Local historian's photo book depicts North Clackamas' past
Happy Valley resident historian and Milwaukie museum curator Mark W. Hurlburt released his latest historical photo book, "Images of America: North Clackamas."
The book, published through Arcadia Publishing and released on Sept. 6, features a vast collection of still scenes depicting local history. It is part of the publisher's long-running "Images of America" series, including similar releases from cities and towns across the country. The book is also the second such release from within Clackamas County, the first being "Images of America: Oregon City" published in 2006 and authored by Jim Tompkins.
This will be the first solo book release from Hurlburt, who also co-authored the 2019 self-published history book "On This Day in Clackamas County" with fellow historian Karin D. Morey.
Hurlburt said the nearly 130-page photo book would give readers a "glimpse" into the history of North Clackamas, intended to inspire them to continue uncovering more about the history of their local areas.
"The whole point of the book wasn't to tell the whole story of all these different cities and communities that are part of this region, but it was just to be more of an introduction to the history of this area," Hurlburt said. "And then if people want to learn more, I mention at the end of the book different historical organizations that they could check out."
A lifelong Happy Valley resident, Hurlburt said he feels a "sentimental attachment" to the area, first discovering his love of history as a high school student.
"I really liked my teacher, and she just got me really interested in history and made it really fun to learn about what happened before I was around," Hurlburt said. "After high school, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to study, and I decided to study history."
After graduating from Portland State University with a history degree, Hurlburt began to research, collect and exhibit local history while working for the Clackamas County Historical Society's Museum of the Oregon Territory in Oregon City from 2011 to 2015 returning in 2018 as a volunteer librarian. Hurlburt also currently serves as curator for the Milwaukie Museum.
"From there, I just grew this passion of wanting to collect local history and write about it," Hurlburt said. "Especially for my home city of Happy Valley, not much had been done on our city's history, so I've decided to write some articles which were published in the Clackamas Review and were published by Happy Valley in their newsletter. It's just something that I just love doing."
Hurlburt acquired a vast collection of historical images and accounts through several years of gathering, and was recently contacted by Arcadia about authoring a new addition to the "Images of America" series.
One of Hurlburt's favorite discoveries while collecting images for the book was a swimming hole made by a Milwaukie resident in the late 1940s.
"One photo in here that I included is about a swimming hole that was south of Sunnyside Road made by this guy named Wally Hubbard, and after I found the photo, I just thought, 'Wow, I've never even heard of this place before,'" Hubbard said, explaining the site was a very popular summer destination among for local kids for decades.
"Just one photo can lead to a great story," Hurlburt said. "Just one photo can really inspire you to want to learn more and learn about the different stories that have happened locally and the lives of different people who have lived here over time."
He said the benefit of a photo book rather than a text-heavy volume is that it creates a more visceral experience for readers and increases the possibility of them developing a sentimental connection to the area.
"With a photo book, I can get a lot more people's attention and generate more interest in wanting to learn more about local history if they can, because that's something they can connect to," Hurlburt said.
"Especially if they didn't have their ancestors already living in this area going back several generations, if there's somebody who's new to this area who doesn't have any real connection, then they could probably go through this book, and establish a sentimental connection to the area and go, 'Wow, this area has really changed a lot over the past 100 to 150 years,'" Hurlburt said.
To pre-order Hurlburt's new book, click here.
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