Boian Books to relaunch Westphal's ES history book

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

By Kathryn Lucariello

EUREKA SPRINGS -- Researchers of Eureka Springs' history -- and those who just enjoy reading the history of interesting little towns -- will be happy to learn that a solid piece of history has been republished in a second edition -- A Fame Not Easily Forgotten, by local historian June Westphal and co-author Catharine Osterhage.

First edition scarce

Fame... author June Westphal

The first edition, published in 1970, has long been out of print and only a few scattered copies survive. Anyone lucky enough to find a first edition from a rare bookseller will pay dearly for it.

This new edition is virtually the same, except with two important additions, a preface and an index, according to Boian Books publisher Mary Pat Boian, who is releasing the second edition.

Native historian

Westphal, a Eureka Springs native, is considered the eminent historian of the town. She has written several books, radio vignettes and numerous articles for the Carroll County Historical Society. Among her works are The Eureka Chronicles: Ten Decades of History, 1880s to 1980s; Centennial Postcard History (co-authored with Bob Rennels in 1979); and For All the Saints: A History of Methodism in Eureka Springs.

She has also been the photo caption editor for Cornerstone Bank's (formerly the Bank of Eureka Springs) popular annual historical calendar, drawn from thousands of historic photos in the bank's collection.

A huge undertaking

Westphal met Osterhage in 1966 after Osterhage, a draftsman for the Crane Company from 1918 to 1963, retired to Eureka Springs and became a librarian at the Carnegie Public Library. The two women spent four years going through old newspaper articles, hand-written accounts, historical documents and unpublished manuscripts. The result was A Fame Not Easily Forgotten.

Although Osterhage never saw the publication of that first edition (she died shortly before it came off the press in 1970), her name remains on the second edition.

"The scope of what these two women did is quite remarkable," Boian said. "They called (their book) an autobiography because the town had really kept an excellent diary about her life and times, and they thought of the town as a person."

Historical highlights

Eureka Springs was a town "founded by people in failing health, and many who were cured stayed and devoted energy to making it a viable community."

The book details how the healing springs, notably Basin Spring, drew thousands to live in tent camps perched on steep hillsides. Many people were poor and starving, and some of the wealthier residents, notably the ladies, started all kinds of relief societies, providing food, medicine and shelter.

Other societies and clubs soon followed, such as the Tourist Social Hour Club, which held picnics, parties and musical events.

The Humane Society was started in 1896, primarily for the welfare of abused horses, mules and oxen.

Eureka Springs was not without its more colorful element, in the form of gambling establishments, saloons and houses of ill repute.

Shaking a finger at Eureka's indulgence, preachers flocked to the town, among them Carry A. Nation, with her famous hatchet that had smashed the casks of "demon rum."

"By 1904, there were 5,000 residents, 14 doctors, six dentists, 18 grocers, banks, bookstores, jewelers and photographers," said Boian. "In 1906, the first automobile showed up in town, causing a horse stampede. Twenty-three years later, 500,000 tourists a year were driving to Eureka Springs."

Many famous and infamous people have lived or come through town. Many of its architectural and natural peculiarities are listed in Ripley's Believe It or Not.

Centennial kickoff

The second edition of A Fame Not Easily Forgotten is being released as the kickoff for the Eureka Springs Carnegie Public Library's centennial celebration in 2010.

A release party at the library at 194 Spring St. will take place this Sunday, Dec. 13, from 1 to 3 p.m. June Westphal will be on hand to sign books, which will be available in both hardcover and softcover.

Boian Books publisher Mary Pat Boian

Boian Books, L.L.C.

Mary Pat Boian, original publisher of the Lovely County Citizen and herself a writer and historical researcher, is working on several projects about historical Eureka Springs. She established Boian Books publishing house in 2006 with the goal of publishing authors from the Ozarks or writing about the Ozarks.

The house has had three previous publications: Letters from the Pen, a compilation of columns written for the Lovely County Citizen by author Dale McCurry, while he was incarcerated; Dissipated Assets, a poetry anthology by David Zimmermann; and Herbal Pearls, a translation of Chinese folktales about healing plants, edited by local herbalist and researcher Steven Foster.

Boian Books will also soon be releasing Murder in the Ozarks, by Steve Weems, based on a true story.

Visit boianbooks.com for more information and reviews of its publications.

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  • What a nice story from Kate! I look forward to reading this book, and hope the library will have several copies.

    -- Posted by aquene on Thu, Dec 10, 2009, at 12:15 PM
  • Nice work, Kate.

    Mary Pat and June thanks for doing what you do.

    -- Posted by goneandnotforgotten on Fri, Dec 11, 2009, at 3:03 PM
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