“’Over There’ Comes to Main Street: Loudoun and the First World War, 1917-18,” Next in the Lovettsville Historical Society Lecture Series (11/18/2018)

On Sunday afternoon November 18, 2018 at 2:00 pm, the Lovettsville Historical Society will contribute to Virginia and Loudoun’s centennial commemoration of the First World War with an engaging program by well-known local historian Richard Gillespie entitled “Over There” Comes to Main Street: Loudoun County and the First World War, 1917-18.”  

C-4b7--Loudoun's Governor Westmoreland Davis buying War Savings Stamps, 1918
Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis, resident of Loudoun County, buying War Savings Stamps, 1918.

“The First World War is in many ways largely forgotten a hundred years later,” says Rich Gillespie, “And perhaps that makes sense. It has been subsumed by World War II and a host of later events. But unfortunately, the First World War and its aftermath have much to teach us, and is forgotten at our peril.”  Gillespie, who most heavily deals with Loudoun and regional history, thinks that viewing World War I through a different lens might be helpful in coming to terms with it. “Loudoun has one of the best-preserved town and country historical landscapes in the nation because of our many intense local preservation efforts in the face of burgeoning growth,” according to Gillespie. “Our historic landscape allows us to tell the experience of Loudouners coming to grips with many events, from the American Revolution through the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. These still-extant local buildings and places saw the First World War, too, and many stories can be found and told using them to bring alive this time in our history. That’s what we’ll do here.”


The objective of the program is to foster interest, discussion, reminiscences from family, bonding with our local landscape, and above all, sufficient curiosity to learn more about this time period and its lessons. “After all, you may need a short break from the siege mentality provided by our current history,” jokes Gillespie. “Using a Loudoun angle to explore the early 20th century, the coming of the long-predicted Great War, America’s natural reluctance to become involved in such a violent monstrosity, how events were seen in Loudoun as the war progressed, and how Americans were massively impacted when we did declare war brings us far more close to the story,” he says. “Once you know a story about a place, that place and the event it’s linked to become inseparable in the mind. That story will get retold when you pass by, odds are,” predicts Gillespie. “And if you’re new here to Loudoun, you’ll get a better sense of who we’ve been and how we’ve changed in a century. That helps you to become more a part of the community.”


Richard Gillespie is the Historian Emeritus for the Mosby Heritage Area Association, a retired career U.S. history teacher at Loudoun Valley High School, former National Park Ranger, and a well-known historian, educator, and story-teller in local circles. He has spoken to the Lovettsville Historical Society six times previously and currently serves on its Board of Directors.

Richard Gillespie, local historian emeritus.
Richard Gillespie, local historian emeritus.

The program, a part of the Lovettsville Historical Society’s monthly lecture series, will be held the third Sunday in November rather than the customary second Sunday due to the many events being held on November 11th, the one-hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day.


As always, the presentation will be held at St. James United Church of Christ, 10 East Broadway, Lovettsville, VA 20180.  Googlemap the lecture venue at https://goo.gl/maps/nJF9eXNm5a12.


While no admission fee is charged, donations are encouraged, as well as membership in the Lovettsville Historical Society to aid in its educational activities and sustain its museum one block from the church. All are welcome.


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The Lovettsville Historical Society is a nonprofit organization that relies entirely on volunteer help.  Support our mission to preserve and protect the history of Lovettsville, The German Settlement, and our unique corner of Loudoun County, Virginia.    

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* The Lovettsville Historical Society, Inc. is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code.  Contributions and membership dues are tax deductible under Internal Revenue Code Section 170.