New book celebrates Delaware history
Dover, Del. – History buffs and proud Delaware residents gathered at the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries Tuesday as the creative team behind “Landmarks & Legacies” signed the book and detailed the thorough research, vivid storytelling and photographic artistry that went into their hardback portrait of the First State.
Writer Pam George, photographer Kevin Fleming and eminent Delaware historian Russ McCabe, who provided the introduction and chose the 50 historic locations spotlighted in the book, discussed their favorite photos and interviews and talked about the importance of capturing Delaware’s history.
The book was conceived last year as a prize to be handed out to those who completed the Delaware History Trail, a 36-site tour of exploration that tells the stories of early settlers and Native Americans and showcases the state as a cradle for inventiveness, artistry and ingenuity and a forerunner in both the Industrial and Agricultural revolutions.
Those who fill out a passport and visit at least six sites in each of the state’s three counties will receive a copy of the book, which also includes a Forward by Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., a life-long Delaware resident.
“Russ, Pam and Kevin have combined their talents to capture scenes from Delaware’s past and make them vibrant tourist destinations that will amaze visitors today,” Parkowski said.
Once the idea for the book was decided on last summer, McCabe planted the seeds by using his encyclopedic knowledge of First State history to choose the sites.
He said his selections were intended to provide a cross-section of all of the great things to see and do in Delaware, rather than an all-inclusive list.
“There are so many more great places to see and things to do – the Trail is simply a starting point for discovery,” McCabe said. “The 50 sites featured in the book make for a nice cross-section or sampling covering a wide variety of subjects, time periods and locations that illustrate our state’s grand heritage.”
Fleming said that each location offered a unique photographic challenge. He used airplanes and helicopters to capture the large-scale scenes and macro lenses to see the details. And just to make sure he captured all of Delaware’s diverse beauty, he photographed the First State in all four seasons.
“There were many subjects in this book that I drove past a hundred or more times without knowing why they were historically significant,” Fleming said. “For me, photographing this book was a great opportunity to better get to know the state I proudly call home.”
George provided images as well, only those came in the form of stories and prose that brought McCabe’s site choices and Fleming’s photos to life. Many of her stories and anecdotes came from countless interviews with residents and key figures.
“I wanted to tell the story of Delaware through the eyes and memories of those who lived it,” George said. “I went to the people who knew these stories best, and they translated that history into what you see in the book.”
Since its launch in December 2011, the Delaware History Trail has been a strong driver for the growth of tourism in Delaware, which draws more than 7 million visitors annually, stands as the third largest private employer and contributes $2.1 billion to the state’s Gross Domestic Product.
To get started on the History Trail, participants download a Trail Passport and obtain a list of sites and trail rules at visitdelaware.com/History. As visitors experience each historic site, they record site codes in their passport found on the Delaware History Trail signs posted at each trail site. Passports are then submitted to the Delaware Tourism Office to receive a special reward for completing the trail.
Trail participants who visit a minimum of 18 sites, including six sites from each of Delaware’s three counties, are eligible to receive “Landmarks and Legacies.”
The Delaware Tourism Office, 99 Kings Highway in Dover, Del., a division of the Delaware Economic Development Office, promotes tourism and economic growth in Delaware. For more information, visit the official Delaware Tourism website at www.visitdelaware.com or call toll-free (866) 284-7483.