In 1998, someone came into the Dunedin Historical Museum and asked the attendant if they had any information on a historical figure named "Dr. Blatchley."
Luckily, that attendant happened to be Vinnie Luisi, Dunedin Historical Society board member George Nigro explained to a large celebratory gathering of influential Dunedin residents and some elected officials at a private residence on Victoria Drive on Sunday evening before distributing the first of the 150 limited-edition, leather-bound editions of Blatchley's "My Nature Nook."
Although Luisi, who became museum curator, had never heard of Dr. W.S. Blatchley, his quest for answers eventually led to the discovery of the man's only surviving book (out of 13).
"That's how close we came to losing Dr. Blatchley to history," Nigro said.
Nigro was applauded for his instrumental role in preserving Blatchley's notes on the natural history of the vicinity of Dunedin, much of which Blatchley observed from near his home on what is now Weaver Park in the early 1900s.
Nigro explained how every page of the book was painstakingly photographed and even the leather on the limited-edition copies was matched to the color of the oak tree at Weaver Park.
He presented the City of Dunedin with the first edition for posterity and Margaret Burnside and Aaron Fodiman with the second edition for their help with the years-long project.
Commissioners Ron Barnette, Julie Scales and Heather Gracy were in attendance.
Barnette, who portrayed the ghost of Dr. Blatchley in a City of Dunedin TV promo, said the project is a testament to never giving up, even when people say something can't be done.
Less than 60 copies of the limited edition "My Nature Nook" book remain, according to Nirgo's latest Local Voices blog. They are on sale for $107. Paperbound editions are available for $27.
To purchase a book, visit the Dunedin Historical Museum or call 727-736-1176.