New book chronicles Rosemount's history
From the arrival of the first settlers on the banks of the Mississippi River up through the Space Age and beyond, Rosemount's history has been on Maureen Geraghty Bouchard's mind a lot lately. For the past 3 ½ years she has been surrounded by it, living it, breathing it and putting it all down on paper.
Geraghty Bouchard, president of the Rosemount Area Historical Society, recently completed work on Rosemount: From the River to Space. The 344-page book, funded by an endowment from the Hap and Jean Hanson Family Foundation, is the first comprehensive history of the city.
Geraghty Bouchard is no stranger to Rosemount's history. She's been working on her family's genealogy for more than 30 years, and many of the ancestors she researched helped build the city.
"My great great grandfather opened up the first saloon in town," Geraghty Bouchard said. "My great great step-grandfather owned the first hotel here in town. My family had the mercantile, the dry good store. Not the first, but one of the first in town."
There had been talk for years at the historical society about putting Rosemount's history in a book. Geraghty Bouchard had assembled the publication in her mind more than once over the years. But until the endowment, given in memory of Hap, a former superintendent in the Rosemount School District, and his wife, Betty, there was never any money to pay for it.
Once the money came in, Geraghty Bouchard got to work.
Much of what is in the book started with information historical society members had gathered over the years, but there was plenty of new research as well. Geraghty Bouchard learned new details about the Strathern's, who she called Rosemount's founding family. They landed at what is now called Spring Lake and were the first to move up the hill and settle in the area now known as Rich Valley.
Geraghty Bouchard gathered much more information than she had room to include. Near the end of the process she cut nearly 100 pages. But the book hits the highlights of the city's past. That includes events like the construction of the Gopher Ordnance Works, a World War II munitions plant that remains in ruins. It is the source of the large concrete walls that line County Road 46 on the eastern side of the city.
It also includes Rosemount Engineering, the company that started in downtown Rosemount and provided a sensor that was included in the Titan missile.
She could have kept going. Even as she was putting the finishing touches on the book she found new information she wishes she could have included.
Geraghty Bouchard doesn't consider herself a strong writer, but she had a good editor, and the book leans heavily on photographs. There are more than 1,100 in the book. She said early readers have appreciated the combination of words and images.
Geraghty Bouchard hoped to have the book available for sale this week, but a problem in the production process has delayed things. She got the book back on Friday only to find it was a paperback rather than the hardcover she had ordered. She is working with the printer to address the problem.
When the book is done, Geraghty Bouchard plans to find occasions to sell it around town. She has talked with city staff members about doing a signing in town.