated the Victorian city. In 2012 he decided to film the tour to reach a wider audience.
Bill served a long apprenticeship in history before he set out to produce the film. Raised with Victorian grandparents in a home filled with furniture and pictures from the 1800s, Allison family values intertwined with history and the past so much that a college major in history seemed obvious.
Bill graduated from the University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas in 1968 and began a teaching career in the Philadelphia area. He worked with disadvantaged and learning disabled children for several years, earned a M.Ed., taught history in a Philadelphia high school, then took over as principal of a large, multicultural school with twelve hundred children. Bill made history at the cutting edge of urban education through innovative school management. In 1996 he was named Philadelphia’s Principal of the Year.
Although deep into a career, a family to raise, community involvement, history still beckoned. With a trove of family stories and genealogical interests, family histories seemed natural and easy. In spare moments Bill wrote an Allison family history, then his wife’s family history.
Research uncovered the story of the Chase family, a 19th century couple, who represented all Victorians from that era. The story of George and Harriet Chase is told in Bill’s first published book, Chase. An historical novel about a New England lawyer appointed as consul to America’s whaling fleet in Hawaii, Chase is found on Amazon.com, under William Allison, author.
Bill and Penny have retired to Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, outside Jim Thorpe. There Bill remains involved in education – as school board member and board member to the Mauch Chunk Historical Society and the Mauch Chunk Museum.