A Tale Of Three Books – At Once

From The Heart Of Ohio

A Tale

Of Three Books

– At Once


.Lately we have taken on a project that we not only do not like very much, but also would not recommend, namely reading more than one book at a time. Although the he-we would often be reading more than one book, we have never been a fan of doing so. However, due to an interesting set of circumstances, we found ourselves doing just that.
Not long ago, James M. McPherson’s “Battle Cry of Freedom, The Civil War Era” was next up in our pile of books to be read. So we commenced to reading it. But, no sooner had we started the Civil War book, when we were informed by our local bookstore, Paragraphs, that “Once Upon a Time at the Opera House: Drama at Three Historic Michigan Theaters, 1882-1928,” by James Berton Harris had come in.
And since the opera house book was written by not only a good friend, but also a colleague during our time at both the University of Michigan and Boston University, we decided to postpone the Civil War book and take up the opera house book.
Unfortunately, given not only the shape, but also the weight, of the opera house book, we found we were unable to read it during our daily two 30-minute times riding the exercise bike. Thus we decided we would read the opera book while enjoying our morning coffee and return to the Civil War book while exercising.
Having settled quite nicely into this reading routine, our granddaughter arrived with yet another book, “Ariel-Foundation Park” by Aaron J. Keirns, which she had promised to share with us. So we put aside the Civil War book in favor of the book on the Ariel-Foundation Park.
Fortunately, we did manage to keep all the books straight. We also discovered that all three books greatly added to our understanding of their various subjects.

From the Civil War to opera houses to local history, our columnist found herself reeling

While the opera house book focuses on three opera houses in Michigan, it also presented a most interesting accounting of the importance of opera houses in the entertainment opportunities afforded over the years to residents, most particularly those in rural areas of the country.
In addition to specific
details about the opera houses, the book also covers such topics as minstrel shows; vaudeville; moving pictures; popular plays, including ethnic plays and personalities; and musicals. There is also a section on “Stars of the Stage.”
All in all, it was a great read and included many interesting pictures and
certainly gave us a comprehensive understanding of the opera houses that existed in the late 1800s and the early 1900s.
The book about the Ariel-Foundation Park includes a fabulous history of the various industries located over the years in Knox County, Ohio. In talking about how local resources influenced the industry, it was pointed out, “Of all of Knox County’s resources, natural gas may have played the most important role in fueling the area’s early industrial growth.”
Natural gas was first discovered in Knox County when several oil wells were drilled in 1868. And it has played an important role in the industry located in Mount Vernon, Knox County’s only city, to
this day.

And finally, in only 862 pages, the Civil War book not only covers the war itself but also the fascinating
history leading up to the war. We found the chapters on the two decades before the war to be particularly interesting as they presented very clearly the division in the country at that time. It was a division that unfortunately could not be healed by peaceful means and thus led to the Civil War.
We hasten to note that not only have we survived our reading of multiple books, at the same time, we have also decided that all three of the books most definitely added to our goal of embracing lifelong learning. Of course, we must admit that we are not certain they will help our goal of lifelong remembering. Consequently,
we will most definitely keep the books in the family should we need to refer to them in the future.

PLEASE NOTE: Comments regarding this column may be made by mail to 125 Colonial Woods Drive, Mt. Vernon, OH 43050, by telephone at 740-993-0603 or by e-mail at cellsworth47@icloud.com.

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