The Daily Mash-Up

Thursday, June 22, 2017 This Week's Paper
Reporter sets out on writing another book

There’s going to be a second Lakewood history book! And the authors are eagerly looking for photographs that represent the people who made and make Lakewood a great place to live and work.

Steve Dunkelberger and Walter Neary, authors of the 2005 book “Images of America: Lakewood,” are now working with the same publisher on a new book. Arcadia Press, responsible for hundreds of those sepia-colored Images of America books, has a new series that focuses on people, and so the book will be called “Legendary Locals of Lakewood.”

So Dunkelberger and Neary are embarking on a seven-month effort to find dynamic pictures of interesting people from Lakewood’s past and present.

“We’re very excited to focus on people and highlight the great individuals who built Lakewood into what it is today, and are working to make it what it will be in the future,” Dunkelberger said. "The area that is now the City of Lakewood sat front and center to the formation of the region in ways many people don't realize. We want to tell that story through the people who made it happen since history is not a matter of dates and places. History is about people. People of all types created Lakewood."

This book is meant to work as not only a companion to their first book, but also as a stand-alone narrative of the evolution of the land from open prairie to the Lakes District to suburban city on the rise.

“A couple of remarkable things happened after the first book, one wonderful, one not, that really belong in any comprehensive history of our community. We will be proud to highlight Claudia Thomas as the first African-American mayor in Washington. And of course, Steve and I just had to agree to do this book when Arcadia approached us because the events of Nov. 29, 2009. The deaths in the coffeeshop belong in any real history book about Lakewood. If anyone in Lakewood is a legend, it’s the four police officers who the whole world saw were willing to give their lives for our community,” Neary said.

Here’s how you can get involved in the book:

If you know of a picture of someone significant to Lakewood’s history, even if it’s in a nontraditional way, the authors would love to know. You can let them know by filling out the Legendary Locals of Lakewood suggestion form. It's possible the authors may already have the name on their list; you can check by looking at their working list by looking here.

If you know of a great picture of someone already on the list, the authors would love to hear from you.

If you represent an organization in Lakewood (service club, church, etc) that has been around at least 20 years, the authors would like to consider including a representative person from your organization in the book. We really need your help here, because we know there are a lot of great organizations in Lakewood. The person could be a founding member, or a significant member of the group (a board member, a pastor, someone somehow who brought the group to excellence, a very longtime member, etc).

The more dynamic the photograph, the better the odds that it can be included. The authors will have to rely in part on the visual interest of the picture: they will need to provide the publisher with pictures of people doing things and showing expressions, and not just staring into a camera.

Finally, if you know of a person who really should be in the book, but you don’t know of a picture, the authors would like the idea anyway! Feel free to make your suggestion.

Steve Dunkelberger, a former reporter and editor of the now-defunct Lakewood Journal, helped found the Lakewood Historical Society, is a journalism and media instructor at Pierce College and a reporter at the Tacoma Weekly as well as a freelance writer for various publications around the region. He is also the chairman of Lakewood’s Landmark and Heritage Advisory Board and a former board member of the Historic Fort Steilacoom Museum Association. He is also a school board member and parishioner at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and School.

Neary, also a former editor of the Lakewood Journal, served on the Lakewood City Council from 2004 to 2011. Neary is communications director for Comcast in Washington and a member of the Lakewood Landmarks and Heritage Advisory Board and the board of the Washington Coalition for Open Government. He was a co-founder of the Lakewood Historical Society's museum. Neary writes about local government issues at

Images of America: Lakewood remains on sale at such locations as the Lakewood Barnes & Noble and the shops of the Historic Fort Steilacoom Association and Lakewood Historical Society.