Italian Show At Courthouse Could Be Best Yet

By JOHN M. DERBY
Times Publisher
June 1, 2017

If you have not seen the exhibit on the Italians of Merced County, now on display at the Merced County Courthouse Museum, then do it now.
It may be the best exhibit of its kind ever displayed at the local museum.
It fills up three rooms with hundreds of pictures and it tells the story of those who fulfilled the American Dream.
Many of the local Italians, who first came to Merced County in the early 1900s, had little more than the the coats on their backs, and a name pinned to the front with the town they were headed for.
They spoke no English and some might have been lucky enough to have a relative waiting for them when they got off the train in this strange land.
They took whatever jobs were available; yard work, house cleaning, child care, farm work and caring for dairy cows. The pay was poor, however, they were happy to be in a country where there was an opportunity to improve their lives.
They stuck together, helping each other through the hardship, and they shared their food and whatever they had.
They married other Italians as well as some people who were not Italian. They sang and danced and built their own Italian Hall where they reminisced about the Old Country. They had a lot of pride in being Italian and starting with nothing.
In time, they became successful and their names are among the leaders in this community. They were elected to a variety of offices , served as County Sheriff, members of the City Council, and the Board of Supervisors.
All of this is part of the pictorial history of Italians in Merced County, and it did not just happen, it took hours of volunteer time, as well as staff time, to provide this outstanding exhibit.
Congratulations to the Merced County Historical Society, and all those who took part in bringing this impressive exhibit to the museum.
It should not be missed.
The hours the museum is open are: Wednesday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Museum is located in the historic Merced County Courthouse at 21st and N Streets, Merced.


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