Tom Badger and his father, Curtis Badger, share an interest in photography and Eastern Shore history. Curtis Badger is the author of more than 30 books, mainly about the natural landscape of the Atlantic Coast. He was also the author of the very popular "Pictorial History of the Eastern Shore."
Now Badger has collaborated with his son to produce "Accomack County" in the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing. With more than 200 vintage black and white images, "Accomack County" offers a pictorial history revolving around two essential elements -- the land and the sea.
Public wharves in Accomack County were once located on many creeks where farmers would bring crops for market. Then, in 1884 the railroad came through. The railroad created new towns and it meant the demise of the numerous public wharves. Today, most of these old gathering places exist only as names on a map and perhaps a collection of twisted pilings at the water's edge, the last tangible evidence of a time in our history long past.
Highlights of "Acco-mack County" include the storm of 1933 and the Ash Wednesday storm of 1962, the agricultural boom during the early 1900s, waterfront towns when they were busy centers of commerce and institutions such as the Keller and Tasley fairs. Several photographs are aerial images and provide a bird's eye view of towns and other locations as they appeared decades ago.
"The photograph is the most literal and accessible medium there is when it comes to describing how people lived and what places looked like 50 or 100 years ago," said Tom Badger. "You can talk about how important farming was in the glory days of the Eastern Shore Produce Exchange, but when you look at photographs of box cars loaded with barrels of potatoes, or when you see pictures of horse carts lined up for the strawberry auction, it gives history a sense of immediacy you rarely find in the written word."
Both Tom and Curtis are themselves photographers of note. Tom graduated in 2008 from Hampden-Sydney College and spent three months traveling the country taking pictures. The project resulted in a one-man exhibition at the Stage Door Gallery in Cape Charles. Tom and Curtis had a father-and-son exhibition of the photography at the gallery in 2007.
"Accomack County," a softbound volume, sells for $21.99 and is available at local bookstores or through Arcadia Publish-ing at 888-313-2665 or www.arcadiapublishing .com
The authors will have a book signing at The Book Bin at Four Corner Plaza in Onley on Saturday, Aug. 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.