Hillsboro Celebrates WWI Role at Heritage Days

For this year’s Hillsboro Heritage Days, the town is going back 100 years to the fall of 1916 when the country was on the cusp of entering the war in Europe, known to us as World War I.

Loudouners, as all Americans at that time, contemplated whether to enter the war, then more than two years old and already the cause of millions of lives lost. President Woodrow Wilson’s re-election campaign was built around his pledge to stay out of the war, while his challenger, Charles Evans Hughes, urged Americans to be prepared for war.

In turning back the clock, the Sept. 29-Oct. 1 festival at the Old Stone School also will focus on the commonwealth’s then-new prohibition law and the debate over whether Virginian women should be allowed to vote.

During the week prior to Heritage Days, Hillsboro will be decorated with Wilson and Hughes campaign signs, pro- and anti-prohibition posters, and suffragist signs. Historical vignettes will take place on Thursday and Friday nights and on Saturday. Programs include a presentative by a war reporter returned from covering battles at Verdun and the Somme; appearances by “Wilson” and “Hughes;” and protests by local suffragists.

Friday night will feature a secret “Speakeasy” in town, where special cocktails will be served, along with music, dancing and food. Saturday’s Gaptoberfest features live music, local beer and wine, kids’ games, local artisans and historic displays and vignettes. Proceeds will benefit the preservation of the 1874 Old Stone School and support the new Hillsboro Charter Academy.

For details, go to the Hillsboro Heritage Day Facebook page.


Leave a Reply