Seiberling documentary to premiere on PBS

Staff report


“A Tree Grows in Washington: The John F. Seiberling Story” will premiere at 8 p.m. Tuesday on Western Reserve PBS (WNEO 45.1/WEAO 49.1).

In the new hourlong production, producer Paul Jacoway follows the career and life of Akron-born congressman John Seiberling, who was first elected in 1970 and was re-elected seven more times. His siblings, children and colleagues talk about his impact, including his efforts to preserve the nation’s natural resources and his significant role in the creation of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The program was co-written and is narrated by Michael Douglas, editorial page editor of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Founders of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., the Seiberling family was an important employer in the Akron-Canton area. Seiberling’s mother was a prominent figure in the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous and his family’s one-time home was Stan Hywet, now a national museum.

While in Congress, Seiberling served on the House Judiciary Committee that held the impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon. He also had a keen interest in preserving our nation’s natural resources. He played a key role in the enactment of the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and was instrumental in the creation of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Born Sept. 8, 1918, he died in 2008.

Jacoway, the producer, is best known locally for his film “Final Edition: Journalism According to Jack and Jim Knight,” which premiered on Western Reserve PBS in 2009 and won a regional Emmy Award for Nostalgia Program.

Additional air dates for “A Tree Grows in Washington” are 2 a.m. Wednesday; 11 p.m. Saturday; and 7 p.m. Sunday.

In celebration of the program’s premiere, Western Reserve PBS will air an encore presentation of Ken Burn’s series “National Parks: America’s Best Idea” today through Saturday, at 9 nightly. In addition, the Western Reserve PBS production “Generations: Cuyahoga Valley National Park” will air at 8 tonight and again at 3 a.m. Wednesday. For information, go to

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