Book cultivating 150 years of local history unveiled | News, Sports, Jobs

Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes, seen here with Marshall Independent publisher Gregory Orear, holds up the first copy of “The Sesquicentennial,” which was auctioned off Thursday night. Byrnes placed the winning bid for the book, at $150 – a fitting number for the city’s 150th anniversary.

It was a party 150 years in the making for a book 150 years in the making.

The Independent officially unveiled “The Sesquicentennial: Cultivating 150 Years of History in Marshall and Lyon County” Thursday night at the Marshall-Lyon County Library.

The 336-page book includes articles from Marshall newspapers starting in 1873 up through July of 2022.

Independent Publisher and the editor of the book, Gregory Orear, said while the book weighs nearly 4 pounds, that still truly does not best define its size.

“To give you a better idea how big a book that is, there are 1,175 stories, 172 photos, and 4 original sketches, not including pictures in ads,” Orear said in his opening remarks. “With more than 300 pages of news stories and a 15-page introduction, this book has more than 320,000 words. That’s more words than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Sense and Sensibility and Treasure Island … combined.”

Orear then introduced the many individuals who helped work on the book, including Jim Tate and Jan Louwagie.

“I can’t stress enough how important these two and their contributions were,” Orear said. “Their dedication to this project was essential, and personally, I couldn’t be more grateful for the support and words of encouragement they offered me when fatigue and frustration set in. Without them, I’m fairly certain we are all doing something else with our Thursday night.”

Following the book’s unveiling, 10 selections from it were read by individuals who worked on it along with former Independent Editors Per Peterson and Dana Yost, and Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes.

“I thought the readings would be a fun way to introduce the public to the book, and make the event a little more enjoyable,” Orear said.

In between the readings, Tim Deutz of Deutz auctions sold copies 1-10 of the limited first edition with the proceeds benefitting the Lyon County Historical Society.

“The Historical Society was a tremendous resource for us by providing photos and access to old papers,” Orear said. “They are a great community resource and one we are proud to help support.”

Orear reported the auction generated $720 for the historical society, including $150 for the first copy, which was sold to Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes.

Copies of the book are available now to be picked up at The Independent office for anyone who pre-ordered them. They are also for sale for $49.95 at the newspaper or online at

“These are beautiful books with a leather cover that will make great Christmas presents,” Orear said. “I’m certain everyone is going to love reading it.”

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