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New book on Rhododendron a 'labor of love' for the authors posted on 08/01/2021

In researching the book he wrote with his wife, “Images of America: Rhododendron,” Steve Graeper learned about some of the unique characters who helped make the community special. One was Ethel Gallagher, who was known for dressing to the nines, dancing at the Log Lodge and serving breakfast at her cafe with curlers in her hair.

“That’s so typical of Rhododendron,” Graeper said. “I wish I knew Ethel Gallagher.”

The book offers seven chapters and 127 pages on the community, featuring stories and a bevy of historical photographs throughout the years.

Graeper noted that during the process of compiling photos and stories, he and his wife, Judi, were concerned they did not have enough photographs. But once they started working on the layout, he had to pare back from the more than 250 photographs they planned on using.

“That was kind of sad,” Graeper said. “What pictures do we pull, what pictures do we keep; that editing process was tough. Hopefully we kept the best.”

The book will be available at the Rhododendron Centennial +1 celebration (see story on Page 1 for more details), while Graeper also hopes to have it for sale at Mountain businesses in the near future. A limited number of autographed copies are also available for $25.

Graeper offered his thanks to Mary Carol Day and Leslie Phillips for their help in editing the book.

“We couldn’t have done it without them,” he said.

Graeper added that proceeds from the sales will benefit the Rhododendron Community Planning Oragnization.

“It was a labor of love for both my wife and my standpoint,” he said. “We’re very very pleased with how it turned out. We hope the community is as well. We didn’t do it for ourselves, we did it for the community.”

To order a copy, please email Rhodycpo@gmail.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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