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Writer pens book about Norcross

NORCROSS - Freelance writer Sally Toole has penned a history book about the city she's called home for 26 years.

Released in June, her book titled "Remembering Norcross, Nuggets of Nostalgia," is available at three shops in the downtown area - Good Things, The Norcross Barber Shop and Antique Traditions.

So far, said Toole, the book is selling well and getting good reviews.

"It's gotten a really wonderful reception," Toole said. "I haven't been on 'Oprah' yet, but I'm OK with that ... It's important to keep a community's history alive."

Toole said she was able to do that by getting the "old-timers" of her community to participate by sharing stories, family heirlooms and pictures, some of which made it into the book that was published by The History Press.

One picture adorning the book's cover shows

Confederate soldiers posing in uniform.

"One of my neighbors found that in her attic," Toole said. "People would go into their attic boxes to find the pictures."

The book deal came as the result of her writings that appeared in Georgia Backroads magazine. Toole said she learned some really interesting things about Norcross in writing the book, which she cranked out in four months.

"It started with the history of baseball in Norcross," she said. "It was a deep part of the culture between 1910 and 1950, and four players went to the Major Leagues who were raised in Norcross."

As for another historical tidbit, Toole learned why Norcross came to be where it's at.

Who would have known it was because of Native Americans bending trees to make them into trail tree markers?

When the railroad track was laid and Norcross formed, the settlers just followed what the Indians had started, Toole said.

"The reason Norcross is where it's at is because it's on high ground," she said. "The trees were bent by the Indians on purpose. We just followed them."

Toole even recently discovered another bent tree at Stone Mountain Park, which has been marked by the historian there. That discovery led to her next Georgia Backroads assignment - an article on the bent trees.

"The Indians followed trails and would mark trees along ridgelines," she said. "The mystery is still in place because we're not sure what the trees were leading to. They're living legacies."

The book drew praise from resident Elliott Brack, who's penned his own book on Gwinnett's county history.

"For years, most Gwinnett cities have needed to save more of their stories from their past, in effect, needing a recollection of some of the events that made these cities what they are today," Brack said. "Sally Toole has done this for Norcross."