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SMITH COLUMN: New book to add to my big three

Having preceded the computer era — when I reflect back, I have to say the days of the typewriter weren’t so bad — it took a long time before the habit of reaching for the dictionary to look up the spelling of a word was broken.

I must confess that it is quite efficient to hit that box at the bottom of the computer screen and let Monsieur Google connect you with spellings, definitions, pronunciations, synonyms, antonyms, order you a pizza or book you a flight to Kathmandu . 

The computer is downright remarkable, but I have reference books which I refer to frequently and prefer to thumb through the pages and enjoy the smile which that exercise brings about.

Several years ago, I discovered a book “Georgia Place Names,” written by one Kenneth Krakow. It has been a favorite for many years.  Krakow drove about the 159 counties in our state and researched the origin of the names of every town and many communities in Georgia.

Not even the Internet is as good as what Mr. Krakow set forth in this delightful reference book, published in 1975. The Internet is all business.  Krakow researched with feeling and passion and chronicled insightful factoids and vignettes.

Yes, there is a Chitin Switch in Georgia. Also, a Santa Claus, Bethlehem, Rising Fawn, Loco, Summit-Graymont, Sasser, Pooler, Pocataligo, Climax, Attapulgus and Roopville.

I keep this book handy and nearby is Larry Dendy’s fine book on all the buildings on the University of Georgia campus. A longtime editor-writer with the UGA News Bureau, Dendy’s book, “Through the Arch,” an illustrated guide to the University of Georgia campus, is overfllowing with cogent details and illuminating history. This is a book which I often reach for —sometimes just to feel good about the campus.

Now I am adding a third one, bringing about a “Big Three” in my referenc nook. 

Gary Doster, who is a native of Athens, has come out with another book, “Athens Streets and Neighborhoods.” Even those who are not residents of the Classic City, can enjoy the information which he has compiled.

After all, if any city belongs to the state of Georgia at large, it would be Athens since the entire state is connected to the University of Georgia in one fashion or other. If you spend time here on football Saturdays, you may have found a side street between two major routes which longtime residents lack familiarity.

Doster’s indefatigable research has led to an insightful journey into Athens illustrious past. It is laced with amusing factoids as well as documenting the history of the Classic City.