Theater and history lovers gathered in front of the Nevada Theatre Sunday morning for the unveiling and dedication of a plaque honoring Sally Lewis, installed by the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission. Speakers included Niel Locke, Nevada City Clerk who recently retired after 25 years of service on the Landmarks Commission; Paul Emery, musician and promoter of Nevada City Live concerts; Charlie Jakobs, another longtime member of the Landmarks Commission and Paul Matson, friend of Sally’s. All spoke of her importance in spearheading the effort to save from demolition important historic buildings such as the Nevada Theatre and Ott’s Assay Office. She also helped establish the Nevada City Historic District. Jane Primrose, President of the Nevada Theatre Commission, unveiled the plaque and read the tribute to Sally: “This plaque is dedicated to Sara “ Sally “ Lewis (1914) the preservation pioneer of Nevada City and Nevada County.

Jane Primrose unveils the plaque with Priscilla van der Pas and Niel Locke looking on

Sally and Dr. Leland Lewis retired to Nevada City in 1963 from Bakersfield. Sally was a charter member of the Nevada City Liberal Arts Commission formed to save the Nevada Theatre from demolition. The Theatre’s 100th anniversary in 1965 was celebrated with a locally produced play “ Golden Days “, a gala Dinner and Ball to establish the building fund which led to the preservation of the Nevada Theatre.

Sally was a founding member and the First Chair of the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission created by the Board of Supervisors in April 1969. She served as Chair until 1983, during which time over 30 landmarks were registered on the County, State, Federal preservation lists.

Sally was honored at the Landmarks Commission’s 50th anniversary celebration in April, 2019. Ed Tyson, curator of the Searls Library, said of Sally,” If we took the people involved in Nevada City, Nevada County and rated them 1 through 10 for their effectiveness, I would rate her as a 10 “.

Sally passed away in March of 2000 and is buried in the North Columbia Cemetery beside husband Leland  and son Chris.”

Niel Locke and Paul Emery


The Nevada Theatre is featured in the Commission’s interactive map and its book Exploring Nevada County, a guide to all the County’s historical landmarks. The book is available in electronic format for any smartphone or tablet from Apple or Amazon. Go to You Bet Press ( to find clickable links.

Prefer paper? Go to Comstock Bonanza Press (

The purpose of the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission is to promote the general welfare of Nevada County and its citizens through official recognition, recording, marking, preserving and promoting the historical resources of Nevada County.  For more information, please call 415-264-7230.