The finish line is in sight and it looks as though I am going to make it! In spite of delightful weather that fueled a growing sense of spring fever, I managed to get in a full six hours of work on the text for Ghost Towns of the Southwest.
In addition I managed to get in a nice morning stroll into the foothills of the Cerbat Mountains with my dearest friend, sign books at Import Corner, a true hidden gem in Kingman, and put in a a couple of hours at the office this morning. In my book this rates as a very busy, very productive, and very good weekend.
After a great deal of soul searching the decision was made to include Kansas but as a sidebar. The three communities along the short 13.5 mile portion of Route 66 in this state really would stretch the ghost town ideal but they have a rich history and are not exactly the boom towns they once were.
In a similar manner I was able to include a few ghostly remnants to the west of Springfield in Illinois, from San Fidel to the Arizona state line in New Mexico, and along the section between Barstow and Victorville in California. In regards to this decision I struggled most with the California sidebar.
Helendale has a very interesting history and dates to the establishment of a station at the springs in 1868, but recent development in the area makes it hard to consider it a ghost town. Oro Grande has an equally rich history and is more of a ghost town but it seemed the best approach would be to include both of these and some other roadside highlights as a sidebar.
Many of the decisions are being made in consideration of the imposition of editorial limitations; 20,000 words of text plus several thousand words for captions. This and the availability of information, or very limited historical context, are the primary reasons for blending through sidebars or in long sections.
In other instances the history was so intertwined combining several communities seemed the only way to present a story in complete context. Examples of this would be Oatman and Goldroad.
Goldroad came first but its location in a narrow rugged canyon enabled Oatman to serve as its bedroom community. With the establishment of the National Old Trails Highway, and latter Route 66, the two towns seemed more like suburbs than seperate entities.
The new title photo is of the Black Mountains above Goldroad just below the summit of Sitgreaves Pass. It presents a pretty clear picture of how restricted development in Goldroad was.
Still, I am feeling better about the project as a whole and feel it will be a new chapter in the history of this storied highway. As is always the case, I would like to have more space, more time for writing, more time for research, more time for travel. etc.
If I were to list but two towns discovered in this project that really piqued my interest they would be Cotton Hill in Illinois and Romerville in New Mexico. The namesake for the latter, Don Trinidad Romero, is one of those fascinating characters that seems impervious to the dramatic life changes that cripple or destroy the average person.
He was born and educated a citizen of Mexico, became an American when New Mexico was ceded to the United States as part of the resolution of the Mexican American war, became a leading figure in New Mexico territorial politics, a representative to the United States Congress, and founded Romerville as part of his vast ranching empire. In his majestic home there he entertained President Hayes, President Grant, General Sherman and other dignitaries.
This is a bit premature as the scheduled date for release is in October, but another Route 66 project that I was involved with is Greetings From Route 66. I have no doubt this book with essays from various authors, a stunning array of photographs, and topics as diverse as celebrity association with Route 66 in Kingman and recipes from famous Route 66 eatries will be much coveted addition to any roadies library. http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=076033885X&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
Other news of note includes confirmation of my participation in the Road Trip Day at Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank on April 24. This store on Magnolia Boulevard is a true time capsule of the mom and pop store on Main Street USA cira 1960.
Enhancing that feel is their Saturday morning get together that is part car show, part book show, part bake goods buffet, and all fun. I hope that you will be able to attend.
On a final note we are finalizing efforts to move beyond limited edition prints and occasional photography for use as illustations into something more serious. This would include stock photos, screen saver sets, sets for digital picture frames, and prints suitable for framing.
As always, stay tuned for details –