Title: Local woman's interest sparks publication of Galloway pictorial history
Author: STEVE PRISAMENT
Publisher: Shore News Today
GALLOWAY - It all started when Matthew McHenry's sister Wendy Walsh bought a historic house on Smith-Bowen Road here in 2000.
"She was curious about the wood in front, the foundation and the fireplace stone," her brother told The Current Saturday, May 14. "She knew East Hanover, where we grew up, had an Arcadia book, and she checked to see if there was one on Galloway Township."
Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series chronicles the history of communities. Each book celebrates a town or region and features about 200 vintage black-and-white photographs with full captions, bringing to life the people, places and events that define the community.
There was no such book on Galloway, but the people at Arcadia asked Walsh if she would like to write one. She wasn't interested, but referred her brother and his longtime friend Joseph Federico.
"That was almost five years ago at a family party," said Federico, who lives in Mahwah. "We contacted a first editor who was being promoted. We wanted to see what Galloway was about before diving into a four-year process."
The result is the pictorial history, "Images of America: Galloway Township," with 128 pages featuring some 200 vintage photos.
"There are two historical houses that are mirror images across the street from each other," said McHenry, 27, who still lives in East Hanover. "My sister has the Smith house. The Ingersolls have the Bowen House."
Names are big in Arcadia books, which all follow a similar format.
"The book is divided into five basic areas," said Federico, 28. "The first is families - there are a lot of great family names associated with Galloway Township. Then there's local businesses, agriculture, Chestnut Neck and the war history, and finally folklore."
It's not just a picture book, Federico said.
"It's got maps; there are house deeds from the 1800s and teacher contracts," he said. "From the 1950s to the 1980s, teachers' salaries jumped $20,000 in 30 years. There is actually an old farmer's bag that had the farm name on it. The owner, Willard Grunow, took that off the wall for us - 'Take it; scan it,' he said. He still runs a Christmas tree farm over by the winery."
Federico is a freelance writer who is starting his own editorial service business. McHenry
is a researcher for Advanced Health Media in Union.
"To see your name printed was cool," McHenry said. "The most exciting moment for me was when they emailed us a mockup of the cover."
Federico said he, too, was caught up in the excitement.
"Since the book came out, it still seems surreal to me," he said.
The book is available online from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
"The first day, Amazon sold out," Federico said. "Our Internet sales have been high and steady since day one, and that's just amazing. We're honored to see that our book is doing so well."
.The authors said they have been doing book signings in the area for a couple of months.
"We get family time with Matt's sister," Federico said.
McHenry said his mother comes down a lot as well.
"We're old family friends," Federico said. "We grew up together. And now we're on to bigger and better projects together, like businesses and writing books and such."
There is one thing they would like to tell their readers, he said.
"We want the families whose ancestors have been here since the 1700s and even the newcomers to Galloway Township to truly be proud of their town's history and the work that we've done," Federico said.
"They can reflect on how much we love Galloway," McHenry said.
The book features an introduction by Robert Reid, president of the Galloway Township Historical Society.
Reid and Galloway Township historian Ken Sooy will join the authors 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 6 at a public dinner meeting of the Absecon Historical Society at Gourmet Italian Cuisine, Pitney and Jimmie Leeds roads, Galloway.
Federico and McHenry will also be at the Noyes Museum of Art 5-8 p.m. Friday, June 17.
McHenry said there has been only one negative in the project.
"It all started to find out about three things for my sister," he said. "We haven't been able to do that."