November 5, 2009 - the Perry Park Story
When my young family first arrived in Douglas County, we were lucky enough to meet longtime Perry Park residents Francis and Sally Maguire. Perry Park, west of Larkspur, was and is an area of surpassing loveliness.
The Maguires provided enormously entertaining stories of Douglas County history (which included, from my perspective, an alarmingly brisk turnover of library directors). Congenial and stimulating hosts, the Maguires did much to help me understand the political and historic context of the area.
Soon, I fell in love with Perry Park, and eventually we rented a condo in the area for several years.
So it seems fitting that the Douglas County Libraries Foundation has funded the re-publication of Ardis Webb's "The Perry Park Story: Fulfillment of a Dream."
This brief history was originally published in 1974 by Ardis and Olin Webb. It has long been out of print. Additional material includes a chapter by Sally Maguire called "Happily Ever After," and the DVD "Perry Park: in the Shadows of Giants" by the Network Douglas County Television.
Together, this new publication both preserves the work of previous historians, and brings the story up to date. (Fittingly, both Webb and Maguire got their bachelor degrees in journalism). In the DVD, the images of Perry Park continue to be heartbreakingly beautiful. And Sally is once again an erudite, gracious, and engaging host.
Copies of the book will be available at the Perry Park Country Club Pro Shop and all library locations. The book will be sold for $12.00 a copy, plus tax. Profits will support the Douglas County History Research Center.
The Douglas County History Research Center, itself a department of the Douglas County Libraries, was the coordinator of the project. The History Center, with its collections of papers, photographs, aerial maps, booklets, and more, is not only a repository of local memory. It is also the wellspring for new works, as this publication shows.
In the Internet age, I think this kind of project is precisely what libraries should be looking to: the gathering, organization, and preservation of local history.
While the pattern of information seeking has clearly changed -- Google's streamlined interface, speed, and reach has pushed it ahead of yesterday's phone call or visit to a librarian -- Google still doesn't create content. It links to, indexes, or digitizes other people's content.
That means that libraries have a far more important role to play in the emerging information environment: a nurturer of writers, an explorer of our own backyards. A creator of content.
I'll conclude with my own memory of Perry Park. In 1990, Perry Park residents were still talking, with some heat, about developer Lee Stubblefield, who around 1976-77 left behind him a string of broken promises and financial obligations, and fled to Mexico.
The men were particularly outraged. But almost every one of the women who had been around at the time had a different reaction. Their eyes would mist over. They would sigh. "He was a good looking man," they said.
It's an interesting transition, from developer to Founder. It seems to involve, as Sally suggests in her chapter, the ability to conjure a compelling "dream." Today, despite a long and wandering trail, many Perry Park residents are living it.
LaRue's Views are his own.