Castle Rock librarian Vicki Selander shelves and checks out books every day. But until now, she’d never had one she could call her own. That changed this month when Arcadia Publishing released Castle Rock, the latest installment in the company’s “Images of America” series.
Selander’s book is easily the most comprehensive, accessible, and informative account of Castle Rock’s past. The author utilizes nearly 200 photos from the archives of the Castle Rock Exhibit Hall – the majority from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s – to tell the town’s story. Castle Rock would make an excellent Christmas gift for anyone interested in local history.
The book is divided into five sections: “People Put Down Roots,” “Building and Growing,” “Commerce and Industry,” “Community Life,” and “Surviving Disaster,” each of which is organized chronologically.
One of the book’s strengths is Selander’s extensive use of captions. Instead of providing just a few words to identify an image, she offers entertaining narrative that helps the reader understand the town’s economy, culture, and character.
Another highlight is the author’s use of paired photos from different eras to show the reader how things have changed or – in some cases – remained the same.
Selander said she is pleased with the finished product. “I especially like the fact that these photos are now available to the people of the area,” she said. “I hope the book gives them a sense of the experiences of their ancestors and predecessors.”
It took Selander nearly a year to complete the project. “I work seven days a week at two part-time jobs,” she said, “so finding the time to sit down and focus on the book was difficult.”
One area that seems incomplete is “Commerce and Industry.” The section ends with two logging photos from the 1950s. There is no mention of the dramatic changes in the timber industry and the accompanying fall-off in employment that hit Castle Rock so hard during the past three decades.
Selander is a Castle Rock native and a 1968 graduate of Castle Rock High School. She earned an associate’s degree from Lower Columbia College in 1972 and has been the Director of the Castle Rock Public Library for 10 years.
The book can be purchased locally at the Castle Rock Exhibit Hall, Paperbacks Galore in Longview, and Borders Express at the Three Rivers Mall in Kelso.