Winoca Books & Media studio, Lubbock, Texas
Winoca Books & Media:
History of a publishing house
In the early 1900s, the port city of Wilmington was still North Carolina’s largest municipality. Ships docked on the Cape Fear River, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad transported freight and passengers, and a new streetcar shuttled riders from downtown to the beach eight miles out.
Along the trolley route, suburbs of gracious homes and small business sprang up. The first of these, Carolina Place and Carolina Heights, were built in the opening decade of the new century. Soon a third development was laid out in the gently sloping tracts bounded by 13th and 17th Streets on the west and east, Market on the south, and Oakdale Cemetery on the north. Its creators sponsored a statewide competition to name the new neighborhood.
An eleven-year-old girl won with the simple but elegant suggestion "Winoca Terrace," employing a shortened form of Wilmington, North Carolina.
Winoca Press was founded in that early twentieth-century district in 2004, in an antebellum coastal cottage said to have been moved by rail in 1917 from Pender County to its present site and later expanded to two stories. The Marshall House on North 16th Street, former home of a writer for the Wilmington Morning Star who was also one of the founders of the Wilmington Public Library, was an especially appropriate space for us. Among our neighbors were authors, actors, artists, musicians, professors, and the chancellor of the university—not to mention the benevolent ghosts of centuries past. We considered it an auspicious beginning.
In the same spirit of community heritage and appreciation for fine craft, Winoca Press set out to publish books of regional or niche interest and to bring works of historical, informational, and literary merit to discerning readers. Our aim was to combine tradition and technology in the rapidly changing arena of book publishing.
It wasn’t lost on us that our name also carried another meaning. In 1818 the writer and frontier explorer Henry R. Schoolcraft, traveling through the Ozark region, discovered a cave rich with geological formations. He named it Winoca, an Osage word meaning “underground spirit.”
While we hadn’t really thought of ourselves as an underground operation, we did follow a westering impulse: we loaded up the Conestoga with the studio, the bindery, and all the books and wound up in landlocked West Texas. Here in Lubbock, home of the Red Raiders, we are situated in another historic neighborhood. We have plenty of open space for expansion, and the dry climate is kind to works made of paper.
Outside the Press’s door grow wizened grapevines and a bountiful plum tree. In the cool courtyard on its north side, a fig tree and an herb garden thrive. We built an arbor for shade and a brick terrace for access to the vegetable patch.
So again we find ourselves, at the five-year mark, in eminently suitable quarters, surrounded by good people who appreciate good books. Our expanded imprints reflect a growing diversity of publishing interests and a varied roster of talented authors.
You can still find us in North Carolina from time to time. But you can always find us on the Web, at our new (and old) name, www.winoca.com. Stop by anytime. Have a seat in the courtyard and try some homemade grape jelly. We’re always ready take a break and talk with writers and book lovers.