The formal release of a new history book on St. Helena on March 14 at Charles Krug Winery’s Carriage House will, in itself, be an historic occasion of sorts. The book, co-authored by Mariam Hansen and Susanne Salvestrin, is the most comprehensive study of the town’s past to date.
Its simple name, “Images of America: St. Helena,” and the fact that it is just but one of 3,000 books in an Arcadia Publishing (Charleston, S.C.) series of books about U.S. communities (including Calistoga) do not subtract from its significance.
“They (Arcadia) have been looking for some time to do a book on St. Helena. They knew that we are the heart of the wine country and that this would be a book that people would be interested in,” said Hansen.
It could be that the book will be a hot commodity, given St. Helena’s position as the wine-tasting Mecca to people from everywhere.
“Yes, and I think the publisher knew that and that’s one of the reasons why (Arcadia) pushed it,” Hansen said. “They really wanted to do this book.”
The release party for the book, from 2 to 4 p.m., will be a gala event celebrating the period from the 1880s to the 1960s in St. Helena. The book’s project team will be introduced and a presentation tracing the town’s history from its founding will be complemented by a vintage photo slideshow.
Like the Calistoga book, which was researched and written by John Waters Jr., editor of The Weekly Calistogan, the St. Helena publication will provide an historical picture overview.
“We were limited to 18,000 words in the text and I think we got to 17,950,” said Hansen. “We tried to pack in as much history as we could.”
“Images of America: St. Helena” ($21.99) became available on the Arcadia Web site on Monday of this week. (It’s also available from Amazon.com.)
Other point of purchase locations are being established, but on March 14 it will become available through the St. Helena Historical Society, 967-5502.