Hamilton: Thank you, for helping us party like it’s 1864 | TheUnion.com
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Hamilton: Thank you, for helping us party like it’s 1864

The Union photo/John Hart
John R. Hart | The Union

Celebrating with 400 or so of our closest friends, readers, advertisers and former employees, September’s 150th Anniversary Open House at The Union was an absolute blast.

But truth be told, as many of you are well aware, we’ve been partying like it’s 1864 since January.

It’s not every day that your business gets a chance to celebrate its sesquicentennial year, and with that in mind, we saw The Union’s 150th literally as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reconnect with our community and to reaffirm our relevant role within it.



Although yours truly has been absolutely fascinated with the history of the newspaper itself — seriously, The Union was started, and almost ended, by a guy named “Lyin’ Jim” all within a nine-day period — we saw this more as a community-wide celebration.

And so, all departments of The Union pulled together to embark on a year-long party honoring both The Union and the community it has been connecting for 150 years.




One Saturday each month we’ve published a special edition, focusing on one aspect of the community’s history on the front page, followed by four full pages of historical content.

From the birth of The Union and the gold rush, to the ’60s development of our large residential communities and our local video tech boom, we’ve followed the history of our community in a 10-part series.

Each month included features on local businesses — most of which are our longest and most supportive advertisers — as well as Then & Now photos, stories behind Nevada County’s namesakes and a time line of events.

If you missed an edition, copies are available at The Union, or visit TheUnion.com/150 to view the special anniversary stories.

Each of our monthly special editions were presented to readers in an “old-time” advertising wrap, offering our customers a chance to run some fun “old-time” ads and reaffirm their own longevity in the community.

Each wrap has been topped with a flag that formerly flew above page one, from Grass Valley Daily Union, Morning Daily Union to, simply, The Union.

In September, we took some of the top stories from our special editions and republished them in a special publication “The Union – Capturing the History of Nevada County for One Hundred Fifty Years.”

A copy of the publication was delivered to all subscribers, in addition to still being available for $3 per copy at The Union office.

November will see our Grass Valley’s Del Oro Theatre premiere “Golden Stories of Our Past,” a full-length documentary film produced by a filmmaker Zoe Toffaleti to sit down with members of longtime families and discuss their memories of the community.

We shared some of the clips from the filming at our 150th Open House, teasing to the event next month.

Throughout the course of our 150th year festivities, the most impressive aspect has been the support shown by the community for The Union.

Not only was it evident by the actual attendance by those on hand for our open house celebration, but also through the kind acts volunteered to us by members of the community.

Those of us charged with carrying The Union’s commitment to connecting our county into its next 150 years have been humbled by the community’s participation.

We thank you for your continued support in recognizing the important role the newspaper fills in serving you and all who live, work and play here.

Assemblyman Brian Dahle and State Sen. Ted Gaines brought forth a joint resolution from the state of California honoring both The Union, and photographer John Hart. Local brewery Ol’ Republic created a special brew, using ingredients that would have been available locally at the time of The Union’s birth, to honor the paper with bottles labeled as a special anniversary lager “1864.”

And E Clampus Vitus, a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of the heritage of the American West, presented The Union with a beautifully polished boulder from the Red Ledge Mine from the nearby little town of Washington, and repositioned the brass plaque it had presented to the paper at its 100th anniversary in 1964, which reads:

“Of the many historic newspapers started in the Northern Mines of the Great Mother Lode during the famous Gold Rush era, only The Union of Grass Valley and Nevada City emerged a successful daily published for 100 years.

“Born in critical times — Civil War and presidential election — The Union has ever strived for unity and has evolved an independent voice supporting man and measure over partisanship.

“The Union is only the seventh daily newspaper in California to celebrate its centennial under the original name. Centennial date – October 28, 1964.”

This month, E Clampus Vitus, (aka “the Clampers”) will add an addendum to the boulder positioned at the front steps of The Union. That new plaque will read:

“In recognition of The Union’s 150 years of bringing truth to light and connecting the communities of Nevada County. Dedicated Oct. 28, 2014.”

Brian Hamilton is editor at The Union. Contact him at bhamilton@theunion.com or 530-477-4249.


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