This book is what is colloquially referred to as an “Arcadia Publication”, so called because it is part of the “Images of America” series of local history books published by Arcadia Publishing of Mount Pleasant, North Carolina. Each of the more than 7,000 books in this series follows an identical format and this one is no exception. It contains nearly 200 historical images of Cambria and the surrounding area and the local history is revealed in their captions.
Its author, Wayne Attoe, has lived in Cambria for two decades and, for many years, was president of Greenspace – The Cambria Land Trust so it is not surprising that two of the six chapters are primarily devoted to the Monterey pine forest that makes Cambria such a remarkable place. Wayne has done his research, consulting many local historians as well as several eminent institutions of history such as The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. He has assembled an amazing array of historical images from a variety of sources including The Cambria Historical Society, The History Center of San Luis Obispo County, and, in a few cases, this site.
This collection of images, together with their captions, touches on nearly every aspect of Cambria history and, in a few hours of reading, gives the reader an excellent feeling for what it was like to live in Cambria during various periods of the last 150 plus years and how our village came to be what it is today. The captions are very clearly written so that items of special interest in each photograph are easy to spot. Wayne has also done a superb job of identifying many of the historic individuals who are seen.
In both the images and the captions, Wayne has borrowed extensively from information contained in Historic Cambria, Treasures of the Past, a book written by local historian Dawn Dunlap and published by The Cambria Historical Society as a guide to a walking tour of twenty eight of Cambria’s historic buildings. Nonetheless, the two books are designed to serve two totally different purposes – one to serve as a walking tour guide and the other to portray the history of Cambria in a much fuller context.
Although we have read quite a few books about the history of Cambria and have done a lot of research on many topics, we still learned a lot from this book and so can you.
Images of America, Cambria can be purchased at The Cambria Historical Museum which is open Friday through Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 pm and Monday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and can be found at several retail shops throughout the area.