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The fascinating, fun-filled history of California’s Main Street: Valley historian Stephen H. Provost presents his new book “Highway 99” at the Fig Garden Library, Saturday, Sept. 23 at 2 p.m.

Filled with historic photographs and forgotten tales, “Highway 99” is a nostalgia-fueled road trip into California motoring culture

Who:Stephen H. Provost, journalist and historian

What:Book talk and book signing

When: Saturday, Sept. 23, at 2 p.m.

Where:Fig Garden Regional Library, 3071 W. Bullard Ave., Fresno, CA, Fresno, CA 93711, (559) 600-4071

FRESNO, Calif., Aug. 30— Other writers have celebrated historic highways like Route 66 or the Lincoln Highway, but former Fresno Bee reporter Stephen H. Provost has written a new book about the history of the Valley’s own Highway 99. Provost’s new work, “Highway 99: The History of California’s Main Street” (Craven Street Books, September 2017), will debut at an author presentation and book signing at the Fig Garden Regional Library on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 2 p.m.

Provost will give a presentation of the history of Highway 99, illustrated with pictures from the nearly 300 historic photos in the book, and copies of “Highway 99” will be available for purchase and signing by the author.

“Highway 99” turns back the clock to the days when then-U.S. Highway 99 was truly the main street of California, a two-lane road that passed through the downtowns of every city from the Mexican border to the Oregon state line.

Illustrated throughout with historical photographs, “Highway 99” documents the birth and development of the great highway, from its beginnings as a dream project by a handful of early motorcar enthusiasts to its 1920s incarnation as a narrow trail over the Grapevine to the modern superhighway of today.

Along the way, “Highway 99” chronicles an amazing amount of history: the invention of basic highway equipment such as the center stripe and the road sign; the great Dust Bowl migrations of the Okies; the origins of California landmarks like Griffith Park and Magic Mountain; and the network of beacon towers for airplanes that briefly paralleled the highway in the 1920s; and numerous other stories.

Above all, the story of Highway 99 is the story of classic American roadside culture. Highway 99 witnessed the birth of the motor court motel, the drive-thru window, the theme park, and the truck stop, and “Highway 99” unearths detailed histories of the innumerable gas stations, hotel, restaurants, amusements, and whole communities that developed to cater to the motorist.

From the foundations of America’s fast-food culture to the birth of the Bakersfield Sound, the history of California has happened around Highway 99, and “Highway 99” brilliantly depicts that history.

More about Stephen H. Provost:

Stephen H. Provost is a journalist, editor and author. He has previously worked as a reporter, editor and columnist for the Fresno Bee, the Visalia Times-Delta and the Tulare Advance Register. He is currently the editor of The Cambrian newspaper. Provost’s previous books include “Fresno Growing Up: A City Comes of Age, 1945-1985,” a history of Fresno pop culture, and “Memortality,” a contemporary fantasy novel. Provost lives on the California central coast. Provost frequently blogs on writing and current events at his website, stephenhprovost.com.

Book Details:

Title: Highway 99: The History of California’s Main Street

Author: Stephen H. Provost

Publisher: Craven Street Books, an imprint of Linden Publishing

Publication Date: September 15, 2017

Price: $18.95 US

Category: History / California

ISBN 978-1-61035-296-3

8½” × 10″ trade paperback, 350 pages, 273 photographs, index. Also available in e-book formats.

Available from bookstores, online booksellers and Craven Street Books (1-800-345-4447, CravenStreetBooks.com).

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