Author to preview collection of local historical tales

Little-known anecdotes to be co-published by Sierra College Press and Heyday Books
By: Andrew Westrope, Staff Writer
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“Untangled Shadows: Tales of the Sierra Nevada”

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 10 (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Where: Sierra College Library, 5000 Rocklin Road

Cost: suggested $5 donation for adults, suggested $2 for seniors, students free; $3 parking


In the thick of editing and production on his latest book, “Untangled Shadows: Tales of the Sierra Nevada,” local author Gary Noy will give the public an early taste of the stories in the upcoming volume on April 10 at a lecture at the Sierra College Library.

Co-sponsored by the Sierra College Friends of the Library and Sierra College Press, the lecture will feature about 10 of the book’s 60-odd anecdotes of politics, entertainment, industry, social developments and other aspects of the region’s little-known history from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Following a presentation by Noy and fellow historian Dan DeFoe featuring readings and film clips, Noy will give a personal explanation of the value of these stories and how they help people connect with the land.

As a seasoned history buff who taught the subject at Sierra College for 20 years and founded the college’s Center for Sierra Nevada Studies, Noy said he committed to the project after discovering lost trivia in the neighborhood where he grew up.

“Around the corner from the street where I lived in Grass Valley was a little bitty street that went up the hill called Kate Hayes Street, and I didn’t know who Kate Hayes was when I was a kid,” he said. “But when I grew up and became a historian, I found out that Kate Hayes was a major entertainer in the gold rush period. She was like the pop star of the 1850s. And I found, as I dug into this more, that throughout the Sierra and the gold country, there are Kate Hayes monuments and Kate Hayes hills, and streets and roads everywhere, and that was really the spark … There are hundreds of little stories that are hidden – hence the title of the book – in the shadows, and I am trying to untangle them and bring them out into the light.”

Noy had collected more than 100 mini-histories from throughout the region over the course of about 20 years, and he began to assemble some of them for publication in 2010.

“Untangled Shadows” will be the sixth book he has edited or written, and as former editor-in-chief of the Sierra College Press, he said he was “honored” when the press offered to co-publish the book with Heyday Books.

The Sierra College Press remains the only full-service academic press operated by a community college in the U.S., but Noy said having access to that kind of publisher was not a motivating force behind the project.

DeFoe, a research partner and current history professor at Sierra College, is excited for the public to get a glimpse of Noy’s latest work.

“Gary has done several books, but he’s become an outstanding editor. He has a way of putting a book together that you just can’t put down, and ‘Untangled Shadows’ is that,” he said. “Even though you’ve probably never heard of 90 percent of the people in that book, the way it’s woven together – encyclopedic, with a major story and then little vignettes, as well – it’s going to be a fascinating look.”

Noy said the book will be in print in early 2014, with an official launch date that April.