A wine and cheese book-signing was held by the Palmerton Area Historical Society on Aug. 26 to kick off the sale of "Messages from Palmerton - the First Fifty Years." The book's history is presented as "a brief visual and written history of a unique community told through the medium of postcards."

Janet Snyder, who had already bought her book and was coming to have it signed, said, "It's wonderful - the reading in addition to the postcards. It's just better than anything I ever read."

Peter Kern, who coordinated the book and wrote the text, said the board of directors talked about the possibility of doing a book in the vein of 1998's hardcover which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of Palmerton. For the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the town the board liked the idea of a book but wanted it a little different.

It was decided a postcard book would create the concept of the history with its scenes of Palmerton as it grew, but then the messages were found to be of interest. The completed book features both the front and back of the postcards.

Messages were like today's email. For one cent you could mail a postcard anywhere in the United States. It was a time when Slatington was a long-distance phone call so the cards were an obvious means of communication, said Kern.

The cover of the book gives the impression of rich leather. It has a picture of the view to the west from the New Jersey Zinc administration building and shows how quickly the town grew in the 20 years since ground was broken for the Zinc Company.

Some of the cards such as the one on page 3 had a postmark for Palmerton, Sept. 1, 4 p.m., 1906. By 6 p.m. it was postmarked as being received in Weissport on the same day.

The Horsehead Inn was a popular design for postcards. It was built by the Zinc Company for corporate visitors. A picture of the new hospital was referred to two years later as the old hospital since an addition was being built.

Special centennial-label wine was being sold at the wine and cheese event.

Both the book and wine are available at the Heritage Center, 410 Delaware Avenue, Palmerton. Mail orders for the book will include a charge for postage and handling. Call 610-824-6954 for information or to order a book.

Kern invited the Times News to walk to the Center to see paintings that will be auctioned at a dinner scheduled for Sept. 25 and sponsored by the Historical Society celebrating the Palmerton Borough Centennial Year. One by Jessica Gasper was used as a Christmas card. The other two are by Paula Zelienka. All three feature totally different views of the bandstand in the Palmerton park.