Images of America series hits the bull’s-eye
By Claudia Young
Arcadia Publishing bills the books in this series as “pictorial history” but that doesn’t begin to describe the very real historical service they provide to the communities that find themselves to be the fortunate subjects of this series.
Two books published by Arcadia in the “Images of America” series recently came to our attention: “Loveland” and “Highlandlake and Mead.”
What began as a light perusal ended up as a fascinating journey through the histories of two local areas. What a clever way to teach someone history of a community. The reader is lured into the pages by the mass of historical photos and then kept there to turn every page as the history actually unfolds through only the cutlines or captions beneath each image.
There’s no dry history or date memorization in these books; and these are not just somebody’s scrapbooks presented for vanity’s sake. This is history presentation at its best.
“Loveland” is written by local mother and daughter coauthors Laurel Benson and Debra Benson Faulkner who painstakingly compiled photos and historical details from individuals as well as the Loveland Museum/Gallery. Loveland residents will learn pieces of history about their town that may surprise and please them.
One reader said, “For the first time in over 25 years of living in this area, I finally have answers to some of my questions and now feel a sense of pride in this community that I had never before felt.”
The photos depict life from the beginning of local photographic history to the present day. The first pages are filled with photos of Native American Indians living right where today’s residents live and the last pages are filled with today’s latest additions to Loveland. The stories that comprise the daily life between those two times are told through hard-to-find photos as well as brief written captions that explain how we got from “there to here” in a far more interesting manner than we would ordinarily find in historical recounts.
Did you ever wonder how, when and why the sculpture park began? Did you know how and when Hewlett Packard established itself in Loveland? The answers to these and many other questions are found in this fascinating approach to Loveland’s history.
“Highlandlake and Mead” naturally uses the same approach to a pictorial history of its own. Local historian Pauli Driver Smith authors this intriguing volume.
Prepare to step back through a history that rings with the names we still hear today. Even the earliest photos have pictures of people who bear the recognizable surnames of many of today’s area residents.
In addition to learning more of the anticipated farming background of Mead that still continues, it was a delight to discover that Highlandlake was populated by strong-willed women who were decades ahead of many of the larger cities. The women even threatened to strike if the men in their lives didn’t vote for women’s suffrage in 1893. The nearby Longmont newspaper commented on the pressure brought to bear by the women as Colorado became the second state to allow women to vote.
The movie “Die Hard II” was partially filmed in Mead in 1989 where Bruce Willis and his cronies made quite an impression on the locals while bringing a touch of Hollywood to the rural area. In spite of the snowy and cold weather, for a brief time television interviewers and reporters flocked to cover the event.
While each town and city has a history, it remains generally under-appreciated or unknown unless someone makes an effort to document that background. Arcadia Publishing handsomely fills this need with its “Images of America” series. There is no pretense at being a comprehensive history but rather a scrapbook of sorts that can serve as a reader’s only guide to an area or as a springboard for more research.
“Loveland” and “Highlandlake and Mead,” each $21.99, published by Arcadia Publishing, are available at local retailers, online bookstores or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com  or 888-313-2665.
You will be so captivated by the presentation in the “Images of America” series that you will want to call them or refer to their Web site above to see the other towns and cities chronicled in this series.