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Book chronicles Christiansburg's bygone era
By Jill Hoffman   - 06/08/2005


More Info on This Book: Christiansburg

It took only a year to write and publish "Images of America Christiansburg," but Anna Fariello and Kate Rubick hope the book lasts as a historical record.

"As much as Virginia markets itself as historically important, the state tends to consolidate its efforts on its blue chip history," co-author Fariello said.

Fariello, on the other hand, is fascinated more with the "day-to-day history that affected people who lived here in various periods than one particular moment in time."

Fariello lives in the Belmont section of Montgomery County and is a former Fulbright scholar and Smithsonian research fellow. She owns Curatorial InSight, a company that provides museum-planning services, and is helping launch the Christiansburg Institute Museum and Archive.

She is also director of the Highland Cultural Coalition in Floyd County, where she is creating an inventory of cultural and historic sites in Southwest Virginia.

Fariello, who holds degrees in art history, museum studies and photography, structured the book as if it were a museum exhibition.

"I wanted to tell a coherent story through the photographs and the captions," she said.

Co-author Rubick of Blacksburg first teamed with Fariello to help her coordinate the Highland Cultural Coalition.

Rubick holds her bachelor of art's degree in English literature from the University of Vermont and moved to the area in September 2002 when her boyfriend, Ted Auch, entered a graduate program at Virginia Tech.

The wife of one of Auch's professors knew Fariello was seeking an assistant for the coalition and told Rubick about the position. Rubick inquired.

"Her writing was so great that I hired her on the spot," Fariello said.

For the book, Rubick unearthed the photos and researched them. Arcadia Publishing required about 200 photos for its Images of America series.

"We had to comb the countryside," Fariello said.

That included borrowing photos from local and private collections.

Rubick was enchanted by the architectural history of Christiansburg and discovering an old Christiansburg High School on East Main Street that is now an apartment building.

Fariello enjoyed learning about the Silver Lake Nite Club on Silver Lake Road, a once-rowdy night spot with a swimming pool.

She also answered a long-standing question of her own: When she first moved to the area with her husband in 1988, she thought it was odd that East Main Street led to nowhere. Researching the book taught her that the road once led to the depot of a passenger rail station.

"It just totally changed how I viewed how Christiansburg worked," she said.

Fariello said the importance of a historical book series such as Images of America is to inform the present, "not in a dead way, not in a nostalgic way" but to help people understand their contemporary values.

The authors will be signing books June 11 at 2 p.m. at Volume Two Bookstore in Blacksburg and June 15 at 7 p.m. at Easy Chair Bookstore in Blacksburg.

Buy It Now: Christiansburg $21.99

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