Local Books Celebrate Plymouth

“Plymouth Then & Now”

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Born and raised in Plymouth, Dan Rapoza is a self-taught photographer known for capturing dynamic wedding images, band photographs and family portraits. Fueled by a love for his hometown and an interest in local history, Rapoza published a photography book last year, titled “Plymouth Then & Now,”  (Wicked Whale Publishing, 2019). The book offers a rare glimpse at how the passage of time has shaped America’s Hometown.

Rapoza first came up with the idea for his photography project over 10 years ago. Armed with a handful of black-and-white photographs depicting various buildings and street scenes, he set out to take photographs at the exact same locations. The trick, he discovered, was figuring out the correct vantage point. Rapoza worked hard to determine where the photographer of the historical images must have been standing, and aimed to achieve the same sense of perspective in his photographs. He shot most of his images in spring and late fall, when the trees were bare, in order to make sure his sightlines were correct. 

Flipping through his book, readers can compare images of recognizable buildings, such as the historic Sparrow House on Summer Street, and Plymouth’s Central Fire Station, which is now the location of the restaurant Sam Diego’s. One of Rapoza’s favorite images graces the book’s cover. The photograph of Bramhall’s Country Store dates to the 1890s. The 1750-era saltbox structure has been many things over the years, including a cobbler’s shop, carpentry barn and one of the first post offices in the United States. The store was founded in 1828 by the great-great-great-great grandfather of the present-day owners. In the book, a historical photograph of Bramhall’s shows a horse-drawn carriage parked outside the store. But seeing the image alongside Rapoza’s modern-day photograph, it is clear that the structure itself has remained relatively unchanged. 

“Plymouth Then & Now” offers a fun jaunt through history, shedding light on the way things once were, while revealing how much had stayed the same. Copies of the book can be purchased at several local retailers, including Bradford’s Liquors, Pioppi’s Liquors and The Pretentious Pickle Company, to name a few, as well as on Rapoza’s website, rapozaphoto.com.

“Goodnight Plymouth”

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The owner of Windemere Gift & Book Shoppe, Bill Burnett, recently teamed up with illustrator Terry Kole on a beautiful board book, titled “Goodnight Plymouth.” Burnett and Kole previously worked together on a few other children’s books, but this project held a special place in both of their hearts. 

Burnett has fond memories of Plymouth from his childhood—back in the 50s, his father owned a doughnut shop on Court Street, just a few doors down from where his bookshop is now located. Kole, a longtime resident of Bourne, now lives in Rhode Island, but has been teaching art classes at Plymouth’s Center for the Arts for the past 10 years. 

“For me, and many people who have moved away from Plymouth, this is not just a sweet children’s book to help little ones get sleepy,” says Kole. “It’s a keepsake. Each page and location holds so many memories for me.”

The concept for “Goodnight Plymouth” was born in the late summer of 2019. Knowing that the town was gearing up to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s arrival, Burnett began sketching out ideas for a children’s book that would honor this theme. He began sending Kole sketches of ideas in early September, who then set to work painting the book’s cover and tweaking it as Burnett gave input. “I always paint the cover of the book first as it often informs how I will tackle the rest of the book,” says Kole, who used craft acrylics and high-quality watercolor paper to create a colorful depiction of the Plymouth waterfront for the book’s cover. 

Burnett’s story takes readers on sightseeing tour of America’s Hometown and Kole’s vibrant artwork puts a whimsical spin on some of Plymouth’s iconic sites, such as the Mayflower II, which is depicted flying through the sky. To pick up a copy of “Goodnight Plymouth,” contact Bill Burnett at 508-269-4419, or visit the shop at 2 Court St., Plymouth (call for hours: 508- 830-1133), windemeregifts.com.

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