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Local historian pours heart into compilation of 'Dallas'

DALLAS -- Sue Rohde was named Dallas' unofficial "town historian" in 2008. She's been busy collecting old photos, researching influential people and recording significant events ever since.

Sue Rohde spent two years compiling photos and their stories for "Dallas," one of more than 6,000 local histories in Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series.

Photo by Pete Strong

Sue Rohde spent two years compiling photos and their stories for "Dallas," one of more than 6,000 local histories in Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series.

December 11, 2012

DALLAS -- Sue Rohde was named Dallas' unofficial "town historian" in 2008. She's been busy collecting old photos, researching influential people and recording significant events ever since.

Her title may be unofficial, but it seems appropriate she's put her research in a book about the history of Dallas.

The book entitled "Dallas" is set for release Monday and is part of Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series.

Rohde said she worked on the book for two years but in reality has been collecting stories her entire life. Her first source -- and likely the spark of her interest in local history -- was her father, Delbert Hunter.

"Dad grew up here and he was always interested in Dallas history," she said. "He was always telling stories about old Dallas. After I retired I just thought it was something that I should spend some time on."

She has. Rohde has been putting together a Dallas timeline and gathering information for a website, which she hopes to complete soon now that her book is finished.

Rohde and local author Debra Lea Meaghers cowrote "Dallas," one of more than 6,000 titles in the "Images of America" series. Books in the series show the history of small towns and downtowns across the country through historic photos. Other local titles include West Salem, Salem and McMinnville.

For "Dallas," Rohde spent most of her time compiling pictures and the stories behind them. Meaghers, who has coauthored two other books in the series, helped Rohde select photos and write captions.

Rohde said while researching Dallas' major milestones and powerful figures was fascinating, she was more interested in the stories of those only local people would recall.

"Early in the book, those people (who settled Dallas), history buffs would know them," Rohde said. "What I enjoyed was taking names of people I heard growing up and telling their stories."

One such figure was John Grant, who served as city marshal in the 1880s and 1890s. As improbable as it seems, he shot himself in the ankle when attempting to pull a handkerchief out of his pocket. His revolver fell out of the same pocket, fell on the ground and fired.

"He was meticulous, but he seemed to be accident prone," Rohde said.

Ever the historian, Rohde hopes the book will jog people's memories about forgotten stories or long-buried photos.

"I just hope everyone who reads it enjoys it," she said. "Maybe it will spark their interest ... I would really like to collect more about Dallas."

Rohde said book signings at local businesses will be scheduled soon. "Dallas" will be available on Monday to order online at www.arcadiapublishing.com or by calling 1-888-313-2665.

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