Book Report: A History of Pierce City by David H. Jones (2005)

Book coverI bought this book at Rublecon in 2022. The author had a table full of old magazines and ephemer as well as one copy of his book. As I had visited Pierce City several times for sporting events (and have seen its tank many times), I bought the book.

The subtitle of the book is “Through Post Cards, Photographs, Papers, & People”. The author was a collector of post cards, so he explains how post cards were easy mechanisms for short, inexpensive communications before telephones. Which also explains why a small town like Pierce City produced such a great number of post cards.

So the author collected numerous postcards from around the turn of the 20th century, and he researched the buildings, people, events, and so on depicted in them. The book, then, includes reproductions of the post cards and builds an anecdotal bit of history. Amazing things: The number of passenger trains that stopped in Pierce City was incredible. 20 passenger trains each day. And the town had a population of 2,500. When the trains stopped, the town declined a bit, but it’s still a nice place to visit. The postcards also mention whether they were sent (most were) and where they went. One wonders how the author accumulated postcards mailed to Illinois or St. Louis. The story behind the book is probably as fascinating as the book itself.

As I read this, I thought this might be the sort of thing that Lileks would like. I also thought maybe I would start accumulating post cards. Fortunately, though, I will likely move on before I come to a place where I can indulge this new interest.

Still, an interesting book which will give me lots of tidbits for my beautiful wife should we find our way out there again.

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