NWC faculty and staff contribute to book

A new book about the history of Orange City—developed by Northwestern College history professor Doug Anderson, library director Tim Schlak, systems librarian Greta Grond and student Sarah Kaltenbach—has been completed and is available for pre-order at Amazon.com. “Orange City” is part of the “Images of America” series by Arcadia Publishing and is scheduled for release on April 14, 2014. It will be sold at a variety of local retailers this spring.

“My idea for the book came from seeing another Arcadia Publishing book about Chadron, Neb.,” says Anderson. “I saw it in an Omaha bookstore a few years ago, and noted that the authors were a Chadron State College faculty member and some of his students.” After deciding to write a similar book about Orange City, Anderson approached Schlak and Grond for their assistance. “They know Northwestern’s archives, and they know the ins and outs of archival photographs and digitization.” Once they were both on board, Anderson’s student assistant, Kaltenbach, also began work on the project.

“There were a lot of processes involved with the writing of the book—gathering photographs, verifying facts, writing captions, arranging things in a sensible order, digitizing materials,” says Grond. “One of my favorite parts of the process was tracking down images by visiting people and businesses to see their materials.  I enjoyed connecting with them and hearing their memories about Orange City.”   

The 128-page paperback includes information on the city’s founding in 1869 as a colony of Dutch-Americans who migrated from Pella, Iowa, under the leadership of Henry Hospers. Within five years, the city had railroad connections, was the seat of Sioux County and circulated a weekly Dutch-language newspaper. Other topics include the creation and maturity of Northwestern College and the annual Tulip Festival.

The book includes approximately 240 photos showing such things as the Sioux County Courthouse, Northwestern Classical Academy and early townscape. “The book is a pictorial history, and I imagine readers will be drawn to the photographs,” says Grond.  “I hope people with ties to Orange City enjoy reminiscing over these photographs, remembering how Orange City used to look and comparing it to today.”

Anderson hopes the book will act as a step toward developing a center for regional studies. “Even before the idea of the book itself took shape, I and others at Northwestern had been seeking to gain support for a center for regional studies here at the college,” says Anderson. “I hope the book shows that the academic mission of the college can have practical fruit for this place, and that the book can also stimulate further engagement with this place in Christ.”

All profits from the sale of the book will benefit Northwestern’s DeWitt Library. “All four authors embody how the book is a Northwestern product,” says Anderson. “It was written with the hope that it serves the immediate surrounding community, and the larger region, in understanding the town of Orange City better than before.”