A bit over two years ago I set out on the task of writing a book that would tell the story and history of Presque Isle State Park, and as I soon found out, its history is intertwined with the early days of the City and County of Erie. One of the first things I discovered is that I needed help with the project. So I enlisted the services of Presque Isle’s legendary hermit, Joe Root.
On about May 1, my new book entitled, “A History of Presque Isle – -As Told Through Conversation with the Park’s Legendary Hermit, Joe Root” will be available. The 332- page book with over 50 old photographs will be available in e-book, trade paperback, and hardcover. At first the book will only be able for order on-line through Amazon.com and later at bookstore.iUniverse.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Within four weeks, it should become available at The Nature Shop at TREC, Barnes and Noble, Werner Books and many other locations . (It takes a while to get the books to the retail stores) I will have books in two wesk, too.
An Introduction to Joe Root – - -His name was Joe Root. He was real and did spend nearly 32 years living on Presque Isle. To some he ranked as the King of Presque Isle; others just called him that loony old hermit out on the park. Like most legends, the background and knowledge on Joe varies depending on your source. For example, diverse sources show he could have been born either in 1880 or 1858, no one is sure. The 1858 date seems more logical since almost all documentation and stories about Joe begin about 1882. That means Joe would have been about 24 or 25 years of age when his legends began and when he began his trips to Presque Isle.
Joe Root’s allure and legends are extensive and varied; however, one aspect is constant in all the stories. It seems he would have at least four shacks or huts built from driftwood, packing crates and anything else he could get his hands on. These shacks would be hidden in the woods of the park. He would move from one shack to another so no one would find him. Most people believe he did this to keep out of the weather, yet the local lawman, Constable Siebel ,was sure it was to keep one step ahead of the long reach of the law. The constable had an intense distrust of Joe and watched him carefully whenever he came into town.
I loved being able to work with Joe’s character in the book and I feel his fictional participation kept the history interesting. A born optimist, oe was charmed by nature’s magic and amused by his almost daily contacts with the people he met or just watched from his hiding place in the woods or at the top of a Presque Isle tree. Joe fit the description of a character perfectly. At times, he was more than a bit strange and had many out-of-the-ordinary ideas and mannerisms. Nevertheless, I feel this uniqueness has help me tell the story of Presque Isle and early Erie in an interest way.
I hope you will take a look at the new book and see what old Erie and Presque Isle were like. I know you will enjoy this piece of the past about our Presque Isle and Erie heritage. Let me now what you think of it.
See you on the park!!
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