Thursday, September 20, 2018

Southlake Historical Society to Honor Local WWI Heroes with Exhibit and Reception

The Historical Society’s upcoming Town Hall exhibit tells the stories of farmers, cowboys, tradesmen and other small-town Texans who fought in one of the most significant wars in modern history.

During World War I, nearly 200,000 Texans served in the armed forces. “The Yanks Are Coming: How Texans Helped Win the Great War” will take you to the battlefields and into the hearts of the families left behind. The free exhibit can be seen July 7 through August 30 in the Town Hall lobby and the Southlake Library (1400 Main Street). Exhibit hours are as follows:

Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

The public is invited to join the Southlake Historical Society for a free exhibit reception with music and refreshments on Sunday, July 15, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Town Hall lobby.

WWI Texas Soldier

Image courtesy of the Texas Historical Commission

“When the U.S. entered the war in 1917,” said Anita Robeson, historian and archivist of the Southlake Historical Society, “nearly 1 million Texans registered for the draft. More than 5,000 died in battle or of disease. Like all Americans, Texans back home made sacrifices. They bought Liberty Bonds, supported the Red Cross, conserved food and, if a loved one fell, mourned.”

World War I was a windfall for Texas business. The Fort Worth Stockyards became the largest equine market in the world. More than half of the U.S. military’s mobilization and training facilities for the war were in Texas. “Texas became a place on the map,” Robeson said.

Accompanying the exhibit will be authentic WWI items collected by Southlake Carroll grad Paul Porter, who became intrigued with WWI at age 11 after reading a book he found in study hall. On display in the Library will be the uniform and personal belongings of a combat infantryman, gas masks, helmets, hats, assorted medals, a U.S. field radio and “trench art.” Soldiers and prisoners of war frequently recycled shell casings, spent bullets and other refuse to create personal art, jewelry and decorative items such as ornately-carved artillery shells and painted helmets.

“We have partnered with the Southlake Library for several years now during our exhibits,” said Connie Cooley, president of the Southlake Historical Society. “The Library opens their doors to us so we can extend our exhibit area and showcase more memorabilia, books and art.” Visit the Southlake Library’s website to learn more about their programs, events and collaborations.

For more information about the Southlake Historical Society and their upcoming WWI exhibit, visit www.SouthlakeHistory.org.

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