By Rebecca LaFlure
Killeen Daily Herald
It was the legendary sulfur springs that attracted Lampasas' first permanent settlers in 1853.
Texas pioneer Moses Hughes and his ill wife, Hannah, journeyed to the region after hearing rumors of the area's medicinal waters from Native Americans.
Hannah's health improved, and her recovery was credited to drinking and bathing in the springs. Others soon followed and settled throughout the region's wild Texas frontier.
The book "Images of America: Lampasas County," released Monday, offers a glimpse into the community's history through 128 pages of vintage photographs and captions spanning from the county's founding in 1856 to the early 1960s.
Compiled by the Lampasas County Museum Foundation, the paperback chronicles the area's natural resources and disasters, businesses, schools, architecture, and perhaps most intriguing – the people.
Amy Ellis McDaniel, president of the LCMF, authored the book along with Jane McMillin, a freelance writer and Lampasas native.
McDaniel said the idea for the photo-essay first developed in January 2008.
"We wanted to produce a book that would be affordable," she said. "We thought it would be a good idea for a souvenir, and also we knew there was a lot of interest in historic photographs in the area."
McDaniel said the photos were gathered from the Key Stone Square Museum, operated by the LCMF, as well as files from the Lampasas County Historical Commission and the private collections of local residents.
"It was all a matter of compiling things and deciding how to break up the book in a way that would be interesting, but also cover everything we wanted to cover," she said. "The biggest problem was cutting down photographs because we could only include so many."
McDaniel, who moved to Lampasas four years ago, said researching for the book was a fun way to rediscover unexpected pieces of the county's past.
"We found several smaller towns that don't exist anymore," she said. "When the railroad stopped going through those towns, they eventually faded away."
The book is a part of Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series.
McDaniel said she approached the company after seeing a number of its books profiling other areas in the United States.
With more than 4,000 titles to date, the series offers historical photo-essays to share and preserve communities across the nation.
"We look at certain things like population size, a sense of community pride, and if it's been there a long time so it has a rich history," said Kai Oliver-Kurtin, Arcadia publicity manager.
The book's sales profits will all benefit the Keystone Square Museum in Lampasas.
The books are available for $21.99 at local retailers, online bookstores and through Arcadia Publishing.
Contact Rebecca LaFlure at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 502-7475.