The Town of Danville decided early on that it wanted to produce a history book in honor of its 150th birthday this year. "Vintage Danville: 150 Years of Memories" will be hot off the presses at its debut June 28 at the library, the first chance for folks to see it plus get it signed by authors Beverly Lane and Laura Grinstead.
"It's really a nice combination of coffee table book and rich history of the Valley," said Mayor Candace Andersen. "It combines Beverly's historical background, her knowledge of Valley history, and the wonderful photo archives that she and Ralph (Cozine) have put together."
Donning Co. Publishers were in the area in 2006 talking up book ideas with historical societies and museums.
"They were seeing if we wanted to do something for Danville turning 25," said Lane, who is curator of the Museum of the San Ramon Valley. Danville was incorporated in 1982 and Lane was elected to its first Town Council.
But Lane had a better idea. She knew the Kiwanis of San Ramon Valley and the museum were planning a huge Hay Days and 150th birthday celebration for Danville in July 2008 and thought a book could tie in beautifully with that.
She mentioned it to Andersen, who was in line to be mayor for the sesquicentennial.
"I said, 'This is a fantastic idea, we should pursue it,'" recalled Andersen.
She got the particulars from the publisher and presented them to the other council members and Town Manager Joe Calabrigo.
Lane seemed like the perfect choice to author the new book. She and Cozine had found historic photographs and written captions for "San Ramon Valley: Alamo, Danville, and San Ramon" for the Museum in 2005, part of the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing.
But Lane already found herself overextended; in addition to her museum work, which includes a historic column for the Danville Weekly, she is an elected director of East Bay Regional Park District.
"I said I could do it if we had another writer," recalled Lane.
She also saw the value of bringing a new perspective to the project.
Museum docent Betty Joyce suggested her daughter, Laura Grinstead, who's lived in Danville almost 20 years, and whose three children are pretty much raised. Grinstead has a journalism degree from University of Southern California and works in corporate communications.
"I thought it sounded intriguing," said Grinstead. "With my three kids in the school programs, we would come down and see every new exhibit."
She also knew that Lane would be a good mentor.
"She embraced me as a partner," Grinstead said.
"This way we had two different generations of writers and two different generations of Danville," noted Lane.
The call went out to residents of the San Ramon Valley to loan old photographs and share their stories, and "Team Vintage Danville" combed the archives of local museums and newspapers.
"Because we were getting so much volunteer support from the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, the town decided we would front the cost of the book," said Andersen. "After we get repaid, profits will go to the Museum. It will also be the primary place selling the book."
Three thousands copied are being printed and the book sells for $35.
"We wanted to set a price that would make it affordable," said Andersen.
Team Vintage Danville included Ralph Cozine, who produced the photographs; and Vic Georgiou, who proofed and advised on the text. They also helped proofread as did Tom Grinstead, Marillyn Cozine and Jim Lane. The main photographers - besides all those unknowns whose olden day pictures and snapshots made it into the book - were Jeff Mason, Doug Aiten, Ralph Cozine, Georgiou, Bob Russel and Stacey Hartmann, plus some by Bill Hockins.
"We feel we have created a keepsake that every Danville resident will want in their personal library," said Grinstead.
The book will be available July 1 at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, at the corner of Railroad and Prospect avenues in Danville, as well as at the launch June 28. It may also be ordered on the town Web site: www.ci.danville.ca.us.
Grinstead said she learned Danville does indeed offer a fairytale life - community, core values and beliefs woven into the fabric of the town life.
"I learned that all of this is rooted in the integrity and virtue of the people in Danville history," she said. "Early pioneers … cared for each other in all circumstances, demonstrating loyalty and a generous spirit."
150 years in a package
What: "Vintage Danville: 150 Years of Memories" debut
Special: Buy the book ($35); meet the authors; meet "historic characters"; Sesquicentennial Quilt by artist Cyndy Rymers on display
When: 7 p.m., Saturday, June 28
Where: Danville library, 400 Front St.
Cost: $25 donation benefits the Danville Library Foundation