Niles once upon a time

Published 9:33 pm Thursday, April 14, 2005

By By RANDI K. PICKLEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES - A new book has been created both from and about the City of Niles. It is a joint effort between the Niles District Library and the Fort St. Joseph Museum.
The book, titled "Once Upon A River: A Children's History of Niles" is authored by over 12 writers including Darlene Jackson, children's librarian, and Carol Bainbridge, director of the Fort St. Joseph Museum, who are co-chairs for the project. Eight editors and two artists round out the production staff.
The cover of the book is a full color chronological journey through the history of Niles, from the original Indian tribes at one end to the amphitheater and the train depot with locomotive at the other end. In between are Fort St. Joseph, the town itself, and the Chapin Mansion.
The artist who painted the scene especially for "Once Upon A River's" cover is Janet Seaman of Niles, who also provided artwork for the first page of each chapter.
Jackson said of the book, "Third graders study local history each year, but when they came to the library to find a book, we had nothing appropriate to offer them. All the books on Niles were written for adults."
Bainbridge also saw a need for the book. "The museum has a wonderful collection of artifacts and information about the history of Niles. We are always looking for ways to make it available to children, and the book is a great way to do that," she said.
The book project has been almost two years in the making. A teaching guide for each chapter was also created as a supplement to the book.
Funding for the project was provided in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The teaching guide for "Once Upon A River" is funded by the Friends of the Niles District Library.
A special presentation will kick off the book's presentation to the public tonight beginning at 7 p.m. at the library.
Some of the authors and artists are expected to be in attendance.
While the teaching guide is presently available, the book may be ordered. The cost of the book is $15.