This article was contributed by Susan Echaore-McDavid with the San Benito County Historical Society.
In commemoration of Veterans Day, the Wapple House Museum in Hollister will have an Open House on Sunday, Nov. 10 from 1-4 p.m. Everyone is welcome to this free event that will feature displays about the San Benito County men who served in World War I.
The historical museum, run by the San Benito County Historical Society, is located at 498 Fifth Street next to the public library in downtown Hollister.
Among the World War I artifacts and photographs on exhibit will be photographs of the third contingent of local WWI draftees who left Hollister on the morning of Sept. 21, 1917.
Over 2,000 men, women, and children lined the streets and gathered at the train depot to offer best wishes to the 41 young men bound for basic training at Fort Lewis in Washington.
The San Benito County Historical Society invites the public to help identify the faces in the photos.
Altogether, more than 250 young men from San Benito County served in the U.S. military during World War I, which the United Stated entered on April 6, 1917 when it declared war on Germany. Over 110 of the local men were drafted into the Army in 1917.
In March 1918, the Hollister Free Lance reported that at least 22 of the drafted soldiers were fighting on the front lines in Europe, as part of the American Expeditionary Forces. The majority of the local service men were either training at domestic military camps, such as Ft. Lewis in Washington, or serving at U.S. forts and camps throughout the United States and territories, at the time, of Hawaii and the Philippines.
Museum visitors will also be treated to a new display featuring a girls orphanage in Belgium called Home Hollister. It was established in 1918 with funds raised by the local Belgium Relief Committee headed by Jane McCloskey Wapple. Mrs. Wapple and her husband George Wapple, the chairman of the county WWI draft board, were the original residents of the house that today is home to the local historical museum.
For more information about the free Nov. 10 Open House, go to the San Benito County Historical Society webpage at https://www.sbchistoricalsociety.org/events.html.