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Stumptown: The Book

ForestPark_arcadia

Through a series of intricate "small world" connections, we discovered that our neighbor is from Forest Park. Did we know there's a book about Forest Park? she asked. No we did not. She let us borrow her copy. It was a thrill to find it in our mailbox. It's official! I thought, Our story!

The book is from Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series. It was published for the 150th birthday of our hometown.

I was impressed by the production quality– perfect bound, matte finish, stately colors and slick design throughout. The book has lots of great old photos and follows the history of a few original Clayton County families who kept good records. The writing seemed vaguely promotional and focused on the heyday of white Forest Park. The final chapter is called "The Final Chapter," as if the city itself had a beginning, middle and end.

It didn't take me long to figure out that this was a publishing template, written by proud locals. And while I found the history exciting, this doesn't seem to be the final word. There was nothing about the encroaching airport and white exodus. I didn't really see my story anywhere in there... the book I want to read about Forest Park is still unwritten.

Oxford_arcadia InmanPark_arcadia GLAtlanta_arcadia

Now I'm seeing these books everywhere. The Oxford & Ole Miss edition at Square Books. The Inman Park edition for sale at a coffee shop. And last night, at a special table at Barnes & Noble, one called Gay and Lesbian Atlanta.

It made me think this would be a funny way to tell the story of Mountain View. There is something magical about book making– the finished thing in your hands feels timeless and legitimate. Like, if there's a book about it, it must be real.

Comments

Jeannie Weller Cooper

Please do!

Beverly J Martin

I know this is an old post but I just found this link. I am Beverly Martin, one of the authors of the Forest Park Book. I would also like to have included more about white flight, racial issues and additional personal stories. The problem was that the book was being "written" by the City of Forest Park. The public officials wanted to show Forest Park in a positive light. We wrote more about the "heyday" as a way to get more people to buy the book seeing as that was what they grew up with. Maybe "final chapter" wasn't the best title, but you have to know this: I am simply an office assistant, not a writer. We had less than a year to work on this book while still working our regular jobs. The other two authors are department heads. My department head had the responsibility of saying what would and would not appear in the book. I'm not in any way criticizing what you said, just simply hope you understand that novices were in charge.

I had a blast writing it and hope that people take it at face value. Maybe one day I can help in writing a real book about Forest Park, not just a photo album.

Peggy Smith Perry

When I read the book I was thrilled. I was born in Forest Park, but our family moved to another state when I was 12 years old. Though I loved my friends and had a great childhood there, I never thought of FP as being anything special or unique. I didn't even claim it as my "hometown". After reading about it's wonderful history and the terrific people that it produced I was very touched and proud to have been raised in this little town. The book helped me feel a connection to my birthplace and gave me roots that I had lost a long time ago. I am very grateful to those who put it together.

hspalmer

Hi Beverly! Thanks for the inside scoop on the publication of the book. Like Peggy Smith Perry, I'm grateful for the work you did compiling this FP history and I'm proud to have the book in my personal library. If my original blog post sounds critical, it's just because I feel we've only begun to scratch the surface of a rich and difficult story. It's a tough task.

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