Title: The Forgotten History of West Orange
Author: Erik White
Baristavillians in West Orange and frequent visitors to Eagle Rock Reservation might enjoy a history lesson tomorrow afternoon.
Author Joe Fagan will be at Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, Saturday 1- 2 p.m., signing copies of his book on Eagle Rock and his new book on the history of West Orange just released by Arcadia Publishing in their well-known Postcard History Series.
West Orange features some fascinating postcards from Fagan's own tirelessly assembled collection, showing a West Orange long since paved over. It includes images of Eagle Rock and Crystal Lake-- the small lake near the bowling alley-- when they were tourist hotspots, and when a cable car used to climb the mountain.
Fagan, who is possibly the world's only plumber/historian, finds that Thomas Edison's connection to West Orange tends to outshine the rest of the town's past and is hoping his books will change that. Fagan is outwardly proud of being the fourth generation of his family to grow up in West Orange, even though he now lives in Sussex County. "I've lived where I do now longer than I did in West Orange, but I still consider it my hometown," he says.
Fagan hopes all the newcomers to the area see local history as required reading. "You can have a whole generation of people in West Orange who know nothing about it's history. My objective in writing the books is to give them the means to understand their town."