As you all may recall, we've interviewed several fellow authors of Arcadia Publishing's Images of America Series on the show. These folks are in love with the history of their towns and very excited to share it with others. Today we finally had an opportunity to bring Christy Van Heukelem, an author of three books in this photographic history series, into the studio. Christy, along with her co-author Tom Fuller, wrote books covering Salem, Newberg, and McMinnville.
Christy is a sixth-generation Oregonian, with her family members coming to Oregon in the first immigration of 1843. Having worked at the Salem Public Library for many years, she knew there was a need for books that focused on local history, so when this opportunity with Arcadia Publishing came along, she jumped on it.
Christy chose the city of McMinnville for their third endeavor, as McMinnville was named after McMinnville, Tennessee, which just happens to be the hometown of her own great-great grandfather who was an early Oregon Trail immigrant. They were very lucky to establish a partnership with the local newspaper, the News-Register, who allowed them full access to their archives, a treasure trove of historic photographs and stories. She especially remembers a wonderful photograph of an old fire engine that is proudly displayed in the McMinnville Fire Department office, although nobody knew anything about its history. She researched old engines, found one similar to the photograph, and contacted the original manufacturer. The manufacturer was able to provide a photograph of the original sales invoice, dates and all. A copy of the invoice now joins the photograph of the engine on the Fire Department wall.
As to the future, Christy advises us that she doesn't plan to do another book. Now that she is retired, she wants to focus her love of history and research helping individuals discover their own histories. To this end, she has begun a business venture that we plan to talk with her about on a future show. We're sure that her passion for researching the connections and her delight in sharing these discoveries with others is bound to make a wonderful impact for many local families.