Waynesboro’s three centuries of history that include vibrant industry, railroad travel and a river running through it are all captured in “Images of America: Waynesboro” – a 126-page pictorial history of the River City.
Author Elizabeth Spilman Massie and the book’s chief photo editor and illustrator, Cortney Skinner, will appear at 1 p.m. today at Stone Soup Books and Café.
The two will host others with memories and stories about Waynesboro.
Massie, the author of several fictional works, including horror and historical fiction, is a lifelong resident of Waynesboro. But the year she spent working on the book was a learning experience.
“Just the fact that Waynesboro was a very, very vibrant town,’’ said Massie, who was intrigued by the consolidation of the town of Basic City into Waynesboro in the 1920s.
“I was fascinated with how many industries there were in Basic City,’’ Massie said. “They thought it would be a community that would draw tourists, but it died in the 1890s depression.”
Skinner looked through hundreds of photos from private collections as well as those in public and private archives.
Skinner worked tirelessly to illustrate Tees Tavern, around which Waynesboro was built in the 1700s. Based on the old journal of a visitor, he located the tavern at Main and Arch streets.
And while it is not known how the tavern looked, Skinner’s conception shows a typical Midland log house, originally with a gable-end chimney but with an addition that doubled its size.
“I took reference photos of the lay of the land and the mountains surrounding that spot and incorporated all of that pictorial information into my artist’s conception,’’ he said.
Photos and captions detail the South River’s presence in Waynesboro, the historic homes and buildings in the community, and icons of government and entertainment who have visited.
On Page 74, a photo details President Calvin Coolidge’s visit in 1928. The president and his wife stopped on their way to Swannanoa Country Club in Afton for a Thanksgiving visit. Oscar-winning actress Greer Garson is shown in another photo of her 1942 visit promoting the sale of World War II bonds.
The book first was released in June by Arcadia Publishing. Massie said the reaction has been positive.
“I think people are thrilled that Waynesboro history has been presented,’’ Massie said. “You feel affirmed. Your town has got a validity that is worth putting in print.”
The book is available locally at Books-A-Million, Ben Franklin Crafts and Rocking R Hardware and online at Arcadia Publishing’s Web site and through Amazon.com.