Title: Book signing today for new Unicoi County history book
Author: Staff Wrtier
Publisher: The Erwin Record
A book signing will be held beginning at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, at The Erwin Record for Mark A. Stevens to sign copies of his just-published book, "Then & Now: Unicoi County."
The new pictorial history book about Unicoi County was released Monday, Dec. 8.
"Then & Now: Unicoi County" is a 97-page book featuring vintage and modern-day images. It was released by Charleston, S.C.-based Arcadia Publishing.
Erwin resident Mark A. Stevens, publisher of The Erwin Record, is the book's author. The newspaper will host a book signing Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 3:30-6 p.m. at its offices at 218 Gay St. in historic downtown Erwin.
"I look forward to signing copies of the book," Stevens said. "I've talked to quite a few people who have already bought the book, and it's been very nice getting to meet everyone already, so I particularly look forward to the first official book signing."
Stevens said he hopes the book "is an entertaining way to look at our history."
Each page features two photos -- one from the past and one from the present -- uniquely illustrating the community's growth and development through the years.
"By comparing the past with the present," Stevens said, "it gives a new twist on history. I think people will be able to enjoy it for years to come."
The book was inspired by a series titled "Moments in Time" that was compiled by the Record's associate editor, Jerry Hilliard, and Erwin historian Jim Goforth, who died only days ago.
"I was able to use a couple of the then and now photos Jerry and Jim had already compiled, but, for the most part, the book features photos that haven't been used in this format before," Stevens said. "Still, the inspiration came from their work, and I'm saddened Mr. Goforth never got a chance to see the finished product. He had been so helpful and was excited for me about the book."
Finding inspiration, Stevens said, was easy.
"The residents of our county and the town of Erwin are proud of where they've been and where they're headed," he said. "I've seen them embrace their heritage on so many occasions -- revamping the old railroad depot to make it home to the county's library or saving the old Fish Hatchery's superintendent's residence and converting it into the Unicoi County Heritage Museum.
"Unicoi Countians recognize that their history is important and precious. The great thing about coming from a town that embraces its history is that there was a lot of material already compiled by wonderful historians like Jim Goforth, Bill Cooper, Christine Tipton, Lou Thornberry and so many others."
There was also a wealth of information hidden in the attic at The Erwin Record.
"I brought box after dusty box from the newspaper to my home, and I poured through literally hundreds of vintage photographs. My house, to my poor wife's dismay, was covered in old photos while I tried to reduce my favorites to what I could fit into the book. There were weeks that we couldn't use our dining room table, because I had it covered in photos."
The book is available at The Erwin Record and other retailers for $21.99.
For those who have already purchased a copy of the book and would like it signed, they are welcome to bring it to the book signing or drop by the newspaper anytime during regular business hours.
The first books were sold Monday morning to JoAnn Seagroves, Mary McKee and Stella McKee, who happened to stop by The Erwin Record just as the books were delivered by UPS.