Clintonville resident Shirley Hyatt fell in love with Columbus history during a bus tour she took shortly after moving to the city in 1985.

Hyatt is working to preserve the history of Clintonville, where she has lived for more than 20 years. Hyatt has partnered with Arcadia Publishing to write "Images of America: Clintonville."

"Images of America" is a series of books that highlights a city's history through old photographs. Other central Ohio towns, including Westerville, Newark and Marion, have been featured in the series.

"Their goal is to preserve the history of the community through its images," Hyatt said. "You may not be able to save the building, but you can save the memories."

Hyatt said she was attracted to the series after she quit her job three years ago to work as a freelance writer. She began doing a column for Angie's List Magazine, in which she provided a historic photograph and information about the photograph.

After doing several of those columns, Hyatt said she figured she could manage a book in the same format.

"It's just 200 times the effort," Hyatt said.

Hyatt officially began collecting photographs for her book in December, by making calls and sending letters to Clintonville churches and schools to request photographs.

Hyatt said she's already collected more than 400 photographs, around 75 of which she'll likely use in the book. For the finished product, she said she'll need around 220 photographs.

The book also will include information on each photograph, explaining how the photograph is significant to Clintonville's history.

Hyatt said one thing that has amazed her since she began on the book is how many Clintonville residents are second and third generation, having been born and raised in Clintonville.

The importance of the book is underscored, Hyatt said, in that many of those older families are dying or moving away from Clintonville, and the trend of multiple generations of a family living in the area is being lost.

"The community's really in transition," Hyatt said. "There's a big potential for loss, I think."

The photographs of older residents tend to get lost along the way, Hyatt said, as parents pass down photo books to children and grandchildren.

"The photographs get lost all together," she said. "We can't save them all, but we can save some."

With all of the photographs she has collected, Hyatt said there are still many she's missing that she feels would be key in documenting Clintonville's history.

Hyatt said she's surprised by the lack of photographs of street scenes, parks and the fronts of houses and businesses.

"There's next to no pictures of Clintonville's green spaces -- its parks, its ravines," Hyatt said. "If there are, I haven't found them yet. We take that for granted."

Hyatt said she's also desperate to find photographs of the five old theaters that used to be located in Clintonville, The Beverly Drive-In, Beechwold Barbecue and the storage location of the streetcars.

She's looking for people's help in finding photos of those landmarks.

"I know they're out there. I'm sure they're out there," Hyatt said.

Hyatt will continue over the next few months to collect and scan photographs of Clintonville. She's especially looking for photographs that were taken before 1970, as the majority of the book must comprise those older photos.

There will be a spot for newer photographs, which Hyatt said she will use to document recent Clintonville history.

Hyatt said people can lend her pictures to be scanned, or she will visit homes to do scanning. Photos that are borrowed are returned within a few hours, she said.

Hyatt said she's also willing to go through people's photographs if they do not want to take the time to do it themselves.

"I find that people don't realize what they have. They don't realize how golden it is," Hyatt said.

People who have photographs they would like to submit for consideration for the book can contact Hyatt at clintonvillebook@gmail. com or (614) 263-9952.

Photographs must be hard copies of originals; they cannot be digital reproductions.

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com