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My Life in Pacific Grove: A Memoir (Paperback)

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At one time, it was the biggest department store between San Francisco and Los Angeles, with orders pouring in from all over the nation. John Steinbeck immortalized it in the pages of Cannery Row. And it all happened in a quiet village on the California coast.

Step into the legendary Holman's Department Store and meet its remarkable owner, Wilford Rensselaer Holman, in My Life in Pacific Grove. Follow Mr. Holman from his arrival in Pacific Grove as a small boy in 1888, through his years of transforming his father's modest dry-goods store into a local retail giant, to his final triumph with the dedication of the W.R. Holman Highway in 1972.

Of particular interest to Steinbeck enthusiasts are never-before-published letters exchanged between Steinbeck and Mr. Holman's wife, Zena, showcasing the Nobel laureate's wry and self-deprecating humor.

My Life in Pacific Grove is based on Mr. Holman's memoir, edited and annotated by his great-granddaughter-in-law, Heather Lazare, and includes more than 150 rare, historic photographs, news clippings and ephemera. Through these pages, you'll ride the Santa Claus Special, visit the world's largest holly farm, and discover the real story behind the fabled flagpole skater. A must-read for local history buffs, My Life in Pacific Grove is sure to delight both life-long residents and newcomers to Butterfly Town, USA.

About the Author

W.R. Holman was an entrepreneur, conservationist, and community leader. Born in 1884 in Sacramento, California, Holman moved to the coastal town of Pacific Grove with his family when he was four. His father, R.L. Holman, opened a dry goods store that had several locations before eventually being taken over by W.R. and becoming Holman's Department Store--the biggest store between San Francisco and Los Angeles for decades. The W.R. Holman Highway runs between Pacific Grove and Highway 1, connecting Pacific Grove with the rest of the Peninsula--a feat Holman fought hard for in the 1920s. Holman and his wife, Zena, were avid conservationists, whose collections of Native American artifacts, as well as a vast collection of first edition books, were gifted to the State of California and are on display at the Pacific House Museum in Monterey, and the Zena Holman Research Library at Asilomar Conference Grounds. Holman lived a very full life, whose highlights can be found on the pages of this book. W.R. passed away at his home at ninety-seven years old.

Heather Lazare is an independent editor and publishing consultant, who worked for Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster before starting her own business in 2013. She is the director and co-founder of the Northern California Writers' Retreat, and lives in Pacific Grove, California.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781953120151
ISBN-10: 1953120156
Publisher: Pacific Grove Books
Publication Date: April 11th, 2022
Pages: 316
Language: English