By David Esteppe
Telling a story in pictures is Rainelle, the newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images in America series. The book written is by local authors: acclaimed writer and historian Joan C. Browning, Rainelle Mayor Andrea J. Pendleton, and social studies teacher and writer Autumn G. Shelton and was released on Oct. 13. The book boasts 200 vintage images, many of which have never been published, and showcase the rich memories of days gone by.
Rainelle features stories of the four generations who built and operated the prosperous Meadow River Lumber Company for 60 years, while capturing the founders, lumber workers, preachers, physicians, war heroes, athletes, churches and schools. The book tells the story with the spice of West Virginia life and recreation, politics and government.
Pendleton described the process of over a year’s worth of collecting photographs and stories from a variety of sources, all acknowledged in the preface of the book. The images and information came mostly from private collections and public archives. As the collecting proceeded, materials would be sent to Arcadia. Sometimes the publisher would deem that a photograph didn’t make the cut; but everyone is very happy about the finished product.
Pendleton says though proceeds of the book will go towards funding the Rainelle Community Development Corporation, she says, “We are proud of the history of Rainelle. We know how important it is for our young people to know the history of this town, and how the once world’s largest hardwood lumber mill impacted things around here and afar. The dance floor of the famed Waldorf Astoria is made from wood from Rainelle. The west Virginia Governor’s mansion’s dining room floor is from our wood. Wood from Rainelle is in buildings all over the world to this day.”
The book is available at area bookstores, retailers online and off; and may be ordered directly from Arcadia at 888-313-2665.
The Rainelle Community Development Corporation has approximately 500 copies of the book on hand and is sponsoring book signings with the authors at several area venues. Refreshments will be on hand as well as live musical performances by John Wyatt. The signing parties are Oct. 25 at Tamarack in Beckley from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Nov. 7 at the Greenbrier County Convention Center and Visitors Bureau in Lewisburg from 5 – 9 p.m.; Dec. 5 at City National Bank in Rainelle from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; and Dec. 12 at Summit Bank in Rainelle from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.