• Visit Half Moon Bay

History Comes Alive for Students and Public

Half Moon Bay, CA. Veterans weekend (November 8, 9, and 10th) will bring the National Civil War Association to the historic Johnston House on Higgins Canyon road. This historical re-enactment society specializes in bringing an important part of United States history alive for students and the public.  The encampment, at the Johnston House, who hosted this group from 1995-1997, is completely authentic to the period; the camps, cooking utensils, medical instruments, dress, children’s toys, weapons, etc. are a step back in time. These reenactors do not deviate from historic fact on any level. The National Civil War Association has been in existence since 1986.  Jon Nickerson, the current president says. “Our mission is to educate to prevent war, not encourage it.”
The Johnston House Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit), presides over the “salt box” home built by 49er pioneer, James Johnston in 1853 and his wife Petra Maria de Jara. The foundation rebuilt the fallen-down historic house over the years of 1986 to 1995. They then, authentically furnished it with many of the original pieces. The foundation keeps this historic house in good condition via fundraisers such as this. And, what a better fundraiser for the board of a historic house to plan than to bring alive a historical time-period studied by all our students?
There will be a Union Army Camp and a Confederate Camp set up exactly as they were in the 1860’s. This group of reenactors are divided by Army rank and duties. They have the cavalry, sharp shooters, medical teams, cooking stations, weapon specialists, and canon brigades, all to be examined by spectators and school children. Special instructive tours will be given to educate us on the way of life at that time.
The Sutlers will also have a separate camp. These are the merchants and peddlers who followed the battles providing wares and clothing to the soldiers. These tents are as fascinating as the soldier encampments.  The public is welcome to buy any of the wares that suit their fancy. You may see army jackets, ladies’ frocks and petticoats, bonnets, cooking utensils, cutlery, horse feeding canvas bags, journals, leather satchels and the like. They also sell books related the time.
The schedule of events is as follows:
Friday, Nov. 8 – School children from local schools will visit the camps. Students will have special tours through the camps and historic instruction between 9am-2pm
Saturday, Nov. 9 – Public hours are 9am-5pm.  Historic Battle Reenactment times at 10:30am and 2:30pm.
Sunday, Nov. 10 – Public hours are 9am-5pm.   A Victorian era Church service at 8:30am, with a choir and hymn books. There will be a special Veterans Day Memorial service and ceremony at 110:30am. The Historic Battle Reenactment will be at 1:30pm.
Admissions:  $15, Children 10-13 & Seniors - $10, under 10 – Free
Food Court and Wine and Beer booths –Sat. & Sun.
Absolutely no pets are allowed, it is not fair to the animal.
Bring your family for a truly unique historical experience. The Johnston House Foundation, in cooperation with the City of Half Moon Bay, would like to thank the generous sponsors who made this educational experience a reality. We thank our Grant sponsor: K&L Wines. Our Lee sponsors helped with infrastructure costs; Cameron’s Restaurant & Pub, JDM Financial, Jack McHugh, John Ryan & Associates, Accountants, and Consultants, Sam’s Chowder House, Angelini Insurance, Half Moon Bay Grading & Paving, Inc., Half Moon Bay Building & Garden, Inc., Andreini Bros., Inc. & Co., Ocean Colony Partners, Real Estate Funding, Pasta Moon, and Hassett Hardware.  And, a very special thank you to the School sponsor, Republic Services, making it possible to bring 300 Students from Half Moon Bay schools.  “There is nothing like making history come alive to stimulate a child’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning”, says Johnston House Foundation president, John Ryan.
The National Civil War Association (NCWA) is a not for profit reenacting organization dedicated to educating the public about the Civil War and the people involved.  Through living history displays and battle reenactment, life during this turbulent time is presented in a way that brings the public closer to an understanding of this pivotal point in our shared history.   Their educational program provides an opportunity for students to have dedicated and well researched reenactors paint a realistic picture of life during the war in a way that is very difficult to achieve in the classroom.  It is, in effect, a unique and entertaining open- air classroom with educators who are experts in this field of study. Their program seeks to enrich the knowledge of our past and perhaps spark an interest in the student that will carry over into the study of American and World history.