Kelly Julian holding a copy of her book, Plattsburgh, which is part of the “Images of America” series by Arcadia Publishing.
PLATTSBURGH — She subjected her children to historical narrations each time they passed through downtown Plattsburgh.
Those same children also waited patiently as she stopped to get better photos of historical markers.
At one point, she carpeted the floor with reference books.
But in the end, Kelly Julian produced the newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series: Plattsburgh. The book consists of more than 100 vintage images and memories of Plattsburgh as well as 50-70 word captions describing photos and the history of Plattsburgh.
“I received an email out of the blue a year and a half ago asking me for historic photos in the archive and whether I knew anyone interested in writing about Plattsburgh as part of the series they do nationwide,” Julian said. “I thought, ‘I can do that.’”
As a librarian at Plattsburgh Public Library she figured it would be a way to showcase the library’s collection.
She also used photographs from the Clinton County Historical Association’s collection with the help of Roger Black.
At first, Julian found it difficult sorting through the photographs and sort of felt like she was “blundering” through the collection to find what would work. But then it became easier to identify photos, and ultimately, she enjoyed sorting through the collections.
For example, it was clear a photo of Zephaniah Platt, who founded Plattsburgh in 1784, would be important.
She also wanted to share the military and commercial importance for more than 200 years of the city on the shores of Lake Champlain.
“I knew I wanted to include the industrial history of Plattsburgh and tourism,” Julian said. “You start digging into the history and discover this was a big place people wanted to come to.”
Plattsburgh’s waterways were important as they provided access to the St. Lawrence Seaway and Canada to the north and the Hudson Valley to the south. The location served to make the American victory at the Battle of Plattsburgh critical to America’s independence.
Plattsburgh further served as President William McKinley’s summer White House and hosted the Catholic Summer School of America.
“We had President Taft in a parade on Margaret Street,” Julian said.
The undertaking wasn’t without its setbacks, such as when Julian’s laptop died for three months.
At times, she wondered what she had gotten herself into.
“It took the better part of a year.”
In fact, it never really felt like it came together until a month after she turned in the manuscript.
Yet the project was, ultimately, fun, and Julian would like to do some more writing.
“I never thought I would do that.”
The book is available at www.arcadiapublishing.com, the Corner-Stone Book Shop in downtown Plattsburgh, Amazon, the Clinton County Historical Association, Battle of Plattsburgh War of 1812 Museum, Yandos and Barnes and Noble.
Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States.