• Heather Navarro
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Stars Shine Brightly In New St. Louis Walk Of Fame Book

Joe Edwards and Hope Edwards with the new "St. Louis Walk of Fame" book. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
December 04, 2013
St. Louis' most famous people – Chuck Berry, Charles Lindbergh, Maya Angelou and many others – already have a place on Delmar Boulevard's Walk of Fame, and will now be remembered in a new book.

The four-color book titled "St. Louis Walk of Fame: 140 Great St. Louisans" has been released in time for the holidays. A book signing will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 10, from 6 to 7 p.m., in the Satellite Room of the Moonrise Hotel in the Loop, 6177 Delmar Blvd.

St. Louis entrepreneur Joe Edwards and his daughter, Hope Edwards, will be on hand to sign copies of their 176-page hard-cover book. The book highlights 140 people who have made significant contributions to shaping the culture of not only St. Louis, but the nation, and in some cases, the world.

The father-daughter team has spent the past few years working on the book between other projects, and pushed to get it out in time for the holiday season.

"We worked extra hard to finish it before the holidays because it makes a great gift," Hope Edwards said. "And, because the Cardinals didn't win the World Series this year there aren't any of those books in the stores, so this is the St. Louis feel-good book that people are looking for. A lot of people have been telling me they're buying two – one for themselves and one as a gift for someone else."

Her father, who owns Blueberry Hill, the Moonrise Hotel, Eclipse Restaurant and several other properties in The Loop, founded the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 1988 to draw attention to the great St. Louisans who have had a major impact on society. The book is an extension of that.

"The book lets people know what an amazing influence St. Louis has had on our national culture – possibly more than just about any other city in America," Joe Edwards said. "It's clear that America's two great migrations – from south to north and east to west – collided right here in an explosion of creativity unlike any other national crossroads."

Joe Edwards published earlier editions of the book, the last of which included 90 inductees. With the Walk of Fame on Delmar now boasting 140 names, he and his daughter thought it was time to not only update the book, but give it a new look.

"This is the fourth edition of the book, and this is the first one that's been in color," said Hope Edwards, who served as a designer, writer and editor for the new edition. "It's been a long time since the last one when there were 90 inductees, and the previous editions were in black and white. My dad asked me to do a redesign and make it more interesting. I wanted to give it a different feel. I wanted to make it fresh and alive, and appealing and classy."

Famous St. Louisans are highlighted in the new book (click for larger version)
Hope Edwards not only worked hard to make the pages "pop," but spent lots of time writing biographies of new inductees, fact-checking information on previous honorees and editing copy.

"I took great care in all of the details," she said.

Hope Edwards' design of the book exceeded her father's expectations.

"To get it back all bound and beautiful – it gave me such a wonderful feeling," Joe Edwards said. "I started reading it and enjoying it all over again. It's wonderful having this book with the photos and the concise biographies – it's interesting whether you're younger or older."

The new book explains the St. Louis Walk of Fame nomination and selection process, and features full-color photographs of the induction ceremonies over the past 25 years.

Joe Edwards said he particularly likes how information in the book is organized. Walk of Fame inductees are listed by field of achievement, birth date, location of their star and biographical plaque on Delmar, and the dates of their induction ceremony.

"Inductees are grouped by category so all the musicians are together, all the literary greats are together and so on, which gives you a sense of how influential St. Louisans have been on a cultural level," he said. "I also like the one that lists inductees by their year of birth. It goes from 1729 all the way to 1974, with Nelly being the youngest honoree."

The book includes honorees from 15 fields, including acting and entertainment, broadcasting, aviation, exploration, politics, journalism, music, science, education, literature, the U.S. presidency and more.

President Ulysses S. Grant, baseball legend Stan Musial, freedom-seekers Dred and Harriet Scott, athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee and actress Betty Grable are just a handful of the St. Louis greats featured in the book. The new publication also spotlights contemporary stars such as rap musician Nelly and actor/comedian John Goodman.

St. Louis entrepreneur Joe Edwards and his daughter, Hope Edwards, at the Chuck Berry Walk of Fame star. Father and daughter are the authors of the new book, "St. Louis Walk of Fame: 140 Great St. Louisans." photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
Although Joe Edwards and his daughter were the main forces behind the new edition, the book project was spearheaded by the non-profit St. Louis Walk of Fame organization. In keeping with its mission to promote knowledge, education, community pride and career inspiration, the Walk of Fame is donating free copies of the book to every junior high and high school in the greater St. Louis region. More than 300 copies of the new book have already been delivered to schools, Hope Edwards said.

"Every edition of the book has been donated to schools because my dad has always thought it would be great for students to read about people in their city – it provides a lot of great role models," she said. "Schools have taken a lot of interest in the previous books – they take field trips to The Loop and do chalk rubbings of the plaques on the Walk of Fame, so it's great on several levels."

"St. Louis Walk of Fame: 140 Great St. Louisans" is available in The Loop at Blueberry Hill, 6504 Delmar Blvd.; the Moonrise Hotel gift shop, 6177 Delmar Blvd.; and Subterranean Books, 6275 Delmar Blvd. It is also available in bookstores and gift shops throughout St. Louis. Books are $25 with proceeds going to the non-profit St. Louis Walk of Fame organization.

Joe Edwards and his daughter are also planning more book signing events. There will be signings on Saturday, Dec. 14, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at the Barnes & Noble in West County Center, and on Thursday, Dec. 19, 6 to 7 p.m., at Christopher's, 127 E. Argonne Drive in Kirkwood. There will also be signings at the Missouri History Museum and Subterranean Books in the coming months.

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