According to Roger Mitchell of the Sierra Historic Sites Association, the resumption of its once popular ‘First Friday Lecture Series,’ is back.
Located in the old Cunningham School at the Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park, the series begins Feb. 2 with guest speaker Tony Krizan, a columnist at the Sierra Star.
The free series was extremely successful in the past, with a large turn out and an abundance of talented speakers, but do to circumstances it was put on hold.
“The program had to be temporarily halted because our meeting place, a century old school house, had serious damage to the floor and front porch area,” says Mitchell. “The lecture series was run by our librarian and our historian. When they married and moved to another community, this program fell by the wayside.”
Krizan, an avid hiker and lover of history, will deliver the first lecture on his decade long quest to find five P-40 fighter aircraft crash sites, one just a few miles north of Bass Lake, that belonged to a training squadron from 1941.
“This is forgotten history. Two men and five planes were lost in the sierras two weeks before World War II. This historic tragedy was over shadowed by the greater pending war,” say Krizan.
The last P-40 that went down that day crashed near Bass Lake. The site is about 60 yards off of Forest Road 6S08, at a point easily marked by the remnants of the plane’s engine block, and a stone memorial that was placed by the deceased pilot’s family.
Mitchell hopes the lectures will eventually blossom into a two day event come mid-year. Mitchell states that the board of directors are “enthusiastic and very supportive and depending on the public’s interest, we are considering augmenting our Friday night lectures with a Saturday morning field trip during the summer months.”
The public is invited to attend these free events. Many of the guest-speakers are published authors, who will bring books for autographs and at the end of each lecture there will be time for questions and answers for the audience.
The doors will open at 6:00 p.m., with the program starting at 6:30 p.m. The lectures will be about an hour long.
The lecturer scheduled for Mar. 2 is Brenda Negley. Her program will include Negley’s personal history with Nelder Grove and a presentation about the recent devastation of the grove in the Railroad Fire.