New Chris Stevens Arch in downtown Grass Valley

This weekend locals and family members dedicated the Chris Stevens Arch on Mill Street in downtown Grass Valley.

As the Grass Valley Downtown Association reports:

“J. Christopher ‘Chris’ Stevens, died abroad in the service of his country. His service to the United States as a diplomat and public servant has been recognized worldwide.

“Chris was a fourth generation Grass Valleyan. He loved Grass Valley and dreamed of retiring there. Chris’s service as U.S. Ambassador to Libya was a final assignment in a career dedicated to public service and fostering international understanding.

“After a stint in the Peace Corps in Morocco and a law practice based on international trade law, he joined the U.S. Foreign Service, serving in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Libya, where he was appointed U.S. Ambassador.

“Chris took pains to learn the language of each country in which he served and relate to the people there. In turn, they responded warmly to his friendliness and lack of affectation.

“As his father said, ‘Chris was successful because he embodied the traits that have always endeared America to the world — a commitment to democratic principles and respect for others regardless of race, religion or culture.’

“In a recent article in The New York Times author and columnist Roger Cohen wrote that Chris ranked among those in the State Department “for whom the word noble would not be displaced.”

“When Chris died in Libya, 30,000 Libyans took to the streets to mourn his loss and disarm those they believed were responsible for his death. Nations and individuals all over the world have expressed their respect for his work and achievements. Major institutions and organizations have taken steps to honor him.

“Chris loved Grass Valley and his roots here are deep. He was born in Grass Valley and buried with his ancestors in the old cemetery. His gravesite is covered with flags and other tributes, mostly from people who didn’t know him but wanted to express their sympathy and gratitude for his work.

“Chris’s great great grandparents, miner William and wife Ann Stevens, emigrated from Cornwall. Their son, Chris’s great grandfather John James, also a miner, lived on Maiden Lane with his wife Anna. John worked in several mines including the Empire, Idaho Maryland and Rose Hill.”

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

3 thoughts on “New Chris Stevens Arch in downtown Grass Valley”

  1. As usually happens in America, this great man is honored for his foreign antecedents from Cornwall but no mention is made of the fact that, through his mother and maternal grandmother, he was a direct descendant of the Indian Chief who greeted Lewis & Clark upon their arrival at the mouth of the Columbia River.

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