Book funds approved

Published 10:37 am Tuesday, December 15, 2015

WINTON – After years of effort it appears an architectural book detailing the rich history of Hertford County will finally go to press.

At their meeting last week, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners agreed unanimously to expend $36,660 in contingency funding to offset the printing costs associated with the 362 page book – “West of the Chowan: The Historical Architecture of Hertford County, North Carolina.

The hard-bound book is the effort of the Murfreesboro Historic Commission (MHC). Through the use of 500-plus photographs, the publication will document the historical significance of approximately 300 buildings representing homes, schools, farm buildings, businesses and churches from the 18th century until post World War II. A few of these important buildings are no longer standing today.

The book will cover all six townships in Hertford County Ahoskie, Cofield, Como, Harrrellsville, Murfreesboro and Winton.

“We feel that the citizens of Hertford County will indeed be proud of this work. We, the Murfreesboro Historic Commission, are extremely grateful for your decision to help fund this worthy project,” said Erin Faile, a member of the MHC.

Faile was accompanied at Monday morning’s meeting by MHC colleague John Parker.

“Through private donations, we have raised $33,000 to get us to this point. The $36,660 we’re asking from the commissioners will complete the project, to include all printing costs,” Parker explained to the commissioners.

The upfront costs ($33,000) Parker referenced covered pre-press items such as art production (preparing photos, maps and line art), text design, and page composition.

The printing costs ($36,660) encompassed typesetting, copyediting, production coordination, cover design, and printing 1,000 books. The latter is the “big ticket” item at nearly $12,000.

“You have done a wonderful job in collecting the historical information of Hertford County,” said newly elected Commission Chairman Ronald Gatling to the two MHA representatives.

Parker went on to explain to the commissioners that each library in the county, to include those at local churches, would receive a free copy of the book. Other free books will be distributed to non-profit entities in the county with the remainder offered for sale to the public at $45-to-$50 per book. He said the money raised from the sale of the books would be set aside by the MHA to invest in ongoing and new projects.

“We’re not expecting to generate a lot of money from selling the books, but what we do raise will be reinvested into our local communities,” Parker stressed.

Faile said MHA stepped to the plate to tackle this enormous project at the urging of state officials for each of North Carolina’s 100 counties to take inventory and document its respective historical properties.

“It’s been a three-year process for us, starting with finding and hiring an author, editor, and architectural historian to produce this collection,” Faile remarked.

J. Daniel Pezzoni was the choice of the MHA to serve in the aforementioned capacities. He has previously performed similar work for Watauga County (2009), Halifax County (2010), and Chowan County.

Faile stated that the book will include historical photos and information that is now only available at the N. C. Department of Archives and History.

“The work will stimulate interest in early architecture and serve as a document to preserve the history of our county for the future,” Faile wrote in a Letter to the Editor published in the Dec. 5 edition of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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