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Southlake Style

Southlake Historical Society Shines Light On The State's Impact On WWI

Jun 15, 2018 10:51AM ● By Ashley Madonna

Image courtesy of the City of Southlake

We all learned the significance of World War I in school, but did your textbooks include stories about Texas’ impact on the historic time period?

The Southlake Historical Society is showing locals just how much our state swayed the war in their upcoming exhibit, “The Yanks Are Coming: How Texans Helped Win the Great War.” From July 7 to August 30, locals can head over to the Town Hall lobby and the Southlake Library in Southlake Town Square to learn about the farmers, cowboys, tradesmen and small-town folk who fought and were affected by the war.

Nearly 200,000 Texans, including a small number of women, served in the armed forces during this time. And the exhibit will transport guests to the battlefields to learn more about these brave soldiers and the families they left behind to fight for their country. 

Patrons will learn about the Torian family. James Eli Torian, who grew up in rural Grapevine, fought and died on the first day of battle in France. Another Torian, Clint, survived the war and returned to the Dove community, which is now Southlake. In the 1940s, after the war had ended, he operated his own country store at Highway 114 and Carroll Avenue – right where Joe’s Pizza sits today. 

Uniforms and personal belongings from those in combat will be displayed alongside historic artifacts collected by Southlake Carroll grad Paul Porter. And recycled historic shell casings, spent bullets and other significant items have been repurposed to create personal art, jewelry and decorative items that will also be available for viewing.

The exhibit goes to show that it was not just soldiers who made a difference in the war. Citizens back home rose up to help their country.

“Like all Americans, Texans back home made sacrifices,” historian and archivist of the Southlake Historical society Anita Robeson says via press release. “They bought Liberty Bonds, supported the Red Cross, conserved food and, if a loved one fell, mourned.” 

And not only were personal lives impacted by the Great War but also the state’s economy and local businesses saw dramatic changes. The Fort Worth Stockyards became the largest equine market in the world during this time. And more than half of the U.S. military mobilization and training facilities for the war were located right here in the Lone Star State. 

So whether you are a history buff who wants to learn more about the local impact of the war or want to bring your kids out to let them see how the community rose up during this time, this exhibit is sure to impress.

The free exhibit will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday during its run. Guests are also invited to join society members for an exhibit reception on July 15 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. This is the fourth exhibit the Southlake Historical Society has put on in partnership with the city. For more information about this exhibit – or exhibits hosted in the past, visit the Southlake Historical Society’s website