Stone | Jul 29, 2012 |
The three authors sat together at the Mahopac Public Library chatting with the constant stream of visitors who came to have their copies of the trio’s recently released book, “Images of America: Mahopac” signed. Others came to purchase their own edition of the 128-page history text from the stacks available on the table where longtime Mahopac residents Eugene J. Boesch, Gregory J. Amato and Barbara Lucina Bosch were seated.
The idea for writing the book was conceived by editors at Arcadia Publishing and proposed first to Boesch, an archaeologist and teacher, who liked the idea of writing it but put the project off for a number of years. Then, after attending a history lecture by Amato and Bosch, and hearing once again from Arcadia’s editors, Boesch felt the timing was right.
“It was fate,” said Boesch. “It was a good time to do it. And so we did.”
Bosch said the group spent about 18 months gathering information from the archives of the Carmel Historical Society where she and Amato have served as trustees. Carmel Town Historian Brian Vangor, who was present at the book signing event, was acknowledged by the authors as the “technical wizard behind formatting the photographs.”
And photographs there are, gleaned from numerous private collections, including the Putnam County Historian’s Office and the American Legion Post 1080.
For Bosch, whose family moved to Mahopac in 1944 “when all the hotels were still open,” the project of compiling the information and photographs was especially dear. Speaking briefly between signing copies of “Mahopac,” she recalled the pride she felt as a youngster watching visitors purchase postcards from the racks at Pressman’s Pharmacy.
“It used to make me feel so happy to think people are buying postcards from where I lived,” she said.
Amato said he particularly enjoyed reading through old newspaper clippings, learning more than he ever knew about his hometown.
“So many interesting things happened and so much of our history isn’t known and you have to pick it out in bits and pieces,” Amato said. “Sometimes it’s only a one inch-wide column entry in a newspaper. There was a lot of interesting stuff. “
Amato recalled finding a news clipping whose sensational headline announced the organization of a K.K.K. club at Mahopac High School back in 1924. Immediately catching his attention, Amato read through the article to learn the three Ks did not represent the notorious Ku Klux Klan, a racist organization, but rather the keynote idea of the school’s guest speaker, a Major Tompkins, who served as “the patriotic instructor for the State of New York.” Tompkins’ Ks referred to “Kindergarten, Kindness and Kindling.” See page 40 in the book to read more about these three Ks.
“That was an interesting one,” Amato said.
During their initial 18 months, the authors gathered material and strategized on the format of the book. Once they had formulated their ideas for the book’s 10 chapters, work progressed quickly.
“There was more time spent in trying to organize what we wanted to do than actually doing it,” said Boesch. “We really started to do it in March of this year so it took us four to five months to get everything together.”
The first editions were printed in early July. Copies of the photo-filled book are available for purchase at many Mahopac locales including the Mahopac Public Library, Bucci Brothers Deli, the Freight House Café and Fraser Bros. Hardware all located on Route 6. “Mahopac” is also available at the Carmel Historical Society, 40 McAlpin Avenue in Mahopac and at the Red Mills Market, 575 Route 6N in Mahopac Falls.
For information on “Images of America: Mahopac,” call 845-628-0500. Proceeds from the sale of the book, which sells for $21.99 per copy, will be donated to the Town of Carmel Historical Society and the Mahopac Public Library.
Filed Under: The Putnam Examiner