See the Ozarks


seefrontbigSEE THE OZARKS: The Touristic Image

by Leland and Crystal Payton
$24.95; hardback; 8 x 10; 96 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9673925-1-9

What lured Victorian travelers to the Ozarks? Is the appeal of this fabled region the same today as it was in horse and buggy days? Leland and Crystal Payton, authors of 10 published books on popular culture, antiques, and the Ozarks, have searched for the essential image of this great touristic magnet in yesterday’s promotions, postcards, photographs, maps, and souvenirs. Most of the rare ephemera shown here has never before been reproduced in book form.

Tourism in the “Playgrounds of the Middle West” is an old and intriguing story. From the era of post Civil War sportsmen to the arrival of post World War II suburban families, the Ozarks has grown to be one of the nation’s most celebrated and visited attractions. Ozark tourism today is a multi-billion dollar business. SEE THE OZARKS chronicles this intriguing story.

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Society for Commercial Archeology Journal, Fall 2004

(See the Ozarks is) A little (95 pages) gem of a book…. The authors blend their own readable prose with information worth reading. And a uniquely high order it is; theirs is not dumbed down “picture book.” The Paytons understand very consciously the context in and about which they write. … it is clear that the authors … have kept up with the rapidly evolving academic literature on tourism. The Paytons have applied insights from that literature to their regional home and enriched them through observations possible only for sensitive regional residents. Their understanding is dedicated to their Ozarks home. Every page displays brochures, and/or historical photographs, maps, postcards—many of them rare and many of them from the authors’ private collection—that testify most obviously to the Payton’s capacity for evoking the tourists’ sense of place about the Ozarks.

Springfield News-Leader, June 22 2003

Book explores the style, delivery of images that touted the Ozarks over past 100 years.See the Ozarks: The Touristic Image explores the culture, art and commercialism of the Ozarks over the past 100 years through the advertisements that defined the area’s character to those who did not live here, and that in many ways still define how the region is perceived across America.

The Paytons are not academics. Their book doesn’t discuss the advertisements in terms of communication theory or stylistic modes of art. Instead, it relates their deep appreciation for and knowledge of this facet of Ozarks history. As longtime collectors of kitschy Ozarks memorabilia, hard-to-find printed items and antiques, the Paytons have a unique perspective on their subject.

St. Louis Post Dispatch, October 22, 2003
Say what you will about the four-foot-high rogue waves common at the Lake of the Ozarks, that esteemed body of water always has been a “powerboat paradise,” says Crystal Payton—and she would know.

With her husband, Len, Crystal Payton is the author of “See the Ozarks: The Touristic Image,” a new book that displays the couple’s collection of Ozark memorabilia. Among their treasures is a guidebook published in the 1930s by the Lake of the Ozarks Association that reads: “The Lake is credited with having more pleasure boats than any other inland body of water in the nation, except the great lakes. Every type of boat imaginable ply (sic) its water, a great fleet of private cruisers, houseboats, excursion and sightseeing craft of every description and thousands of fishing boats.”

Discover Mid-America

Nothing in the Midwest has gone through as many cultural transformations as the Ozarks—at least to people who visit there…

And tourism is a facet of the regional economy that survives the boom-and-bust cycles more typical of Ozark capital undertakings. See the Ozarks: The Tourist Image documents fascinating, and in parts, forgotten aspects of the region’s tourism industry in sharply written text and hundreds of photo illustrations—tourist pamphlets, magazine and railroad advertisements, movie posters, postcards, books, memorabilia, and stunning photos by photographer coauthor Leland Payton.