That first book, co-written with Thom Johnson and published by Arcadia Publishing, led to another about New York's Palisades Interstate Park. Now another has emerged - and to say "the rest is history" only indicates their insatiable interest in the region's past.
The couple's third book, Lost Towns of the Hudson Valley (History Press), was an endeavor that required some digging by these amateur historians. When a roadside marker is all that's left of a once-vital settlement, tracking down people who might still hold memories and photographs of towns no longer on the map becomes necessary. The Gottlocks found that they had to become sleuths to uncover the stories of long-gone places - like Camp Shanks, one of World War II's significant military compounds that saw over a million soldiers passing through, along with patriotic enthusiasts who came to entertain them and cheer them on, such as Frank Sinatra and Shirley Temple; or like the many Ashokan Reservoir towns that were sacrificed to the New York City water project: Brown's Station, Ashton, Brodhead and others.
Ms. Gottlock describes going to the town clerk's office in Olivebridge and meeting Cynthia Rozzelle, who provided many photos and names of people still living who were connected somehow with that project. "You keep your ears open and go for it," says Gottlock of their fact-gathering process.
This Sunday, January 10, the Gottlocks will be at the Gardiner Library on Farmers' Turnpike at 4 p.m. to present a PowerPoint slideshow of many of the images in Lost Towns and talk about their adventures in history - a passion that does not terminate for them once a book is complete. Barbara Gottlock serves as the volunteer coordinator of the Trust at Bannerman Castle where Wesley guides tours of the island, and the sudden recent collapse of portions of that structure has thrown them both into action to save it.
The incident only underscores the value of documentation of bygone eras and lost ways of life in books like Lost Towns of the Hudson Valley. Come meet the authors and learn some fascinating local history. For further information call (845) 255-1255 or visit www.gardinerlibrary.org.