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Ex-Manteca resident pens Escalon history: New pictorial history dates back to pioneer travel through area in the mid-1800s
By Staff Writer   - 09/10/2008

Manteca Bulletin

More Info on This Book: Escalon

ESCALON - "Escalon" is the newest pictorial history from Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series and local author Barbara Willis along with the Escalon Historical Society.

Boasting more than 200 vintage images along with a supportive narrative, Escalon brings area history to life.

Most of the photographs in Escalon are from the archives of the Escalon Historical Museum, initially contributed by the original photographer, Angelo Dugo, for the museum's creation. Along with the contributions of other individuals, these stirring images tap the Escalon community and impart the spirit of the San Joaquin County community to tell its pictorial history.

Author Barbara Willis hopes Escalon "informs, entertains, amuses and enlightens all of its readers."

Highlights of "Escalon" include agriculture, entreprenuership, tourist travel, and small town charm and personality.

All profits from the sale of this book will be donated to the Escalon Historical Society.

The book is available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888)-313-2665 or www.arcadiapublishing.com.

Willis is a native of California, though not of her adopted home town of Escalon. Born in Santa Cruz, she's lived in Santa Clara and Manteca; also Marshall Michigan. While in the Army she lived in Alabama, Monterey, Texas, and Germany.

Barbara's work experience has included positions as records clerk, deputy sheriff, radio intercept operator, bookkeeper, office manager, accounting clerk, circulation assistant, library assistant, and now assistant to a financial planner. Barbara's education includes an associate in arts degree from San Joaquin Delta College, and baccalaureate and master's degrees from California State University, Stanislaus.

Married to David, a retired firefighter, for nearly 29 years, Barbara has a step-daughter Megan and a grandson Merrick. She and her family moved to Escalon in 1988. Since then she has "given back" to the community by being a member of the Escalon Chamber of Commerce and serving as a board member; being a member of the Friends of the Escalon Library and holding several officer positions; joining the Escalon Historical Society and assisting with several fundraisers; and serving on the Escalon Planning Commission.

An quick Q&A with Barbara Willis, the author of “Escalon.”

Q: What was your inspiration for writing the book?

A: In 2007, while visiting family, I purchased a copy of an Images of America series book, Marshall about the town in Michigan where I had attended high school. Since Escalon is about the same size and has a history of its own, I thought a similar book about Escalon would be an interesting and rewarding project and a way to raise money for the Escalon Historical Society. The Escalon Historical Museum has many historical photographs and the photographer is a local man with an interest in preserving Escalon's history. I wanted to capture the history in pictures and in memories and have it in one book.

Q: How did you research the information for the book?

A: I started with the pictures hanging in the museum and those in the personal collection of the photographer, Angelo Dugo. Some of the photographs had captions, some not. Some captions were accurate, some not. I interviewed Mr. Dugo and his family, historical society members, visitors to the museum, and people in the community. I also reviewed books written previously about Escalon and the surrounding area, as well as reports now archived at the museum, with original research and written by high school students. I examined flyers, newspaper articles, first hand accounts and many other items held by the museum.

Q.What will readers find interesting about the book?

A. The photographs show buildings, events, and people not familiar to all current Escalon residents. Some buildings no longer exist. Others remain with a very different appearance. There are historical occurrences not known by everyone; events that shaped the community and helped to make it what it is today.

Buy It Now: Escalon $21.99

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