Publication: Redlands Daily Facts
Article Title: Bookstore hosts history authors
Author: Michelle E. Ramos
REDLANDS - This Saturday is "Local History Day" at the Redlands Barnes & Noble bookstore in Citrus Plaza, with book signings and the chance to meet more than a dozen authors of local history books.
The event will feature John Weeks, author of "Inland Empire" from Arcadia Publishing's Postcard History Series, Richard and Robin Hanks, co-authors of "The Harris Company," and other authors.
Weeks' "Inland Empire" chronicles the history of the region in the form of 200 antique postcards that tell the story of the area's beginnings. As a young man, Weeks began collecting postcards 40 years ago when he first saw an image of a frozen Lake Arrowhead on a 1949 postcard. It was then that Weeks' passion for collecting postcards was born.
As the features editor for the San Bernardino Sun and the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Weeks is known as the "Emperor of the Inland Empire."
"I fell in love with Arcadia Publishing's books, and by now there are 50 to 60 books on Inland Empire communities," Weeks said.
"I frequently wrote about the books and kept collecting them and then somehow it finally clicked that I could put together a book with my collection of postcards," he said.
Within the pages of "Inland Empire" are vintage postcards depicting Redlands in the early 20th century. Weeks' book reminds people of a time when the citrus industry dominated the area and sweetened the air with the essence of oranges.
"We've plowed over our orange groves and let our air get nasty," Weeks said. "I think we need to appreciate the past. If we think more about preservation, it will help safeguard our future."
Among the other authors at the book signing will be Richard and Robin Hanks, co-authors of "The Harris Company." The book tells the history of the Harris Company's presence throughout the Inland Empire. Although the book's third author, Aimmee L. Rodriguez, will not be able to attend, the Hankses are looking forward to Saturday's event.
"Everywhere we go we hear stories form people who have worked for Harris' or have family who worked for the store. It has been very uplifting and I am looking forward to Saturday and meeting new people with a connection to this family and store," Robin Hanks said.
"The response to the book has been gratifying. It is a great story about a great family who realized the American dream and helped others realize their dream. These outings are always so positive," Richard Hanks said.
Barnes & Noble employees have been hard at work organizing the event and are just as excited as the authors.
"We're very excited to bring together many authors and experts on local history. We wanted to create a local history event and highlight the diversity of the area and highlight some of the writers," said Jill Sweitzer of Barnes & Noble.
Other authors include Steve Lech, "Resorts of Riverside County"; Frank Teurlay, "Riverside's Camp Anza and Arlanza"; and Steve Shaw, "San Bernardino."
Information: "Local History Day - Meet All the Authors," from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday Nov. 1, at Barnes & Noble, Citrus Plaza Shopping Center, 27460 Lugonia Ave., Redlands, (909) 793-4322
Publication: The Sun
Article Title: Remembering paradise
Author: John Weeks
Can we learn from the past? I think we must believe it is possible, especially during times like these when we elect new leaders and adopt new resolutions.
It's true on a national level, and it's true locally, too.
On June 16, 1931, a visitor to California wrote home to West Medford, Mass., and reported, "This is a great place. It's all they say it is and I would just as soon stay here to live."
The writer of this postcard note was referring to San Bernardino. The picture on the reverse side shows the pepper trees in Pioneer Park in the city's downtown. It's a scene still viewable today.
Earlier that same year, on March 4, 1931, another visitor to California wrote home to Providence, Rhode Island: "This certainly is God's Country. Beautiful Air and Sunshine and Wonderful Scenery and Drives."
This writer was describing Riverside. The postcard image on the reverse shows Mount Rubidoux thronged with people during Easter sunrise services. It's a scene repeated each year to this day.
There's no doubt that the Inland Empire once enjoyed great fame as one of the most desirable places on Earth. In collecting local postcards over the course of many years, I am intermittantly reminded of the fact. But it was while browsing through my entire collection of postcards, and compiling the best of them into book form, that the point hit me with full force.
The Inland Empire truly was an earthly paradise. The success of early-day citrus growers and wine growers made news from coast to coast. Tourists flocked here. The new railroads made haste to lay track to bring them here more quickly, and in greater numbers. New cities sprang up around the new rail stations, and those cities thrived. Stately neighborhoods were linked by wide, palm-lined boulevards.
The rich and famous families of the East ventured West to investigate this new, fabled land. Many of them built winter homes here. Some built permanent homes and stayed here. Great schools were built in Redlands, Loma Linda, Claremont and Riverside to accommodate the children of these families.
Fabulous resorts were built to entertain the new masses of residents and visitors here. The Mission Inn in Riverside, the Norconian Resort Supreme in what is now Norco, and the Arrowhead Springs Hotel in San Bernardino were a few of these.
Even new religious movements chose this place as an ideal place to establish centers for spiritual growth and outreach. The Mormons settled here, as did the Seventh-day Adventists, the Pentacostals, Campus Crusade for Christ and others.
We know all this to be true. The evidence is in the images, the postcards that were sent around the nation, around the world, at that time.
I believe that these old postcards not only can tell us about our past, but about our future. Yes, we have yielded most of our orchards and vineyards to urban sprawl. Many of our once-stately communities have been battered by bad decisions, bad luck, and the vagaries of time and economy.
But I believe that any place that once was idyllic can be idyllic again. The process starts with taking stock of our past, taking pride in it, and preserving with honor its artifacts and memories.
Fully informed and fully appreciative of our past, we can forsake the ghosts of self-doubt, self-pity and self-loathing that sometimes have held us back, and we can go forward into the future with new confidence, new purpose, new resolve to rebuild our earthly paradise again.
I will say more on this subject at Thursday's meeting of the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society. After my talk I'll sign copies of my book, "Inland Empire" (Arcadia Publishing, $19.99). The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Christian R. Harris Memorial Hall, on the corner of Eighth and D streets in downtown San Bernardino.
Title: The Emperor of the Inland Empire
Author: Staff Writer
Publisher: The Redlands Area Historical Society
San Bernardino Sun features editor and columnist, John Weeks is the January 26th speaker for the Redlands Area Historical Society meeting held at A.K. Smiley Library Assembly Room at 7:00 p.m.
Weeks has written a book titled “Inland Empire” published by Arcadia Publishing, which is available locally and at the meeting.
Dubbed the “Emperor of the Inland Empire” Weeks has collected Inland Empire artifacts, memorabilia, books and postcards for the past 40 years. The 200 postcards in “Inland Empire” are from his personal collection. His collection numbers over 1000 postcards.
Weeks will discuss his selection process and routine discoveries while writing the appropriate caption for each photograph. The book features San Bernardino Valley as a wonderland of old growth vineyards, citrus groves, thermal hot springs, Wild West landmarks, Native Americans, Route 66, Idyllwild, Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Palm Springs, Mojave Desert, Death Valley and Joshua Tree. His book is a post-card perfect grand tour of the entire region.
Weeks is a avid member of the San Bernardino Pioneer Historical Society. His column covers the issues of the Inland Empire with thoughtful, sometimes satirical commentary on the issues of education, transportation, and the entertaining ethics of county government.
John Weeks will take us all on a armchair tour of the Inland Empire.
Historical Society meetings are open to the public with the goal of inspiring membership and scholarly interpretation of our history