Along with Sledge’s writing, photographs of historical buildings by Sheila Hagler are sprinkled throughout the pages.
Sledge is a pillar of Greek architectural knowledge, and at the library’s book talk Thursday, he shared his thoughts on the Greek revival in Mobile, writings in his book and told the audience why he decided to pursue a life of preserving history.
The author of two other non-fiction books, an architectural historian with the Mobile Historic Development Commission and book page editor for the Mobile Register, Sledge said he has had a passion for history since he was young.
“For me, it was the most personal book I’ve written,” Sledge said. “In the book, I talk about my family home, and that’s really influenced how I look at life.”
Sledge grew up visiting his grandparents in Mobile, in what his book calls, My Georgia Cottage.
The cottage was built around 1845 and was purchased by his grandparents, Edward Simmons Sledge and Mary Frank Sturdivant Sledge.
Sledge said growing up and visiting this antebellum style house sparked the passion for preserving history he’s had for so many years.
“I was surrounded by the past,” Sledge said. “Old buildings, the town…. It still steers how we think and act today.”
The preface to the book, he said, describes his visits to the Georgia Cottage, also explaining the layout of the house, down to the furnishings.
“Everything had a story,” he said.
Throughout the rest of the book, he writes about other historical landmarks in the city, such as Barton Academy on Governor Street, describing the columns and rotundas in great detail.
Fascinated by the architecture, Sledge said, “What I like about this is that centuries of architectural history are on display.”
After the book talk, Sledge and the audience were invited to have refreshments, while Sledge signed books that were for sale.
Dwayne Cox, head of special collections in the library, said the book would be available in the special collections and archives, and also, would be on sale in the University Book Store.
The money from the books goes to the preservation of Barton Academy in Mobile, and other historical preservations. Sledge said he and Hagler would rather see the money go to a good cause, than to themselves.
He said doing this helps them to feel like they’re making a difference.
Megan Thomas, sophomore in psychology from Southern Union State Community College, said she visited the book talk for her speech class.
“I am supposed to observe a speech and write a paper on it,” Thomas said. “Hopefully it will make me more aware of what their saying and not just how they’re doing it.”
But although Thomas went to fulfill her class duties, she said she found Sledge to be very knowledgeable on Greek architecture.
“He seems very enthusiastic and willing to share and seems very passionate about it,” Thomas said.
Cox said this book talk was extremely special, considering Sledge is an Auburn graduate, has a daughter attending the University and comes from a long line of college graduates.
And not only that, Cox said, he’s familiar with all of Sledge’s books and has enjoyed every one of them.
“He’s a dedicated architectural historian,” Cox said. “He not only writes books that are of value to academics, but he also writes the kind of books the general public likes. He’s kind of an all-around guy.”