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G. A. R.


Transcribedby Shaun Cook
Submitted by Robert Matthias

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 includes:

* 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 TheSpanishAmerican War, World I and World War II.

Open by Appointment only.
Donations Welcome.

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 their manager.
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 cherish.
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
TheDaily Item

June 16, 2005

One of the city's hidden gems is also a national, even international, attraction.
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) Builtin 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.
With 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 floor
"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, availableto scholars.
A century ago, the GAR was a local seat of power. Returning veterans went into banking, business and politics, and forged alliancesthrough 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 thatyou 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," Matthias said.
The hall's walls are covered with photographsof 1,243 GAR members andlocal Union veterans, including hall namesake, Frederick W Lander, the first general killed in the war
"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 aSpanish-American War room.

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2006-2007 Copyright by Shaun Cook