Grimes co-authors book
featuring images of Madisons past
experience as archivist at museum
led to this project; signing planned
(September 2006) Jefferson County Historical
Society archivist Ron Grimes, 64, and a retired Chicago, Ill., police
officer, has co-authored a book, titled "Madison," a pictoral
history of the town, which was recently designated as a National Historic
Landmark District by the National Parks Service.
Grimes will be at the Jefferson County Historical Society
(JCHS) at 1-3 p.m. on Sept. 16 for a book signing. "Madison,"
which sells for $19.99, is part of Arcadia Publishing's Image of America
Series, which has preserved and shared the history of hundreds of individual
communities throughout the country.
In "Madison," which was released August 28, over 220 images
were used to explore the town's architecture, downtown, riverfront and
residents. A portion of the proceeds benefit the JCHS.
The book focuses on the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period
of growth and change for the major river port. Grimes said readers "will
enjoy making the 'then' and 'now' comparisons as they tour Madison and
see what has changed and what has stayed the same."
Grimes moved to Madison and found that the historic town was ideal for
pursuing his two favorite interests: local history and railroad history.
He now heads a group of volunteers at the Jefferson County Historical
Society that preserve and make available to researchers the history
of the county and its people.
An aspect he finds interesting in his work as an archivist at JCHS is
the collecting, processing and cataloguing of the thousands of historic
photographs that tell the history of Madison, which was founded in 1809
and was once one of Indiana's largest towns and the site of the state's
first railroad. He said he has had a fascination with historic and vintage
photographs for years and he knows that other people enjoy them as well.
The decision to put together a photographic history of the town "gave
me an opportunity to share some of the most interesting vintage Madison
scenes that I have come across," he said.
While much of the information for "Madison"
came from the JCHS's old city directories, newspapers, family history
files and maps, he also used information from Historic Madison, Inc.,
and the Henry Lemon Collection at the Madison Public Library. Another
important source of information came from interviews with longtime Madison
residents, who, he said, "offer a storehouse of information on
Madison of years ago."
HIghlights of the book include a unique 1887 bird's eye-view map, showing
the town and riverfront as they existed long ago and a chapter "tour"
down Main Street, featuring the historic architecture that today is
included in Madison's National Landmark District. There are also dramatic
photos that show the floods and freezes of the Ohio River that Madison
has survived over the years.
The book, which was co-authored by Jane Ammeson,
is available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and on-line
bookstores or through Arcadia Publishing at (888) 313-2665 or www.arcadiapublishing.com.
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