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Picturing Harrisonburg

Visions of a Shenandoah Valley City since 1828
David Ehrenpreis. Foreword by Kenneth E. Koons

BUY Cloth · 300 pp. · 9 × 11 · ISBN 9781938086502 · $39.95 · Sep 2017

Foreword Book of the Year Award - Gold Medal Regional Nonfiction, Foreword Magazine (2018)

Picturing Harrisonburg provides the most vibrant examination available of the history of the Virginia city, once a frontier town founded in the 1730s but now a burgeoning city centrally located in one of America’s most beloved, historic, and beautiful regions—the Shenandoah Valley. Taking advantage of the rich visual record of Harrisonburg, the book serves as a model for how pictures of every kind reveal and represent a community’s evolving ideals and aspirations that change over time.

Editor David Ehrenpreis and a cast of contributors that includes historians and other experts on the region have organized six illuminating essays around 258 illustrations, many in full color, to discuss Harrisonburg’s changing built environment, its iconic "places of memory," and how ideal visions of the place were often at odds with the lived reality. Their captivating essays and visual presentations begin in 1828 and include town maps and plans, a pivotal 1867 panoramic oil painting of Harrisonburg, early twentieth-century postcards, mid-twentieth century documentary and commercial photographs, images of "urban renewal," and the graphic designs, logos, and digital photographs pertaining to the twenty-first-century city. The innovative approach of Picturing Harrisonburg offers a new model for understanding the past and present of the places we inhabit.

Distributed for George Thompson Publishing


Picturing Harrisonburg illustrates many examples that will benefit city and regional planners, urban designers, architects, and landscape architects as well as citizens engaged in local governance. The book presents a wealth of information that can produce wisdom about how we envision, construct, and remember our communities.

Frederick Steiner, Dean and Paley Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Design

What a beautiful coffee-table book! Yet it is so much more than that. Arranged chronologically, it tells the history of the city in many voices and many dimensions.

Appalachian Mountain Books

Harrisonburg has been a vital agricultural, commercial and political center since its founding as a frontier town in the 18th century.... A new book by Dr. David Ehrenpreis presents a visual record of the city's evolution.... Tracing how visions of a place shift over time can reveal a community's values, says Ehrenpreis. And 'while Harrisonburg has a unique history and distinct character well-known to Virginians,' he explains, 'the challenges and problems it has confronted over time are common and familiar regionally and nationwide.'

Virginia Living

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