Reaction to “Foley at 100”:
“I have just started reading your book, and I am learning so much about Foley. You obviously put hundreds and hundreds of hours in on the research and writing. And all that work shows in the finished product.”
-- Dorothy (Dot) Brown
“What a terrific accomplishment! Can't wait to see your next venture. I am very proud of you for sharing your literary gift with our community. I really like your style. Example: "Wright place, right time." Very catchy and clever!”
-- Sue Emmett
Birmingham (formerly of Foley)
“Thank you for giving me a good dose of excitement, laughter and memories all wrapped into one beautiful treasure called Foley at 100. What an amazing gift you have given all of the citizens of Foley and south Baldwin County!”
-- Sandy Russell
Want to buy the book?
Cost: $20 plus tax. Available at: The Historic L&N Railroad Museum in uptown Foley; The Book Exchange in uptown Foley;
The Baldwin County Heritage Museum in Elberta; Page & Palette in neighboring Fairhope or by mail for $25 (cost of the book plus $5 for shipping and handling). Checks or money orders made out to Kent Cockson should be mailed to him at 8100 State Hwy. 59; Foley, AL 36535.
New book celebrates first century of coastal Alabama city
Retired newsman, military veteran and Nebraska native Kent Cockson discovered the Alabama Gulf Coast the old-fashioned way – he married into it.
Cockson is the author of a new book “100 Years of Foley” – the hometown of his wife, the former Sylvia Staton, where the couple now live.
The couple met when Cockson was stationed at Fort Knox, Ky., and they married three years later.
Foley is a well-known outlet shopping mecca sandwiched between I-10 and Gulf Shores, Ala. Today the area also is becoming a popular retirement destination.
Cockson, 68, spent more than 40 years as a reporter, feature writer, editorial and column writer, copy editor and 15 years as executive editor or bureau chief in charge of news-gathering operations at several newspapers across the Southeast, requiring him to write and justify sometimes seven-figure annual newsroom expense budgets.
But until “Foley at 100,” he had never written a book – let alone a non-fiction book.
“It’s not your ordinary history book,” Cockson said. “My goal was to not only document the names, facts and dates pivotal to Foley’s history, but also to make those not from Foley who read the book sit back and say: ‘Hey! I think I have been to a town like that,’ or ‘Gee, that’s sounds like the town where I grew up.’
About the Book
- The first half is devoted to extensive interviews with 16 Foley-area residents who made a difference in the “middle years” of Foley’s expansion and development.
- The middle of the book contains 16 color pages featuring photos of before-and-after structures and institutions in Foley.
- The latter half of the book is a timeline from 1900 to the present, tersely listing by year the many people and events significant to Foley’s growth from a bare-bones camp in the woods grew to an agricultural mecca that morphed into a family-oriented town, then a city where – as the late Vince Whibbs, mayor emeritus of Pensacola, would say — thousands of visitors live the way millions wish they could.
- The book contains the names of more than 1,300 people.
- At least 70 black-and-white photos are peppered throughout the text.
- Finally, “Foley at 100” is peppered throughout with “Foley Fritters” – vignettes long and short that feature various characters woven into the fabric of the city. Some will make you laugh. Others will make you cry. And many will make you wag your head in disbelief.
Cockson conducted extensive interviews with more than two-dozen key people. He also spent more than 200 hours at a microfilm reader in the Foley Public Library, aided by genealogy expert Jeanette Bornholt, who crafted a page in the book titled “10 things you might not know about Foley.”