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58 ANDREW STREET, LYNN
Transcribed by Shaun Cook
To help transcribe or submit information,
please e-mail Shaun Cook.
The Landers Post 5 of the Grand Army of the Republic was formed in 1867
and became the nation's largest in 1868.
It's Civil War Museum
* The last confederate flag to fly over Richmond,
Virginia in the Civil War.
* Memories from Ulysses S. Grant and
General George Custer.
* Documents signed by Abraham Lincoln.
1243 Photos of Civil War Veterans.
* Capstan from U.S.S. Kearsage.
* Cannonballs from the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse.
Plus exhibits from The Spanish American War,
World I and World War II.
Open by Appointment
The G.A.R. Building was built in 1885 by the
members of the General Lander Post # 5 and was the center of activity for
Lynn. Here, they held their Minstral Shows, Dance Revues and Famous
Saturday Night "Bean Suppers." They also presented many athletic events,
such as Polo Matches, Roller Skating, Track Meets and Bowling.
The Post, through the efforts of several of
their members, illuminated the city of Lynn for the first time with
"electricity". In 1882, they illuminated a section of Market Street and
also Exchange Hall with "Arc Lights". Following this, several of their
members formed the "Lynn Electric Lighting Company". This was later bought
out by the "American Electric Company" of New Britain, Connecticut. They
erected a large factory at the corner of Western Avenue and Center Street
and started making electrical equipment under the new name of
"Thomson-Houston Electric Company" Professors Elihu Thomson and Edwin J.
Houston were in charge of the new company, with Mr. Charles A. Coffin as
After several very successful
years, they combined their Company with the "Edison General Electric
Company" which led to the company we now know as General Electric Company
or "GE". This company has been very important to the City of Lynn.
The General Lander Post # 5 was the largest
local cveterans organization in the United States and had a lot to say
about the running of the City of Lynn. For many years, anyone desiring a
job with the City of Lynn had to have the endorsement of Post #5.
The four walls of the original Meeting Hall
of the Civil War Veterans is covered with the photographs of over 1,100
members of General Lander Post #5. It is still maintained today in it's
original condition, just as it was when the Post last met here. It is
said to be the last such meeting hall remaining in the State of
Massachusetts and one of the last 13 remaining the the whole country.
There are many interesting articles from the Revolutionary War, The
Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II on
display in our Museum along with many photographs.
This building along with it's displays are a
treasure that all Lynn residents should see and
After the turn of the
century, the old Civil War Veterans, knowing that they were rapidly dying
out, petitioned the Massachusetts legislature with what has been termed as
their last will and testament. They wanted their building to be turned
over to the city of Lynn with the provision that it will be maintained
forever and a day as a memorial to those brave men, who in 1861 marched
out to defend the Union.
Their request was
honored and passed in the "Special Acts of 1919" and was accepted by the
voters of Lynn a few years later.
Lynn's "GAR' Building a
lure for history buffs
By THOR JOURGENSEN
The Daily Item
One of the city's hidden gems is also a national, even international,
The Grand Army of the Republic
Building on Andrew Street counts Civil War buffs from across the country
as well as foreign researchers among its visitors.
"We got a call from England a month ago,"
Building Coordinator Robert Matthias said.
Located a half block off Market Street, the building is one of only three
Grand Army halls left in the country (the others are in Pennsylvania and
Illinois) Built in 1885 by local Union Army veterans, the hall has
three floors of Civil War weaponry, uniforms, letters and other items.
The collection includes one of the last
Confederate flags to fly over the former rebel capital of Richmond; a
hand-written note to a soldier from Abraham Lincoln; and tree trunks and
limbs riddled with bullets and shrapnel.
the assistance of his volunteer board and a $48,000 city budget, Matthias
keeps the collection and the building in working order Water damage is
restricted - for now - to a corner of the grand hall on the GAR's top
"The building is in relatively good
shape for its age, but it needs work," he said.
Matthias holds school tours half the year,
and makes the building's extensive Civil War book collection, including
the 162 volume Congressional record of the war, available to
A century ago, the GAR was a local
seat of power. Returning veterans went into banking, business and
politics, and forged alliances through their Grand Army membership
They held elaborate meetings in the grand
hall, where two stuffed eagles and a picture of Lincoln look down on rows
of upholstered benches, Members caught using profanity were fined, and
excessive drinking was punished by forcing the offender to don a rifle and
pack, and run up and down the building's stairs five times.
"At the turn of the century, it was said
that you couldn't get a job in town unless you were a member or knew
a member. It was also where men would go when they lost their job,"
The hall's walls are covered
with photographs of 1,243 GAR members and local Union veterans,
including hall namesake, Frederick W Lander, the first general killed in
"These pictures are invaluable, and
the threat from moisture in the wall is still there"
The building still holds meetings, but the
attendees are history buffs who attend Civil War round tables on the
second Friday of every month in the building's basement. Their meeting
table is surrounded by 150 copper-plated photographs of Lynn men who died
in World War I. The hall also has a Spanish-American War room.
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