#56–NY Times bestsellers, Chicago & reality . . .


In the gift shop at the Eugene airport, Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges sat right in the middle of the New York Times bestsellers. I’m not making this up. Bob Serra, the book’s publisher was there and saw it. He was so amazed, he took a second look and then he took a picture.

If only it were true!

Alas, as far as we know, we’re not actually on that much-coveted listing. But wouldn’t it be loverly if we were.

Now here’s something that is for real. We’ve sold just about 1,500 books total. A milestone! As we get near the end of this second printing, we’re trying to account for every one of the 1,055 books printed. I find myself counting down. I had 32 books left the other day and then I sold one. Thirty-one flashed through my mind. Bob had a box of 28 books left at Pacific Publishing and sold two. Twenty-six flashed, which means only 57 left.

A Crossings order for two books came through the other day at Pacific Publishing, and Bob’s thoughts turned grandiose once again. Upon first glance, he thought the address was a Chicago bookstore. A second glance revealed Chicago Street––not quite Chicago the city. But still it’s pretty amazing that The Book House on Chicago Street in Jonesboro, Michigan, even knows about Crossings.

The sales continue. Sometimes I’m really trying, and sometimes it just happens. I sold one last night at a summer solstice celebration without even trying. I’ve been pretty successful at that; maybe that should be my new marketing strategy.

My usual marketing strategy will kick into gear next week, when I get on the phone to line up places to visit in Medford/Ashland/Grants Pass for a four-day visit.

Attending book fairs is also part of my strategy. During this past year I’ve had a chance to meet and talk with two bridge book authors, Robert Cortright, whose quote, from his book Bridging: Discovering the Beauty of Bridges, I use at the beginning of my book.

As the focus of my interest in bridges is based primarily upon their aesthetic appeal, it is only natural that I am often asked to identify my favorite bridge. There is such a wide variety of bridge types and so many wonderful examples of each that I find it impossible to come up with a single answer. . . . I do, however, have some favorite categories. First, the pride of my own state [Oregon], the unique and varied bridges of Conde B. McCullough.

And Ray A. Allen, author of Oregon Coast Bridges, whose book came out in 2011 the same as Crossings. I mention these authors because they were particularly fond of the original Alsea Bay Bridge designed by McCullough and built in 1936 as part of the Coast Bridges Project.


With its three tied arches above the road deck flanked on both sides by three deck arches below the road deck, the original Alsea Bay Bridge was very pleasing to the eye.

That bridge was the first choice for cover photo for Cortright’s first book, Bridging, but  since the bridge had recently been replaced and was no longer standing, he had to choose another cover photo. As for Allen, from the moment he first heard the bridge might be replaced, he joined preservationists who fought replacing it. And then when that became a lost cause, he joined the fight to have an aesthetically pleasing design for the new bridge, one that McCullough might be proud of. While they lost the first battle, they won the second.


The new Alsea Bay Bridge will stand alone after the demolition of the original one.

I was thinking of these two writers this week, as I did further research on the new Alsea Bay Bridge. I also researched the Astoria–Megler Bridge that crosses the Columbia River and the Thomas Creek Bridge down by Brookings. These three will be included in my second book.

I learned that Ivan D. Merchant, whom McCullough hired in 1929 and worked with for many years was the bridge engineer on the Astoria-Megler Bridge (whose design was a joint effort of both the Washington and Oregon highway departments), and he was the designer of the Thomas Creek Bridge. So I found a McCullough influence on the three other major bridges that I will be including. This will make a total of 15 bridges in book number two–the guide to the McCullough & McCullough influenced bridges of the Oregon coast.


Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges can be yours for $24.95 plus $4.99 shipping. Order from Pacific Publishing at http://www.connectflorence.com or pacpub@oregonfast.net. It is also available on the coast in bookstores, museums, and gift shops; in Eugene at the airport, the historical museum, and several bookstores; in Portland at Powell’s and the Oregon Historical Society; in Made in Oregon stores throughout the state; and more and more bookstores, libraries, and museums in western Oregon.


The half-hour interview with Dr. Veronica Esagui for the “Author’s Forum” program on public access TV in the Portland Metro area has ended it’s two-week run through the first half of June, but can be seen on YouTube in two parts: Google  Judy Fleagle YouTube.



October 13, 11 a.m. Oregon City––The historic Arch Bridge designed by McCullough reopens in Oregon City on the weekend of October 13­14. I have been asked to be part of the festivities and will be giving my PowerPoint presentation at the Museum of the Oregon Territory on Saturday. The actual reopening celebration will be on Sunday. (Dates are tentative. ODOT has until the end of June to set reopening date.)


September 29, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Florence––2nd Annual Florence Festival of Books–an authors and publishers fair held at the Florence Events Center (715 Quince Street, 1 block east of Highway 101). I’ll be there with two books! (If all goes according to plan.)

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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