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Effects of WWII on Nevada County

In 2005, Pat Andrews wrote an article about some of the effects that World War II had on Nevada County, giving an interesting glance at what life used to be like in the county and how it has changed over the decades. According to Andrews, the US government regularly sent trains full of soldiers from the north and equipment to Boughton during the war. The US cavalry still rode horses in battle at the time, so places to keep the horses were built in Boughton, along with a cavalry battalion. There were not enough army camps in the area, so troops trained in in the woods and river banks and slept on the ground. Both Black and white soldiers were drafted, but the military was still segregated.

In the early 1940s, the population of Prescott was around 5,000, and there were many options for entertainment in the city. Nevada County was still a wet county, so there were many honky-tonks and places to dance. Andrews notes that while the men were at war, their wives and girlfriends entertained the soldiers that had been stationed in the area. There were also two movie theaters in town that were busy on Saturdays and three pool halls, among other things.

One major change that took place during wartime was the consolidation of the country schools, which lead to more people in Prescott becoming public workers instead of farmers. Many acres of land that were once small farms have been bought by timber companies and large farmers. The city’s population is now much lower, and Andrews attributes this to decreasing average family size and many young people moving elsewhere for better paying jobs.

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