The MACC Celebrates Mather’s Centennial

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG)  |  Story by Trina L. Drotar, Photos courtesy Cordova Community Council
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“Century of Service – 100th Anniversary of Mather Field” will run for two weeks from September 5 through September 15. For additional information, visit www.rcmacc.org.

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Carl Spencer Mather

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Mather is celebrating a milestone as it turns 100 this year. To help ring in another century of service, the Cordova Community Council has planned a two week feast for art and music lovers and history buffs at the Mills Art and Culture Center (MACC), which opened in February at the Mather Field/Mills Station light rail location. The celebration kicks off with a grand opening reception on Wednesday, September 5 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. providing the first look at “Century of Service – 100th Anniversary of Mather Field.” The exhibit includes memorabilia, artifacts, art, music, and 48 life-size historical timeline boards designed by graphic artist Mark Loper.

“Bob Martinelli, the last commander at Mather, worked really tirelessly to put together some historical boards that take us through WWI, WWII, the Cold War, and into its commercial airport status as it is now,” said Cheryl Gleason, MACC event coordinator.

Exhibit items will move to the California Capital Air Show, which opens after the MACC events close, providing nearly a full month of celebration for Mather and its impact on the United States military and the Sacramento region.

“We’ve also partnered with the Aerospace Museum of California over at McClellan,” she said. “They have lent us some original uniforms and mannequins. I have a Tuskegee Airman in a sort of jumpsuit with a parachute on board. We have a WAC uniform,” referring to the Women’s Army Corps. The uniforms, she added, will illustrate style changes from early United States Army Air Corps through its transition to the United States Air Force.

Photos of the Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” biplane being towed down Folsom Blvd. are among the many items that have been collected for the exhibit. Gleason has a bottle of wine from Mather, an old wooden plane prop, and several items from Center for Sacramento History. Newspaper clippings and photos of social events will complement and expand on Mather’s significance.

The exhibit promises to highlight the contributions of artist Wayne Thiebaud, who began doing nose art and cartoons while stationed at Mather. Theibaud was one of many artists associated with Mather through its history. Mather’s role as a training academy for male and female navigators was critical. The base housed the only flying classrooms outside of Texas for cadet training.       

“I think it’s going to be a great tribute to the times and the history of Mather,” said Gleason.

James Scott, Sacramento Public Library’s Sacramento Room reference librarian, will give two talks during the ten day event. The first, “Panoramic History of Mather AFB,” is scheduled for September 6 from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. The second, on September 13, will focus on Mather’s role during WWI. Scott was praised by Gleason for his contributions to the exhibit. She is also excited that George Hudson, a Rancho Cordova resident who is an original Tuskegee Airman, will speak on September 15 about his experience and remembering the African American aviators who fought during WWII.

The gallery will open at 3 p.m. on September 7, and the RC Swing Band will perform “Fabulous Forties,” a tribute to the sounds of the 1940s, from 6:30 – 7:30 on the patio. A Mather reunion, “Silver Wings Saturday,” takes place on September 8 from noon to 5 p.m. with complimentary hot dogs until 2 p.m.

“Everything will happen at the MACC,” said Gleason. “It is such a convenient place. If you live in downtown Sac, just jump on the light rail and you’re right there at the doorstep.”

“Century of Service – 100th Anniversary of Mather Field” will run for two weeks from September 5 through September 15. The gallery will be open three days each week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Gallery and event hours vary. For additional information, visit http://www.rcmacc.org/. If you go: 10191 Mills Station Road, Rancho Cordova, CA.