"I've been haunting estate sales, eBay and antique stores for years, collecting vintage postcards and old photos, and I've used them to illustrate some of my earlier books" Casto said. "After driving back and forth over the Midland Tail so many times over the years, I started outlining an illustrated book about it in my mind."
Many of the postcards used to illustrate the book show scenes that can no longer be found along the Midland Trail, including the Kanawha, Fleetwood and Ruffner hotels in Charleston, the J.J. Jimison Tourist Camp at Culloden, and timber booms on the Big Sandy River at Kenova.
Others show towns along the route as they appeared in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
For the few points of interest along the route not depicted in postcards or archived photos, "I got in my Buick and took my own photos," said Casto, the former editor of the Huntington Herald Dispatch.
"There's history around every bend of its 180 miles," Casto said of the highway. "Travelers willing to take their time and drive the two-lane blacktop of the Midland Trail can get a glimpse into history that's denied those who hurry along the superhighway. If you like history, scenery and roadside novelties, you need to drive it."
Casto's 112-page full-color soft cover volume was published by Quarrier Press and is available in area bookstores or from the West Virginia Book Co. at 1-888-982-7422 or www.wvbookco.com. Retail price is $17.95.
Casto will be signing copies of "Highway to History: A Midland Trail Scrapbook" from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 19 in the Cabell-Huntington Convention & Visitors Bureau office at Heritage Station in downtown Huntington. River & Rail Bakery will provide refreshments.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.