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Limited run of Norwalk Bicentennial books just off the presses

• Nov 23, 2017 at 3:00 PM

With 200 years to celebrate, a simple program just wasn't enough. “Celebrating the Journey, Norwalk Bicentennial 1817-2017,” a 208-page book, is almost here.

A limited run of 1,000 books is now being printed at LSC Communications in Willard, formerly R.R. Donnelley & Sons. The high-quality, hard-bound book preserves the memories of the city's festivities and some of the special people and places that fill Norwalk in this day and age.

Gift certificates for the book, which will arrive the week after Thanksgiving, are available for $25 at the Chamber of Commerce office at 10 W. Main St. Credit cards are accepted.

The book is filled with hundreds of pictures celebrating Norwalk's bicentennial — July Fourth festivities, Memorial Day ceremonies, An Evening with Platt & Sally Benedict, the Pub Crawl, the Firelands Symphony performance at the reservoir, Imagine Norwalk and other events. Anyone who attended any of those events might find themselves on the pages of the book.

It highlights Norwalk's public and private schools, police and fire departments, several churches and many businesses.

“It has been a long process, but I'm proud of the stories we have been able to tell about our community,” said Sandy Lonz, who volunteered to spearhead the project and work with businesses and churches to tell their stories.

“We have some amazing businesses in Norwalk,” she said, “and I've learned so much about them as we researched for this book. Without those advertisers, this tribute to Norwalk wouldn't be possible.”

Norwalk has 10 businesses that have been in operation for more than 100 years – Bennett Electric, Fair Publishing, Maple City Ice, Maple City Rubber, Norwalk Concrete, Norwalk Furniture, Norwalk Monument, Norwalk Reflector, Tucker Abstract & Title and Woodlawn Cemetery.

Several citizens with interesting stories are also highlighted in the book. Regan Zieber is a teenager who wrote a musical composition honoring Norwalk. Mary Louise Stewart, who moved to Norwalk when she was 11 years old, is looking forward to celebrating her own 100th birthday soon.

Historian Henry Timman and Firelands Historical Society volunteer Mary Carabin are also featured in the book for their extensive work to preserve and share the history of Norwalk.

The book also includes a section of predictions of local third and fourth graders of what Norwalk will look like in 100 years.

MaryLisa Boose both wrote several stories and took pictures of many events for the book. “I truly enjoyed working on the book,” she said. “Norwalk has a notable past, but an equally interesting present.”

Melissa James, director of the Huron County Chamber of Commerce, said the idea to take on the challenge of printing a book made sense as she saw many people stepping up to help out with bicentennial events.

“So many people donated of their time, talents and expertise to make this a special year for our city,” she said. “And this book covers much of what they've done.”

The book actually starts out in 2016, she said, because Bicentennial Queen Mary Kline and Ambassador Wylly Yarborough were chosen last fall and the city's annual Light Up Norwalk was the kickoff for the year of events.

Firelands Historical Society generously opened their files and helped with pictures and facts for the book. Tom Root donated aerial photos of the area taken between 1957 to 1999. Tom Janka, a local drone enthusiast, volunteered to take pictures to compare to the old aerial shots.

The Norwalk Reflector and Discover Norwalk Magazine also contributed to the effort with photos and several other citizens brought their pictures in to help tell the story of Norwalk.

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