History remembered | TheUnion.com
YOUR AD HERE »

History remembered

Plaque highlights historic communities of color

A bronze plaque placed at 330 Alexander St. in Nevada City commemorates the homesite of Preston Alexander, who along with his family were some of the first African American settlers in Nevada City in the mid-1850s. The plaque was unveiled earlier this week.
Photo: Elias Funez

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.



Linda Jack describes the nature of the Alexander family’s relationship with their neighbors.
Submitted to The Union

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.

Preston and his wife Louisa Alexander lived at the Nevada City homesite with their five children John, Mary Amelia, Horatio Henry, Louisa and Rosella Elizabeth. The family was well respected in the community.
Photo: Elias Funez

“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.

Bernard Zimmerman, of the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission, said he is excited to see other landmarks go up that highlight Nevada County’s intersectional culture.
Submitted to The Union

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.

A bronze plaque sits on a boulder at 330 Alexander St. in Nevada City commemorating the homesite of Preston Alexander, who along with his family were some of the first African American settlers in Nevada City in the mid-1850s.
Photo: Elias Funez

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com.


Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User