"Lititz," the latest offering in Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series, emphasizes the old.
With a sepia-toned cover, it touts "vintage photographs" and a borough "shaped by history." The book lists 252-year-old Lititz as "the proud home of Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, the nation's oldest pretzel bakery; Linden Hall, the oldest girls' boarding school in the United States; and the oldest continuous celebration of the Fourth of July."
Yet there is something new associated with a book readers might expect to be written by a native-born, at-least-half-century-long resident of Lititz.
That's "new" as in newcomer.
Author Kathy Blankenbiller moved to the Lititz suburbs a decade ago, a mere blip as far as Lancaster County residence duration.
Sometimes it takes a little distance to get proper perspective. Blankenbiller's upbringing as an "Army brat" living in several U.S. states as well as abroad gives some credence to her flattering portrait of the place.
Not that Blankenbiller has remained aloof from her adopted hometown. She has served on the board of the Lititz Historical Foundation and as a guide at the Johannes Mueller House. She started the first costumed walking tour of Lititz. She's also on the board of the Lititz Kiwanis Club and on the promotions committee of Venture Lititz. Besides that, she works as a "chocolate artist" at Wilbur Chocolate while writing the "In Sites" column for the Lititz Record Express.
The woman is clearly in love with Lititz, and it shows in the book, which is part of a series that "celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities ... presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today," and is aimed at preserving of local heritage.
Blankenbiller made use of not only the written historical record, but oral histories offered by living descendants of the oldest Lititz families.
Short, summarizing essays begin chapters titled "Forgotten Seasons," "Who Are the Moravians," "Education and Music," "Worldliness," "War" and "Picture Perfect Memories." Each chapter is filled with elaborately captioned photographs.
Some images will be familiar because they're still in evidence. Others like the Wabank House affixed to the Lititz Springs Hotel, the Park Hotel, the Beck Family School for Boys and the Lititz Sanitarium are gone, but at least they haven't been forgotten, thanks to this little book.