Sunday, October 13, 2013

Standard-Examiner Book Release Special: "25th Street Confidential" - A Twenty-Fifth Street Tell-All

We do hope you'll all work one of these book-signings into your busy calenders

Hot off the press
We're delighted to call our readers' attention this morning's top-notch Standard-Examiner feature piece, wherein the Standard's Becky Wright lavishly touts long-time Weber County Forum reader Val Holley's new book, a labor-of-love which Weber County native Val has been feverishly researching for the past couple of years. Val's "25th Street Confidential" rolled off the presses this week; and Val will accordingly be visiting Ogden And Salt Lake City later in the week, to promote his latest literary achievement.

For starters, though, here's this morning's enticing Standard-Examiner writeup, via the Digital  Edition. Read up, folks:
We're also pleased to provide this helpful thumbnail overview, via Val's publisher, the University of Utah Press:
Generations of Ogdenites have grown up absorbing 25th Street’s legends of corruption, menace, and depravity. The rest of Utah has tended to judge Ogden—known in its first century as a “gambling hell” and tenderloin, and in recent years as a degraded skid row—by the street’s gaudy reputation. Present-day Ogden embraces the afterglow of 25th Street’s decadence and successfully promotes it to tourists. In the same preservationist spirit as Denver’s Larimer Square, today’s 25th Street is home to art galleries, fine dining, live theater, street festivals, mixed-use condominiums, and the Utah State Railroad Museum.

25th Street Confidential traces Ogden’s transformation from quiet hamlet to chaotic transcontinental railroad junction as waves of non-Mormon fortune seekers swelled the city’s population. The street’s outsized role in Ogden annals illuminates larger themes in Utah and U.S. history. Most significantly, 25th Street was a crucible of Mormon-Gentile conflict, especially after the non-Mormon Liberal Party deprived its rival, the People’s Party, of long-standing control of Ogden’s municipal government in 1889. In the early twentieth-century the street was targeted in statewide Progressive Era reform efforts, and during Prohibition it would come to epitomize the futility of liquor abatement programs.

This first full-length treatment of Ogden’s rowdiest road spotlights larger-than-life figures whose careers were entwined with the street: Mayor Harman Ward Peery, who unabashedly filled the city treasury with fees and fines from vicious establishments; Belle London, the most successful madam in Utah history; and Rosetta Ducinnie Davie, the heiress to London’s legacy who became a celebrity on the street, in the courts, and in the press. Material from previously unexploited archives and more than one hundred historic photos enrich this narrative of a turbulent but unforgettable street.
As set forth in Ms. Cairns' article, Val will be in town conducting book-signings between October 18 and October 23, at various convenient local venues, which we'd characterize as must-attend events for Ogden City history buffs:

Standard-Examiner 10/13/13

If for some reason you can't make it to any of these events (maybe a broken leg, or something like that,) Val's book is also available online from the University of Utah Press, (and Amazon.Com,) of course.You'll also find the latter link in our WCF left sidebar.

Your blogmeister will of course be adding this new historical tour-de-force to his own Ogden City history library, and we trust that all other self respecting Ogden history wonks will follow suit. We do hope you'll all work one of these book-signings into your busy calenders however, as Val is an Ogden-lover second to none, and a bright, witty and congenial fellow, with whom a face-to-face meetup ought to be on every fellow Ogden-lover's bucket list, wethinks.

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