NEW MADRID - The Chamber of Commerce thinks New Madrid ought to be in pictures. A 98-page, hard-back picture book, to be exact.
The New Madrid Chamber has put out a call for those who have photographs of the people and places in and around New Madrid to bring these to the Chamber office, located in City Hall. The photos will be consider for inclusion in the book, "A Pictorial History of New Madrid, Missouri."
"This project would preserve the pictures and history of our community," said Margaret Palmer, executive director of the New Madrid Chamber of Commerce. "Everybody has a few photos and if we can make a collection we will be preserving history from everyone that we can share with each other."
The photos will be combined with a historical narrative to be compiled and edited by the Chamber. Palmer said those submitting photos should include as much information as possible about who, where, when and what is going on in the pictures.
Working with a company in Marceline, Palmer said the project is similar to those done by the printer for other communities. She has set up a display in her office for others to see what to expect by participating.
Often paging through the books, Palmer laughed and admitted she doesn't know any of those pictured but still enjoys looking. "It is like going back in time. I think it is a wonderful way to have something special," she said.
And by creating a book of images from New Madrid and the area, she and the Chamber boardmembers hope to create a keepsake for the community.
During the next few months, the Chamber will gather the photos. Palmer emphasized all contributors will be asked to write their names, addresses and phone numbers on the submitted photographs; the Chamber will return the photos when the book is completed. Also she pointed out those contributing photos do not have to buy a book to ensure the photos' inclusion.
Palmer said the book will include some 250 different photos but hopes the Chamber receives more than that in order to select a variety of pictures which will work best with the design.
"We want a collection of people, places and faces. If it is New Madrid, it will be considered," she promised. "And we hope some pictures surface that maybe no one has seen - something unique and different."
Among those who are already sifting through their photo collection is Leroy Nunn, a local photographer and Chamber member. One of his photos he plans to submit is of Main Street taken in 1897 during a flood. He has others taken in the early 1950s.
"I've got some that I don't know if it is what they want - there is one of Shap Hunter's old Standard Service Station that was taken before my time. ... I'll be searching through my files," he said.
While the book will be tool to preserve photos of the community, for Nunn it will also be a way to ensure the town's past is accurately remembered. "Not too long ago we were talking about what was next door to what - where the old post office was and there was a lot of discussion," recalled Nunn. With a photos from the past, he continued: "a lot of memories can be sifted up."
Deadline for submission of the photos is May 17.
The book will be printed on acid-free archival paper and bound in a format, similar to a high school yearbook. It should be ready by the fall of 2004 however the Chamber is already taking orders with a special advance price of $19.95, a $10 savings over the price if ordered later.
As the word is getting out about the project, Palmer said she is already taking orders. "We timed the arrival so it can make a great Christmas gift for children or those who no longer live here," said Palmer. "And yes, it is a fund-raiser but that isn't why we are doing it. We wanted to preserve the history, that is the main thing."
For more information about the book or submitting photographs contact Palmer at the Chamber office, 560 Mott St., or by calling 573-748-5300.