New book about Mount Baker features hundreds of vintage photos

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDDecember 23, 2013 

While John D'Onofrio and Todd Warger wish their new book had hit the stores with more time to spare before Christmas, they won't have to worry about it falling out of fashion anytime soon.

Their "Mount Baker" book is a new addition to Arcadia Publishing's familiar, sepia-toned "Images of America" series - paperbacks chock-full of photos about locales across the country.

Their book covers a wide range of topics, from early ascents and pioneer logging, to the Mount Baker gold rush starting in the late 1800s and the famous Mount Baker Marathon's three-year run from 1911 through 1913.

Other topics include Mount Baker Lodge, Hollywood movies made at the mountain, the rise of mountaineering and hiking clubs, and the contemporary scene with skiing and snowboarding.

Equally enticing are the book's more than 200 historic photos, many of which came from local families and collections, including - but certainly not limited to - Gordy Tweit, Michael Impero, Wes Gannaway, Margaret Hellyer, Sherman and Liz Ousdale, and Galen Biery's collection.

Through the book, many of the photos are gaining wide circulation for the first time, D'Onofrio said.

"The people who shared the photos were so excited to do so," he said. "It was good to be able to bring them all together into one place and with a coherent narrative."

D'Onofrio, the publisher of Adventures NW magazine, said he was contacted by Arcadia about possibly compiling a photo book on the history of Bellingham. He didn't feel like taking that on, but as an outdoors writer and photographer he immediately thought about Mount Baker and about Warger, who created "The Mountain Runners," a film about the Mount Baker Marathon.

So he contacted Warger and they agreed to work tag-team on the book, with D'Onofrio handling most of the writing and Warger tracking down most of the photographs.

"Mount Baker just holds a special place for me," D'Onofrio said. "Learning more about the human history just makes me feel like I know the mountain better."

There are other books about Mount Baker, but none that D'Onofrio or Warger could think of that cover the same breadth of topics with a hefty dose of photographs.

"It's a subject that hasn't been gone over a lot," Warger said.

And while Arcadia has published more than 8,000 titles, none of them focus on Whatcom County, until now.

"It's a cool addition to our local history," Warger said. "I'm very pleased with how it looks."

The book should keep local history and mountain lovers happy, at least until Warger finds a publisher for his recently finished book about the Mount Baker Marathon.

Contact Dean Kahn at dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com or 360-715-2291.

COMING UP

— “Mount Baker,” by John D’Onofrio and Todd Warger, sells for $21.99 and is available at local retailers, online book outlets and at arcadiapublishing.com.

— A book release party will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro, 1107 Railroad Ave.

— D’Onofrio and Warger, will discuss their book at 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at Village Books, 1200 11th St., and at 7:30 p.m. March 13 at the monthly meeting of the Whatcom County Historical Society, at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St.

Reach DEAN KAHN at dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2291.

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