Treasures Left Behind
I’ve been immersed in the re-opening of the Capt. Thomas Espy Post No. 153 of the Grand Army of the Republic—yes that’s really its full name—at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, and most of the photos I’ve taken in the past few weeks have been of the room or of the Lincoln Photos Exhibit. This is one view of the room including the cases with the uniforms and small artifacts collected by post members so long ago.
G.A.R. posts were formed by veterans of the Civil War as a fraternal organization for social meetings and assistance and support to veterans and their families. At one time there were about 7,000 of them around the country, now there are about a half dozen still in existence. This newly restored room now has the distinction of being perhaps the most intact of these posts in the country.
It was installed in an existing room in the Library in 1906 an members met there until the last one died in 1937, at which time the door was simply left locked until sometime in the mid-1980s when the 9th Pennsylvania Reserves re-enactor unit undertook to care for it. Water damage, vermin, dirt and time took its toll on the munitions, uniforms, books and various artifacts, but surprisingly, much of the content was still in the room and could be restored.
Read more about the room by visiting www.CarnegieCarnegie.com, and plan a real visit to the room. I’m not so interested in military matters, but I do love history. All this was left for us to learn.