By Donna Oblander
- A new book written by Visalia resident George Pilling offers an intimate,
sidewalk-level view of the city.
“A Walk around Visalia,” a 98-page book highlights nine specific walks around the city, with detailed information about homes, buildings, plants and trees, and a map of each walk. The history behind many of the locations is also included in the descriptions. Beautiful color photos of Visalia adorn nearly every page.
Author and former Arizonan Pilling moved to Visalia in 1985 and has lived in Tulare County since 1976.
From 1985 to 1990 Pilling worked as the children's librarian for the Tulare County Library. He currently works for Visalia Unified School District as the district librarian for grades K-6.
The walks featured in the book were originally published in a series of columns titled “Walk Around Visalia” in the Valley Voice in 1993. Pilling said he tackled the subject because of his curiosity about Visalia and love of the city. “Visalia is beautiful and has lots of history,” he said.
Alan George of the Tulare County Historical Society encouraged Pilling to apply for a $500 grant from the organization to help publish the book. “I had thought about putting the walks in a book, but Alan really pushed me,” said Pilling.
The book, published by Visalia-based Sound Stories, took about five years to complete, said Pilling, who re-wrote the Valley Voice newspaper stories substantially for the book, re-walking the routes and taking many photos. Pilling said the newspaper articles did not include pictures, but with the convenience of digital photography, the book contains many pictures of the area. Some historical pictures are also included.
Pilling noted that many of the sights seen on the walks are constantly changing. “Houses are torn down, trees are removed, plants change,” he noted.
Pilling added that all of the positive responses he has received so far regarding the book have been “very gratifying after all the hard work.”
“A Walk Around Visalia” can be purchased for $14.95 online at www.georgepilling.com/walk, or at several local locations including: Linda's Used Books, Arts Visalia, Brown Shoe Fit Company, Four Creeks Coffee, Pacific Treasures, Stephen's Jewelry, Tazzaria, Valhalla Restaurant and Gift Shop, Visalia Learning Center, and Salon 525. The book is also available at The Book Garden in Exeter.
Two book signings are scheduled, one at Link's on Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. and one at the Historic Calendar unveiling at Visalia Community Bank on Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m. The book will be available for purchase at both events.