Friday, January 16, 2015

Writing New River: On the Path to a Local History

Pepsi Cap Mountain, New River, Arizona
Copyright 2015 MJ Miller

In recent months I've neglected my western history blog. It hasn't been lack of interest on my part; rather, quite the opposite. In the fall, I had the good fortune of being approached by Arcadia Publishing about writing the New River (Arizona) edition of their ongoing Images of America book. As you can guess, I happily agreed -- and thus began my newest journey into the past. It has occupied my time, energy and imagination.

It's often said writing is a solitary occupation. That has indeed been my experience with novels and the majority of my work. Writing a local history, though, is far from lonely. This book has been an adventure in local spirit, a wonderful journey in forging new friendships and the involvement of many others. New River, though not a town, is most definitely a community peopled by proud residents who appreciate the terrain, the history, and each other. Meeting and spending time with my New River neighbors has been sheer pleasure. I've been stunned by their enthusiasm and kindness.

Promptly after I distributed fliers asking for people with information and photographs to contact me, I received a call from Ann Hutchinson. Ann is amazing. In short order, she'd provided me with valuable documents via email, contact information for key players, and an abundance of information. We met shortly thereafter at the Roadrunner, where she introduced me to Rene Faires.  Rene, thanks to his generous and gregarious nature and astonishing memory, has proven critical to this project.  You'll see these names again -- and many others who've been helping me tremendously -- in future installments.

The completed book will be comprised largely of historical photos (nothing contemporary) with supporting text. However, along the way I'll share the "now" photos I've been taking -- and the intriguing tales of our area in more depth.

This, then, is an introduction -- an introduction to the past, in a sense. From the Hohokam who once farmed this rugged terrain to the Mormon, Apache, sheep-herders and cowboys who passed through along the way -- and up to the more recent history of the area -- I'll cover New River for the next few months. I'll share the photographs I take along the way and introduce you to people, sites and events you might not otherwise meet. Check in or sign up for email updates to join me along the way.  And, should you have any historical photos of New River or its early residents, please contact me -- I'm still compiling pictures!

Copyright © 2015 MJ Miller * All rights reserved * No part of this content may be reproduced without the express permission of the author * Links to this page, however, may be freely shared * Thank you for linking, liking, pinning, emailing, +1'ing and otherwise helping grow my readership! Most of all, thank you for reading my blogs. 

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