A Lodi native with an appreciation for local history has authored a book on Lodi with more than 200 photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Ralph Clark, 35, who now splits his time between Lodi and Los Angeles, recently completed a book called "Images of America: " by Arcadia Publishing, a firm that specializes in history books on small communities. The book will be available for sale a week from today at such locations at the Wal-Mart and Target stores in Lodi, and the Barnes & Noble store at Eight Mile Road and Interstate 5.
"It's a nice overview of the history of the town," Clark said. "It's not a footnote-heavy book."
The 127-page book has a picture of the 1907 Tokay Carnival surrounding the arch at Pine and Sacramento streets.
"In researching the book, I was struck at how the old Tokay Carnival solidified this community," Clark said. "It put a stamp on this town."
That stamp is Lodi being an agricultural community and major wine industry, culminated by the annual Grape Festival.
Clark said he was "blown away" that the Tokay Carnival drew more than 50,000.
Clark has a real interest in small-town history because it can be the only link between people and their community, especially when they move out of town or newcomers move in.
"Every little town has a unique history that deserves to be told," Clark said.
After graduating from California State University, Stanislaus, Clark moved to Los Angeles and became a freelance writer. A former bareback bronco rider until he injured his back in 1998, Clark began writing about rodeos on the About.com Web site, leaving this year after five years to pursue his Lodi book and go into his own business, called Quality Writing Service.
He writes biographies for rappers and gospel artists, does direct marketing and writes press releases. He also writes about rodeos at www.therodeonation.com.
He is also working on his first novel, a historical novel about Lodi during World War II.
Clark plans several book signings, but dates and locations have not been firmed up. For more information on book signings and other topics, visit www.lodihistory.com.
RALPH A. CLARK AT A GLANCE:
Education: Lodi High Class of 1992; graduate of California State University, Stanislaus.
Residence: Lodi and Los Angeles. He plans to stay in Lodi three to four months each year.
Family: Fiancee Sarah Sunday, an actress who has appeared in TV shows, films and stage productions. Some of her TV roles never made it on the air. They will get married in November in Stockton, but the reception will be in Lodi. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are within 20 miles of Lodi.