I was looking at Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges the other day and tried to figure out who might enjoy it as a Christmas gift. Here’s what I came up with:
* Folks who want an attractive book to grace their coffee table. Although we didn’t think of this as a coffee table book when we were working on it, I see it on the coffee table of many people who now have it, including my family and friends and even strangers whose homes I’ve been invited to for purposes other than the book. The photo on the cover by publisher Bob Serra turned out to be the perfect one for this book.
* Picture browsers. With more than 120 photos and 16 illustrations, just reading all the captions under the photos and illustrations will give the gist of the book to those who just want to look at the visuals.
* Oregon history buffs. Crossings gives equal weight to the building of the highway up to the need for five final bridges, the career of McCullough peaking just as the bridges were needed, and the exciting path to funding that culminated with Roosevelt’s election and his New Deal funding of the bridges. It was the convergence of the right man at the right place at the right time. Throughout history, when this has happened, great accomplishments have been possible. This book chronicles the building of one of the world’s great collection of bridges by one of the world’s great bridge designers.
* Bridge aficionados. During my years working at Oregon Coast magazine, we learned that to keep our readers happy, we had to run stories and photos of coastal landmarks on a regular basis, and that included the bridges. Since the book has come out, I’ve had people come up to me and say how pleased they were to find a book that was about the historic coastal bridges and their designer Conde B. McCullough and filled with photos.
* Visitors who love the Oregon Coast. Oregon’s portion of Highway 101 wasn’t named an All-American Road for no reason. It is beloved by folks who visit here from other parts of Oregon, from other states, and even from other countries. I saw this firsthand at Oregon Coast magazine where subscribers come from all over, and I see it at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum where I’m a docent. This book provides a piece of the Oregon Coast that visitors can take with them.
* Engineering types. Those curious about bridge design and construction will find a lot to like in the chapters on building each bridge and the more detailed section of constructing the Siuslaw River Bridge. I had friends visit this summer. One of them, Jim an engineer who had just finished reading Crossings, wanted to walk across the Siuslaw River Bridge and we did. He examined it closely, questioning the roughness of the cement as being different in certain parts of the bridge, seeing wooden splinters that were possibly left over from the forms when the concrete was laid, and so on. And then we drove up the coast and checked out the Cape Creek, Big Creek, Ten Mile, and Cummins Creek bridges. He just couldn’t get enough of the bridges. I’ve also heard of similar reactions by other engineering types after reading the book.
* Those who enjoy oral history. The stories in the book by old-timers are sometimes humorous, sometimes amazing, and sometimes downright unbelievable, but always interesting. These first-person stories came from newspapers, oral history interviews on file in museums, and interviews of old-timers by Dick Smith and myself. Of the many people whose stories are told in Crossings, only four are still alive. So the book is a repository of remarkable remembrances. Several readers of Crossings have told me how the old-timer stories are their favorite parts of the book.
* Men. The most passionate readers of this book are men. They hold my hand, stare into my eyes and tell me how much they enjoyed it or talk to me endlessly about different bridges––much to my amazement.
Now that you know who will enjoy this book, check to see if anybody on your list matches up. Crossings could just be the perfect gift.
Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges can be yours for $24.95 plus $3.99 shipping. Order from Pacific Publishing at http://www.connectflorence.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also available on the coast in bookstores, museums, and gift shops; in Eugene at the airport, the historical museum, and several bookstores; and in Portland at Powell’s and the Oregon Historical Society.
Judy with Crossings sales/book signing at holiday book fair:
December 4, Sunday, noon–5 p.m.––Oregon Historical Society’s “Holiday Cheer: A Celebration of Oregon Authors,” meet Oregon authors who will sign/sell books, $5 admission (free for OHS members and those under 17), Portland (1200 SW Park Avenue)
Judy’s PowerPoint presentation with book sales/signing:
February 19, Sunday, 3 p.m.––Port Orford Library, Port Orford (1421 Oregon Street [Hwy 101])