Linda Jack: Vacancies an opportunity to celebrate Nevada County history
As a resident of downtown Grass Valley, I can identify with the entry in The Union’s Hits & Misses column of Sept. 14, concerning the empty stores in Grass Valley.
On behalf of the Nevada County Historical Society, I would like to recommend a relatively easy and low-cost solution to the problem. How about filling the empty storefront windows with historic images of our town?
The Searls Historical Library has over 25,000 digitized images of Nevada County; a substantial number are of Grass Valley. Our collection may include a photo of the empty building, but if not there are many scenes of Mill Street and Main Street, photos of our local citizens in their best attire, street parades, interior scenes and the like. We also have many charming images of our 19th and early 20th century citizens at play in the days before we became too jaded for frivolity. Although we may wonder what on earth they were they up to, it is clear they were having a fine time indeed.
Our local population in all its diversity is represented in the collection as well, so using these photos as public display would give us an opportunity to celebrate all of our pioneers rather than relying on just a few of the standard Gold Rush “types” such as the grizzled miner who is trotted out on every occasion.
For those fond of scenic views we have images of the local mountains, rivers, streams and vistas. For anyone interested in our industrial history we have thousands of photos from mining, aviation, logging and ranching.
Windows could be focused on a season or an event. We have images of early Fourth of July and Presentation Day parades, snow scenes and Christmas interiors, picnics, dances, races, swimming parties, etc.
A digital copy of a photo costs only $20, and Real Graphic, located at 749 Maltman Drive, would be happy to print large indoor posters up to 54 inches wide, and of any length, for only $3.85 a square foot.
All of the Searls images are digitized and can be viewed on computer at the History Center at 161 Nevada City Highway, Nevada City. Hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Our phone number is 530-265-5910. Director Pat Chesnut, or one of the volunteers, would be happy to introduce you the collection.
Linda K. Jack lives in Grass Valley.
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“There is a cult of ignorance in this country … nurtured by the false notion that ‘my ignorance is as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov, 1980.