As local history books go, "Newport Beach 75 (1906-1981)," was a best seller.
The official Newport Beach history book was published in 1981 to commemorate the first 75 years of the city's incorporation and all 5,000 copies were sold.
But those who missed out are in luck because a new and improved version is now available, a joint project of the city of Newport Beach and the Newport Beach Historical Society.
"Newport Beach: the First Century (1888-1988)," a 343-page hard-bound volume with more than 400 color and black-and-white photographs, chronicles the city's beginnings from the days when lots on the peninsula sold for $200 to the present where the average Newport homestead goes for more than $430,000.
"I think we have taken the romance of the early struggling fishing village and projected it to the Gold Coast community of affluent Orange County," said journalist and long-time Newport Beach resident Jim Felton, who served as editor of both versions.
The new book, which also includes pen and ink illustrations by Mary Sofio of Newport Beach, features several new chapters and updated versions of previous chapters.
"This book is about 70 pages longer than the '81 version," Felton said. "Really, it's almost a new book."
Chapter authors include Ellen K. Lee, Bill Grundy, Agnes Blomquist, Joanne Reynolds, Judge Robert Gardner, Margot Skilling, Raymond L. Watson, Hilary Kaye (who also served as associate editor), Jim Sleeper, Tom Murphine, William P. Ficker, Jean Tandowsky, Tom Wilck, Hugh McMillan, James Dean, Bernard P. Desenberg, William E. Blurock, Walter Burroughs, Roger Bloom and T. Duncan Stewart. The forward is by Newport Beach Mayor John C. Cox Jr.
The book was launched at a wine and cheese reception hosted by the Newport Beach Historical Society at Sherman Gardens in Corona del Mar recently. Nearly 150 people, including the book's authors, members of the Historical Society and city officials, turned out.
It is available for $28.95 at all city of Newport Beach offices and local bookstores. Profits will go to the Newport Beach Historical Society.