Do you remember when the Elkin Junior Chamber of Commerce held a beauty pageant every year starting in 1961? Or when “Affectionately Yours” was the first movie shown at the Reeves Theatre in 1941?
These are just a couple topics of many featured in Jason Couch’s book “Images of America: Elkin” that is now for sale.
Couch’s book on Elkin’s history was born from a postcard collection.
Couch started collecting Elkin postcards that date back to the pre-1930s. As Couch continued to collect the cards, he wanted to learn more about Elkin’s history.
“I have always been interested in the local history and started collecting historical artifact,” he said. “It all began when I was researching my family genealogy and the history of my grandparents who both worked for the Chatham Mill.”
Couch has written two privately published books on his family’s history. The history of Elkin was published through Arcadia Publishing Company as part of their Images of America series. Arcadia publishes books about American history. The Images of America series showcases the history of small towns and downtown areas.
Writers interested in chronicling their town’s history go through an application process; giving qualifications from writing the book, references and why anyone would want to read a book about an area.
Couch has been interested in writing a book on Elkin since he first saw the Arcadia books. Boone and Blowing Rock are the only two areas close to Elkin that have had books published by Arcadia.
“I was able to get through the application process and signed a contract with Arcadia,” he said. “I had six months to get my material together and another six months to write the book. It’s been a year long process to get the book done.”
The book covers Elkin’s history from 1885 to 1964. A few of the chapter topics include:
• Religion in the area
• Artists and founding fathers
• Elkin and Alleghany Railway
•The Chatham Mill
Over 1,000 people are represented in the book through 226 images, Couch said.
“I did a lot of research on local topics. This isn’t going to replace the 1989 centennial book, which is excellent,” he said. “This is going to be a pictorial supplement that will add to the information in that book.”
Many of the images used in the book were loaned to Couch from people in the community.
“I had enough material myself to only make half of a book. Everyone who shared information and photos with me made the book better and gave it a lot of variety,” he said. “People have been so good to me with their willingness to share.”
The idea for the book was to give Elkin a face and get more people to visit the area. It is something Couch hopes visitors will take with them and share.
“We have a rich history and a lot to be proud,” Couch said. “I hope this is something people can enjoy, use to remember and learn from.”
“Images of America: Elkin” will be for sale in Elk Pharmacy for $21.99.
Couch would like to thank everyone who loaned photos and shared history with him.