Preparing the St. Nicholas Greek Church Exhibit and Researching Associated Veterans

This month I’d like to take you through the process of the months of preparation in order to open the 2022 Summer Exhibit – St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church – The First One Hundred Years.

Our Curator, Victoria Parker, had already been working with the Church committee regarding the photos, information, and items they would lend for the exhibit for the summer. They had an enormous amount of important and historical materials and together with photos and items from the Fenton archives, the story all came together. Many church members helped with proofreading and adding information as we went along.

As Project Coordinator of Vets Finding Vets, I had offered to highlight the Veterans of the Church. As the names were furnished by Elizabeth Fredericks, it became clear that the Veterans of St. Nicholas had been well appreciated all along. Some of the members had served in the Greek Army before coming to Jamestown, and some of those men stepped up again. On my end, the resources at the Research Center were so valuable in order to flesh out the military details of many of the Vets, especially those who have passed. An exceptional resource is the JHS Class of 1943 Honor Society Project using 5×7 cards for each JHS student who was serving our country that year. The students were dedicated to their mission to clip the soldier information and photos from the newspaper. (Some of us wish it had been a project for all of WWII, but I digress…) Another amazing source was an intended scrapbook which became too bulky to put together. The news blurbs and photos of each soldier serving throughout the war was painstakingly clipped by a student from Frewsburg. Every other scrapbook of WWII that I have seen doesn’t include everyone, usually just neighbors, friends, and other local students. Frances Dallas included men, women, and all races. 

Another important source for WWI through the current wars is the Chautauqua County Veterans Listing Project, which was collecting information from Veterans and their families in the late 1990’s, and we continue to add new info. We also used Jamestown City Directories, online newspapers, and individuals who knew the families helped in the search for photos of the Veterans. We will continue to add photos and new Vets as the info comes in.

At this moment, there are 59 Veterans under 26 different surnames. The notebook that the info is compiled in begins with PFC Andrew Lulas, who enlisted in the Army on Nov. 12, 1942 and was wounded and died on Oct. 15, 1943, in Italy.

It is a huge pleasure anytime we can use the Fenton collection and resources to help individuals or groups piece together their subject of interest. It was also a huge pleasure for me to bring to the surface this many local Veterans who have served our country.

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