CRESTVIEW — North county families’ history will soon be part of an elegant coffee table book commemorating Okaloosa County’s centennial next year.
Before Jon Shields of Pediment Publishing could set up his high-resolution scanner at the Crestview Public Library, eight residents were ready to share their family memories.
Shields said the Crestview response was “excellent,” and far surpassed the book project’s first scanning session at Northwest Florida State College, which only one person attended.
As often happens locally when family photos get pulled out, soon small groups were chatting, passing around pictures and laughing while reminiscing over shared experiences.
While retired teacher Janis Griffin patiently waited with a large envelope of pictures, her cousin Barbara Adams walked in with an envelope of her own.
“Look, here’s Uncle Purl,” Adams said, passing Griffin a photo of her father-in-law, Purl Adams, who built many downtown buildings in the 1920s and ‘30s, including the Alatex Building.
Billye Carter and Joe Barley shared stories of their years in the First United Methodist Church while Barley showed pictures of former Crestview City Councilman Sam Hayes leading the first official delegation to Noirmoutier, France, in 1994.
Reference librarian Sandra Dreaden produced an overflowing box of photos and memorabilia donated by Eva Fountain from the first Bob Sikes library in Twin Hills Park, including photos of former U.S. Rep. Sikes speaking at the dedication.
Shields pored over James E. Cain’s bulging photo album, including pictures of Cain’s grandfather at the family sugar mill on the Yellow River in the early part of the 20th century.
“We got us a lot of history right here,” Cain said, patting the album.