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Books offer visual journey through area’s past

I’ve always been a history nut, particularly American history.

While in college I took so much American history that I ran out of classes to take.

When taking Ohio history a professor simply wrote “enough” across my multiple page answer to a question about the Ohio Company that settled Marietta in 1788.

So when The Times published “Picturesque Past” 17 years ago I jumped at the chance to design a book with hundreds of historical photos of Marietta. The chance to merge photography and history was an opportunity I could not pass up.

The book quickly sold out and for years we have had to tell people looking for a copy that we no longer had any.

The computer files that made the book possible though, were still around. Carefully stored on at least three different computers, I always thought it would be a good idea to republish it for a new generation of history fans.

A year ago I decided to see if it was possible. At first the old computer file seemed shaky, crashing frequently, it then seemed to stabilized a bit as I used it more.

In this go-around the book serves at part of a set. “Around Town” showcases daily life in Marietta just as “Picturesque Past” and it does so with around 350 photos that were not published in the past book.

Many of the photos were not available 17 years ago, with the works of several photographers being featured that were not available before.

There are even a few photos that I shot in the book, that because of the passage of time, now fall into the “historical” classification.

Together, the books total more than 270 pages and contain hundreds of photos.

History, I believe, should be in the hand of people to enjoy. These two books take you on a visual journey into the Marietta area past, showcasing the people, businesses and institutions that shape the community that we live in today.

Both books are now available at The Times office at 700 Channel Lane. Just stop by between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. You can buy them as a set, or if you purchased a copy of “Picturesque Past” in the past, you can just purchase “Around Town.” “Picturesque Past” can also be purchased by itself.

Also being published this year is “PSHS 50,” a book on the first 50 years of Parkersburg South. That book joins “PHS 100,” which took a look at the first century of Parkersburg High School last year.

All books can be ordered online by clicking on the book link on the home page of MariettaTimes.com and can be shipped.

Art Smith is online manager for The Marietta Times.