Good morning friends. I was recently contacted by the publicity staff at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall. Within the walls of the Free Library resides the Captain Thomas Espy GAR Post 153 in all its original splendor. When the last veteran of the post died, in 1938, the room was locked with everything as the soldiers had left it. Today it has been restored to its original condition and is open to the public. Please see the following announcement regarding the GAR Post.
Locked up and forgotten, The Captain Thomas Espy GAR Post 153 became a legacy:
Most GAR Posts made arrangements to return their collections to their respective State Departments, but the Espy veterans made an agreement with our library instead: One room in our building would serve as their permanent meeting place. Upon the death of the last veteran, the library would inherit the responsibility of preserving the room and its artifacts. In 1938, the last man passed away, and the doors to the Espy Post were locked shut. Sadly, the items remained there for decades, collecting dust.
Hardly touched, the room became a living time capsule, preserving Civil War history. In 2010, GAR Post 153 was restored to its original splendor. It is a true national treasure. The room holds the memories of veterans who were determined to preserve a piece of their nation’s divided history. Post applications and battlefield sketches tell extraordinary stories about ordinary men. One man, positioned on Little Round Top, called a gunshot wound ‘a spat on the head.’ In addition to GAR documents, the men collected and displayed weapons, uniforms, flags, books, photographs, and battlefield remnants. Veteran, William Lea, spent over 20 years seeking out memorable pieces.
Free tours are open to the public.
Other unique aspects of the Post include:
- Some Confederate artifacts are a part of the collection.
- The Post was integrated.
- Unlike most GAR Posts, the Espy membership had a place to permanently call home at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie, PA.
- It is perhaps the most intact GAR Post still in existence.
- In 1911, the men not only catalogued the collection, but shared personal stories about many of the items.
The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall will also be hosting a Civil War Living History Weekend on April 30. An agenda for the day’s events follows.
2011 Civil War Living History Weekend
Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall
APRIL 30, 2011
300 Beechwood Avenue, Carnegie, PA 15106
- Thomas Espy Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Room Tours 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
- Guns of Gettysburg Display 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
- Museum of Civil War Images 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
- “Civil War Memories” Photographs of James E. Meldrum 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
- Sutlers/Food Court 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
- Victorian Tea (Reception Hall) ($12) 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
- Soldiers & Sailors USCT Drum Corps Demonstration (Music Hall) 12:00 PM & 2:45 PM
- “Gallant Boys of the 123rd” Michael Aubrecht Lecture (Music Hall) 11:00 AM & 1:45 PM
- Documentary Film: Angel of Marye’s Heights” (Music Hall) 12:45 PM & 3:30 PM
- Civil War Ball (Reception Hall) ($20/$30 per couple) Period attire encouraged. 8:00 PM
- Music by the Susquehanna Travelers. Heather Nichols, Caller
Location: Carnegie Park
201 Cooks Lane, Carnegie, PA 15106
- Touring Stations: Civil War Medicine, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Infantry, Artillery, Small Arms & Recruiting
- Artillery Demonstrations 11:30 AM & 2:30 PM
- Skirmish/Fredericksburg 1:00 PM
- Pittsburgh Franklins – 1860 Vintage Base Ball 2:30 to 4:00 PM
- Skirmish/Gettysburg 4:30 PM
All programming is free and open to the public unless otherwise noted ($$)Free shuttle service is available between the Library, Carnegie Park, andE. Main Street parking lot (below ACFL&MH as crow flies).
If you are in the Pittsburgh area, on the weekend of April 29, I would highly recommend that you plan on attending this event. For additional information, you may contact the library directly by calling (412) 276-3456 Ext. 5 or by visiting their website: Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.