Saturday, March 06, 2010

East Side Story

This time, a quick plug for one of our locals--Sarah C. Oltrogge, of the State Historical Society, has just published a fascinating new book that concentrates on the East Village area of Des Moines, tracking over a hundred years of history through a treasure-trove of photographs. The visuals alone are fascinating in and of themselves, but what makes this so much more than your average coffee-table look-through is Sarah's accompanying text--she has a knack for picking out and interpreting details that completely bring these pictures to life. It's like having a good friend take you on a tour through her hometown--but with time-traveled factored in as well. Once she gets you started, you'll be making repeat visits to these pages and picking out details on your own.

For you fellow Lost Cinemaphiles, you'll find a couple of items not seen here or in my film--a rare snap of the Mini-East adult theatre, and the similarly elusive Iowa Theatre (not to be confused with its westside counterparts of the same name).

The book is part of the well-known "Images of America" series issued by Arcadia Publishing, and is available through (prices vary from day to day, but they're generally good), the better local book stores, and also at various East Village store outlets.

If you're especially lucky, you can catch Sarah signing copies in person and dishing tales of East Side history in her upcoming personal appearances. You should be able to find info about these here; her first signing (at the West Des Moines Barnes and Noble this month) did very well and found her book supply pretty well depleted by day's end.

Add this to your Des Moines history bookshelf as soon as you can--though I suspect it will have more time in your hands than on the shelf!