ROSWELL, Ga. - Every major organization or team has a mascot – Uga the bulldog, the Falcon, or even a little gecko. For the Roswell Historical Society, they have Rucker the dog.
“We have a very large photograph collection,” said Roswell Archivist Elaine DeNiro, “and I have a soft spot for photos with family pets in them.”
One day she was looking through some photographs of the Stewart family and she came across a family portrait dated about 1900. Sitting neat and proper was the family of James Jasper Stewart in front of their homestead. And there, in the corner, was a little dog.
His real name is unknown, so DeNiro and Archive volunteer and fellow RHS member Connie Huddleston decided to call him Rucker, after the prominent North Fulton family, whose homestead still stands on Arnold Mill Road.
“It's an educational tool to bring the history of Roswell to younger audiences in a fun and educational way,” DeNiro said.
And what better way to do that than with the dog telling a story? Together they wrote and illustrated a book based on Rucker's adventures after he gets lost in downtown Roswell and has to find his way home. Titled “Rucker the Lost Country Dog,” he meets many of the prominent families and visits locations in Roswell and Crabapple on his adventure. Old photographs were used of the area and residents and Rucker's likeness was inserted into them, as if he were actually there.
“I've always wanted to see the city,” said Rucker in the story.
All the photos of people and places are dated to about the time that Rucker lived.
Proceeds from the book's sales will benefit the RHS.
To tie into the book, Rucker is starting a blog (with some help from Huddleston) on the RHS website. He talks about Roswell as it used to be. His likeness will also soon begin appearing in Roswell stores as part of a contest – the first child to find him and email the RHS will win a prize.
Rucker's book, “Rucker the Lost Country Dog,” will begin appearing for sale in late July and postcards featuring his likeness around town will be available at local shops.
For more about the Roswell Historical Society, visit www.roswellhistoricalsociety.org. For Rucker and his blog, visit ruckerinroswell.blogspot.com.