A new locally authored book is giving readers a chance to see historic images of Rutherford County and Murfreesboro for the first time.
Oaklands Historic House Museum was originally built in the 1800s but had fallen into disrepair by the 1959. A group of local women petitioned the city to save the home, which was restored to its former glory.
Proceeds from the sale of “Murfreesboro, Then & Now” will benefit Read To Succeed’s adult literacy program.
The project began as an effort to add historic negatives of local buildings, people and landscapes to the Rutherford County Archives.
Local photographer Bill Shacklett and Rutherford County Archivist John Lodl worked together to catalog more than 13,000 images previously housed at Shacklett’s Photography.
The images date back to the Civil War and include photographs taken by Shacklett’s father, Richard “Dick” Shacklett, who began his career as a photographer’s apprentice while in high school during the 1930s.
After serving in World War II, Dick Shacklett returned to Murfreesboro and opened his own photography studio, which is now operated by son, Bill, and daughter, Gloria Shacklett-Christy.
In addition to the photos taken personally by the senior Shacklett, the collection included thousands of historic photographs that were restored in his studio over the years.
The images have never before been published, and Lodl thought they should be included in a book.
“Arcadia Publishing came sniffing around the archive one day looking for some local history that could be published, and I ran the idea by them,” Lodl said. “I talked to Bill and Gloria and they thought it would be a great idea.
“I thought it would be a great way to recognize my father’s work on the 75th anniversary of Shacklett’s Photography,” Shacklett said. “Gloria (Christy) helped provide historical sketches and perspectives for the images, as well.”
Shacklett suggested that the book include current photographs of the buildings and landscapes from exactly the same perspectives, and he personally took these photographs.
According to Shacklett, the aerial shots were nearly impossible to reproduce exactly, and some of the original shots were taken from buildings that no longer stand, but most were able to be reproduced perfectly.
For Lodl, rare images of Campus School while under construction and the burning of McFadden School proved most interesting.
“I was walking around the MTSU campus one day trying to figure out which building was pictured in this one image when I realized it was the Campus School,” he said. “And the burning of McFadden is a very rare image that we originally thought was the burning of Central High School… most folks think of the Central fire when the subject of a school fire comes up.”
“The images of Union University on East Main Street and the original Church of Christ on East Main have never been published before,” Lodl added.
The books can be purchased at City Café, The Country Gourmet, Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce on Medical Center Parkway, and any local book store.
Additional stores can request copies for retail sales.
Book signings are scheduled for 2 p.m. March 18, at the Chamber of Commerce and at 1 p.m. on April 22 at Linebaugh Library.
“I hope the book creates conversations about our community...about how its grown and changed, and where we’re going.” Shacklett said. “Murfreesboro is a wonderful community worthy of conversation.”