This nostalgic poster offered a compelling message to think worldwide, and get involved. It’s part of the WWI memorabilia that will be on display at 206 W. Main St. in the window gallery. Photo courtesy of Library of CongressBy Courtney Ferguson
“Although epic battles such as the Somme and Flanders Fields were far away,
World War I had a profound impact on our local history and vice versa,” said program manager and historian Linda K. Jack. “As the world commemorates the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day (November 11th, 1918), the Nevada County Historical Society and its partners will present a series of lectures, exhibits and a concert, all designed to increase awareness of the war’s impact on our community, as well as our community’s impact on the war.”
Four timely lectures that bring the past to life
The lecture series begins on Thursday, October 18th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Sierra Presbyterian Church, 175 Ridge Rd., Nevada City. Linda Jack’s presentation, “Lest We Forget: Remembering Nevada County’s Men and Women of World War I” takes a candid look at this turbulent time. Imagine local boys who had never ventured outside their community suddenly being transported to China, Siberia and Western Europe. Hosted by the Nevada County Historical Society, Jack will share the almost-forgotten stories of the fallen and the survivors – and how their courage changed our community forever.
“The Yanks are Coming,” will be presented by well-known history author Gage McKinney on Sunday, November 4th from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the North Star House, 12075 Auburn Rd., Grass Valley. McKinney will explore the memorable life of William Hague, the young manager of the North Star gold mine. His specialist expertise took him to France in 1916, where he served with other mining engineers. Their combined skills helped alter the course of the war – and changed world history. Hosted by the North Star Historic Conservancy, a $10 donation is requested.Gage McKinney (537e) How did local mining expertise help change the outcome of WWI? History author Gage McKinney, one of the presenters, will explain in his presentation, “The Yanks are Coming” on November 4th. Photo by Ilka Weber
“The Impact of World War 1 on the Formation of the Modern Middle East” is scheduled for Friday, November 9th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church, 175 Ridge Rd., Nevada City. Marwan D. Hanania, PhD., Assistant Professor of History, San Diego Mesa College, will explore the relationship between WWI and the Middle East, where America’s soldiers still fight today. Hosted by the Nevada County Historical Society, Hanania has many fascinating facts to share.
“Soldiers Unknown-A Graphic Novel of California’s Native Americans in WWI” will take place on Saturday, November 17th from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Doris Foley Historical Library, 211 N. Pine St., Nevada City. Presented by Northern Californian author and filmmaker Chag Lowry, his presentation will highlight many real-life experiences included in his book of Native California soldiers who served in the 91st Infantry Division during World War I. Hosted by the Nevada County Library and Nevada County Historical Society, Lowry will share a meaningful, personal perspective.
Plus exhibits – and a concert
In addition to these lectures, the Eric Rood Administrative Center in Nevada City will feature an exhibit entitled “Wake up, America! Nevada County During World War I” that will run from November 1st through December 31st. During the month of November, the Madelyn Helling Branch of the Nevada County Library (also in Nevada City) will feature an exhibit called “Humanitarians on the Home Front,” that pays tribute to Grass Valley’s
Frances Jones and her noteworthy humanitarian wartime work. “The Art of War – 1914-1919: A Window Gallery of the Poster Art of World War I” will showcase some of the dynamic posters that rallied our nation. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Grass Valley Historical Commission and the Nevada County Historical Society, the windows of a currently-vacant storefront will be transformed into a nostalgic gallery at 206 W. Main St., Grass Valley. This exhibit will run throughout November.
A concert entitled “Music to Unite a Nation: Songs of World War I and The Story of Ernestine Schumann-Heink,” will be held on Saturday, November 10th. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the concert begins at 7:00 p.m.at the Foothill Events Center, 400 Idaho Maryland Rd., Grass Valley. Light refreshments will be provided, and there will be a no-host bar. Sponsored by Music in the Mountains, Camerata California, Nevada County Historical Society, InConcert Sierra, Center for the Arts, The Union, KVMR and KNCO, the concert is a tribute to the spirit of the times. Tickets are $25each for General Admission, and are free for Veterans. With limited seating available, veterans should go online and register for their free tickets early. To purchase tickets or for more information, call (530) 265-6124, visit www.musicinthemountains.org, or visit the Box Office at 530 Searls Avenue, Nevada City, open Tuesday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
“While the entire world remembers Armistice Day, plenty is planned here in Nevada County,” Jack added. “This series is a well-timed way to learn about our community's involvement in the most important event of the 20th century, and how it shaped our local history forever. Since most of the lectures and all of the exhibits are free, we’re encouraging people to take full advantage of this once-in-a-century opportunity.” “Over Here: Nevada County’s Experience of World War I” is funded by a grant from California Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
The Bennetts were local lads who served their country in France. Linda Jack will share their story during the first lecture on October 18th.
Photo courtesy of Sears Library
Courtney Ferguson is a public relations consultant and a freelance writer.