Louisville, Ky. (August, 2012) The story of Louisville’s largest parks project, the nearly 4,000-acre Olmsted-inspired Parklands of Floyds Fork, comes to life on the pages of a new large-format book, A Landscape and Its Legacy: The Parklands of Floyds Fork. Edited by writer Dianne Aprile and designed by artist Julius Friedman, this 195-page, fully illustrated hardcover volume covers the rich history of the landscape, the colorful characters it produced and the innovative process that led to the creation of the Parklands by 21st Century Parks, the Louisville nonprofit responsible for its development.
Illustrated with full-color images by photographers Ted Wathen, John Nation and Bob Hower, the text features engaging essays by Aprile and dozens of lively portraits of Floyds Fork wildlife, plant life and landowners by naturalist Michael Gaige and former Courier-Journal columnist Bob Hill.
The book goes on sale on September 1, 2012 at local booksellers and online at www.theparklands.org or through the book distributor’s website at www.butlerbooks.com. A book signing is scheduled for Carmichael’s Bookstore (2720 Frankfort Avenue) on Saturday, September 1, at 4 p.m. The editor, designer, photographers, and contributors will be on hand for a discussion of The Parklands project. An additional book signing will be held at The Filson Historical Society with Dan Jones on the evening of Thurs. October 4, from 6-7:30 p.m.
“At a time when nurturing and preserving our connection to the natural world is clearly one of the most important issues facing us, this book not only offers stories of the historically rich, biologically abundant Floyds Fork watershed but also serves as an example to other cities looking for ways to enhance the quality of life for their communities,” Aprile said. “As a Louisville native and former local journalist, I was surprised to find there were so many fascinating layers to the Floyds Fork story. I was amazed by the exceptional people, places and natural features of this profoundly diverse landscape – vibrant elements of our local inheritance that I had not been aware of before researching this book.”
The book tells the story of Floyds Fork in three parts. The first section, Vistas, is a breathtaking introduction to the landscape, the natural history and the unique flora and fauna that make the Floyds Fork valley unique. From the Paleozoic fossils of the creek bed to the distinctive bark of the Eastern Sycamore, Michael Gaige provides the reader a taste of the depth and breadth of the natural resources found along Floyds Fork, and provides an introduction to the philosophy of interpretation that is known as “reading the landscape.”
The second section, Voices, is a compelling collection of Bob Hill’s stories about the people who have inhabited its valley, from the adventures of pioneer and namesake John Floyd to the contemporary stories of people from whom land was purchased. “Although the Parklands of Floyds Fork will provide an even greater future for Louisville, another part of its mission is to honor the river’s past, and its namesake, John Floyd,” said Hill. “Over the last four years I have been documenting that 240-year history while compiling the stories, oral histories and old photographs of families that grew up along Floyds Fork – some going back seven generations.”
Hill provides a peek into the lives of the Floyds Fork cultural history and honors the residents who made this place special. “I’ve re-discovered some long-lost secrets of Fisherville, Seatonville and Munchkinville, sifted through the charred remains of the Grosscurth Distillery and stalked the Pope Lick Monster,” he said. “History has never been this much fun.”
And finally, the third section, Vision, is the story of how The Parklands of Floyds Fork was created, from an ambitious dream to a world-class reality, by a remarkable combination of public-private partnership and dedicated civic leadership. “This is the vision that will keep Louisville the City of Parks for the next century,” said Chairman and CEO of 21st Century Parks, Dan Jones. “A project of this size could not be achieved without the help of many people, and perhaps its most striking characteristic is the strength of the partnerships that created it.”
Editor/writer Dianne Aprile teaches creative nonfiction on the faculty of Spalding University’s brief-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing program. She is the author of four books and editor of several journals and anthologies. She was an award-winning columnist for both The Courier Journal and Louisville Magazine and is the recipient of fellowships, grants, and residencies from the Kentucky Arts Council, the Kentucky Foundation for Women and Hedgebrook and the Artist Trust of Washington state, where she and her husband Ken Shapero now live.
Book designer Julius Friedman is a graphic designer, photographer, artist, and owner of the design firm Images, specializing in cultural, nonprofit, and corporate design. He co-owns Chapman Friedman Gallery, which represents contemporary regional, national and international artists. His works are included in the permanent collections of museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; the National Museum of Poster Art in Warsaw, Poland; and Louisville’s 21c Museum.
Bob Hill is collaborating with 21st Century Parks to document the history of Floyds Fork through recording the rich stories of the people who call it home. Hill has been an award-winning columnist and feature writer with The Courier-Journal newspaper for 25 years and has written books on topics as varied as crime mysteries, basketball, and gardening. His engaging essays of the people who inhabited the Fork valley bring the place and its culture alive on the pages. The Parklands project has captured the stories of the men and women who first cleared and settled the land, who built homes and raised generations of families on it and, in a sense, first preserved it for all of us. Bob and his wife Janet live in Utica, Indiana where they own and operate Hidden Hill Nursery.
Michael Gaige is a naturalist contracted by 21st Century Parks to create an extensive interpretive inventory of The Parklands’ rich and diverse landscapes. He received a B.A in Natural History and Ecology from Prescott College in Arizona as well as a M.S. in Conservation Biology from Antioch University New England. His unique way of thinking about the natural world and of reading the landscape have contributed to his identification of over 400 special places in The Parklands. His delightful stories of the flora and fauna of Floyds Fork provide the reader a deeper understanding of this area and its natural history.
The book features work by Louisville-based photographers Bob Hower, Ted Wathen, and John Nation. The selection of photographs from across the Floyds Fork watershed range in season and landscape, and are pulled from the collection of more than 2,000 images the photographers have captured over the past four years of documenting the more than 60 properties purchased for the project and before construction of The Parklands.
Bob Hower began his photographic career while at Middlebury College where he earned a B.A. in American Literature in 1968 and did subsequent postgraduate photographic study at Harvard and M.I.T. His work is included in the collections of the National Collection of Fine Arts, the International Center of Photography, and the Museum of Modern Art.
Ted Wathen has been a photographer since 1967 and earned a B.A. in history from the University of Virginia and an M.F.A. in photography from the University of Florida. In the 1970s, Ted founded the Kentucky Documentary Photographic Project and was a principal photographer for the President’s Commission on Coal. His work has been exhibited at the George Eastman House, the International Center of Photography, and the White House.
John Nation received his Bachelor of Arts degree in drawing and painting from the University of Louisville. He began photography while he was in the U.S. Navy at NAS Pensacola’s Naval School of Photography. For the past 30 years, John worked as a photographer for Louisville Magazine. He also worked as a freelance photographer during his time with the magazine. He has been published regionally, nationally and internationally in many magazines and books including Time, Nation’s Business, Food Arts, and Landscape Architecture, and many more. He has won numerous awards for photography, including being a repeated winner as Society of Professional Journalists’ Best Regional Magazine Photographer.
About 21st Century Parks:
21st Century Parks, established in 2004, is responsible for fundraising, land acquisition, construction, operations and maintenance of The Parklands of Floyds Fork. The new, 4,000-acre parks system is comprised of four parks linked by a park drive, a world-class urban trail system and a 22-mile water trail, all tracing Floyds Fork, a classic Kentucky stream. In addition to numerous planned community spaces, The Parklands will preserve 80 percent of the land in natural habitat.
Hardcover, with a full-color dust jacket
Dimensions – 12” x 10”
Number of pages – 195 full-color pages
ISBN# – 978-0-615431-46-8
Case quantity –10/box