Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

G.A.R. CANNON

Morning Star, May 21, 2000 pg. 3.

As we approach Memorial Day on Monday, May 29, we pause to reflect on a couple of monuments dedicated to those who served in the "War Between the States" 1861-1865. Memorial Day was originally called "Decoration Day," and was instituted by the Grand Army of the Republic, the organization of Civil War veterans. The first G.A.R. Commander-in-Chief, General John A. Logan (after whom Logan St. in Lansing, [now MLK Blvd.] was named) issued an order designating May 30 as a national holiday to decorate the graves of soldiers with flowers.

Local Civil War veterans banded together to form the E. W. Hollingsworth Post No. 210 of the G.A.R. in 1883. Hollingsworth was the first local field officer to die following the war. In its heyday, the post had a membership of up to 217 persons. The G.A.R. Hall was erected 1892 on E. Erie St. next to the Methodist Church, which eventually acquired it. It was demolished with the church in 1960.

In 1899, the local G.A.R. acquired a Civil War cannon and placed it in a small park on the southwest corner of Superior St. and Michigan Avenue where the Molder Statue sits today. The February 3, 1899 edition of the Albion Transcript records the details: "The G.A.R. cannon arrived in this city Tuesday morning from Toledo. It is about 10 feet long and weighs 9,760 pounds, with 20 shells which accompanied it. It will be unloaded today."

This cannon was a downtown landmark for many years, until it was moved to the new Albion National Guard Armory on N. Clark St. where it sits in front today. From our Historical Notebook we present a postcard photograph of the G.A.R. cannon, "aimed" at the Hotel Albion (present site of the Shell station) across the street. On the right is the Michigan Central Railroad crossing guard house which stood there for many years.

Through the early 20th century the G.A.R. placed flowers on the graves of departed soldiers in Riverside Cemetery. As its members departed this life, that custom was passed on to future generations. We encourage your support of those organizations which continue the practice of placing the "American stars and stripes" and flowers on the graves of our veterans in Riverside. With a dwindling veteran and service pool, they need all the support we can give them. Cheerfully give them a buck or two as they raise money for their Memorial Day activities.


G.A.R. Cannon

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