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Photos sought for book celebrating last 100 years of West Jefferson

Originally published: Mar. 8, 2013
Last modified: Mar. 8, 2013

Heather Samudio

West Jefferson will celebrate its centennial in 2015 and a new book now being compiled will commemorate the town as well.

The Ashe County Historical Society developed a plan to allow everyone to be part of the celebration by submitting photos “to show how West Jefferson has changed since its beginnings. … from a few structures nestled at the foot of Paddy Mountain to the present exciting, bustling gem of the Lost Province,” said ACHS president Carol Williams.

ACHS board member and museum president, Lonnie Jones, said the group wants to “reach as many people as possible. We would like to have pictures of homes and people who lived in West Jefferson. Those pictures will have to come from the public.”

The photos will show the then and now of the community, focusing on the people, homes, churches, businesses and schools that have been part of the area’s history and helped the town become what it is today.

“The book is being published by the same publisher that did the images books about Ashe County and the Virginia Creeper book,” Williams said. “It will be mostly pictures but with very informative captions and introductions to each chapter.”

ACHS members have been eyeing the project for the past eight months, and will begin accepting photos at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 12, in the genealogy room at the Ashe County Library.

Photos can be brought by from 10 a.m. to noon any Tuesday morning through the end of June. Members of the historical society will be on hand to accept the photos and information and speak to individuals submitting the items.

Individuals will be asked to sign a release to give permission to use the photos in the book. Photos and information will be loaned to the historical society for a short period of time to allow the photos to be scanned and saved, but will be returned to the owners. Williams said some of the photos may be returned in as soon as a week.

Individuals are asked to be prepared to provide the names and places in each picture, a description of what is happening and the approximate date the photo was taken.

Photos can be brought in on disk, but should be in JPEG format.

The books will be printed to be timed with the celebration of the centennial. Several local outlets will carry the books and they will be available for purchase at the centennial celebration. The cost will be $22.95 plus tax.

The historical society is cooperating with the centennial committee, but are handling this as a separate project, but “the committee is excited and eager for us to be part of the celebration,” Williams said.

For more information about the project, contact Williams at (336) 877-2281 or Jones at (336) 384-3188.

For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.