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Visions of history
By KATHY PORTIE   - 06/08/2006

Big Bear Grizzly

We live in a visual world. Family photo albums or videotapes include baby's first birthday, graduations, vacations and other memorable moments in our lives. Photographs are tangible evidence of memories, touching lives for generations to come.

That is the premise behind Arcadia Publishing, a South Carolina company that prints regional history books. Its Images of America series is a visual slice of life story told through the use of rare and stunning historical photographs. One of the latest books in the series focuses on Big Bear.

Prior to his death earlier in 2006, Big Bear historian Tom Core met with “Big Bear” co-author Russell L. Keller several times to discuss the project. “I knew Tom was unable to do this and I wanted to help in any way I could,” Keller says. “I have a large collection of images from Big Bear, so I knew my support would be appreciated.”

The book, which was released on May 22, includes 200 vintage images of Big Bear with detailed captions. The book is broken down into chapters on mining, roads, dams, recreational activities, movies and current times. A dedication to Core is highlighted in the front and reads, in part, “It would have been only fitting for Tom to have written this book, but his failing health made that impossible. We only hope to do justice to his memory with this glimpse into the wonderful history of the Valley that Tom loved so much.”

Half of the proceeds from the book will go to the Big Bear Historical Society, according to Nancy J. Collins, Arcadia publicity manager.


Arcadia's mission is to make history accessible and meaningful. The Images of America series chronicles the history of communities from Bangor, Maine, to Manhattan Beach, Calif. Each title records a town's or city's history through historic photographs.

At a recent book signing in North Carolina, Collins says people recognized and remembered things about the photographs featured in another book from the Images of America series. “It's a way to reminisce,” Collins says. “(Our books) are an affordable way to have a history book that touches on the local area.”

Keller hopes readers will be able to reminisce about the history of Big Bear. “So much of our history is being lost or re-written,” Keller says. “(This book) will provide an easy-to-read, quick and complete history with many new images of the wonderful history of the Big Bear area.”

“Big Bear” is a trade-sized paperback that retails for $19.99. It is available at bookstore chains like Barnes & Noble and Borders. It can also be purchased online at Amazon.com or arcadiapublishing.com.




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