Plaque highlights historic communities of color
Ten people gathered this week to unveil a plaque of one of Nevada City’s first Black settlers, Preston Alexander.
Born in Virginia, Alexander settled with his wife Louisa Alexander in 1854 in Nevada City.
Bernard Zimmerman, of the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission, said this plaque is just one opportunity to highlight the region’s historic “ethnic” communities.
Zimmerman said after the landmark commission approved the idea, Linda Jack of the Nevada County Historical Society obtained funding to produce the plaque.
The historical society’s former commissioner Steve Fry is the “plaque installer extraordinaire” who provided and installed the plaque.
Zimmerman said his group is looking at other historic sites associated with various ethnic communities.
“In the pipeline, the sites that are being included are the African Methodist Episcopal churches in Grass Valley and Nevada City,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said Hirschman’s Pond is a potential site to commemorate both the Jewish community in general and the Jewish miners.
Zimmerman also mentioned the Kentucky Ridge Mine colony, which was settled by enslaved Black men and women along Deer Creek in 1851.
“There’s the Nisenan Medicine Rock,“ Zimmerman added, ”and the Chinese rail workers that helped build Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad. There’s a lot coming.“
Jack said she was grateful for the opportunity to highlight the Alexanders’ home.
“We were able to track this property all the way through the 20th century when the 1928 home was built,” Jack said. “This was a really unique opportunity to have a well documented site.“
Jack said Louisa and Preston Alexander were highly regarded in the community.
“Six of the seven pallbearers at Louisa’s funeral were white, prominent businessmen in Nevada City,” Jack said.
Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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