By MATT CRANE
Jimmy Cole is shining a present-day light on the unusual history of Oktibbeha County’s past.
At 7 p.m Wednesday at the Starkville Public Library, Cole will present “The Strange Things of Oktibbeha County” as a part of the continuing speaker series honoring Starkville’s year-long 175th birthday celebration.
Cole, a life-long Starkville resident and owner of the Boardtown Trading Post, will discuss the county’s history by showcasing advertisements and sharing stories about former businesses throughout the county.
“I’ll be sharing some unusual stories about business that were here 50 to 100 years ago,” he said. “Some of what we’ll be talking about are things that most people can’t read about anymore, but they were things I knew growing up.”
Cole, whose parents Shuler and Bena Cole owned and operated Western Auto of Starkville from 1939 to 1965, said he has compiled many photographs and documents detailing the unique history of Oktibbeha County.
“There are some unusual things that have happened over the years,” he said. “I did a history book of Oktibbeha County about 12 years ago.”
That book, “Images of America: Oktibbeha County,” presented images from the simpler times in which residents lived, and Cole said he enjoyed the surprising success of the book.
“It was interesting and something I never thought I’d do, but it turned out to be a really good seller,” he said. “People brought me documents so we ended up with quite a bit of stuff from Oktibbeha County and we’ve got a pretty good collection of photos.”
Cole said he has been working on his presentation for some time and praised the efforts of the speaker series to inform residents about what all has transpired in the community.
“I think anytime you can learn about the history your own town it benefits the whole community,” he said. “People will definitely learn something about the history of the town they didn’t know before.”
Cole said the format for Wednesday’s presentation will involve the use of projected images and an open forum discussion.
“There are things that have happened through the years that we don’t know about, so anyone present can feel free to share a story,” he said. “It’s an exchange of ideas and knowledge and we hope to get everyone to share.”
Cole’s “The Strange Things of Oktibbeha County” begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Starkville Public Library.
For more information, call 662-323-2766.