From the Michigan Historic Site Historic Marker:
Marshall’s Civil War Veterans organized a Grand Army of the Republic chapter in 1883. They built this handsome red brick structure as their headquarters in 1902. It was named for Marshall’s Corporal Calvin Colegrove, color bearer for the Michigan First Infantry, who was killed at he first Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861.
The G.A.R. Hall was built in 1903 at a cost of $3,000 and was dedicated March 17, 1903. The Hall was built by veterans of the First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, one of the three Civil War units composed of Marshall men.
A cannon was placed on the west side of the G.A.R. Hall in 1906, donated by the U. S. Government. The cannon (a Parrott Rifle) was shipped from the arsenal at the Watervliet, New York. In 1911 the City of Marshall erected a stone monument to the GAR veterans with a brass plate. Originally the
monument was between the curb and sidewalk and faced south, later moved to the present location facing north. The city also donated the plot at Oakridge Cemetery, decorated with a large siege mortar and cannon balls also donated by the government. This mortar is quite a collectors item being the first one cast by the Cyrus Alger and Company of South Boston. It was shipped from the arsenal at Frankfort Philadelphia.
The GAR Hall was the meeting place for the Colegrove Post but the building was used for other groups including W.R.C. (Woman’s Relief Corps) in 1905, Ice Cream Social in 1914, Gospel Center Church in 1936, Char Toe Dance Studio in 1939, the S.O.U.V. (Sons of Union Veterans) were still meeting there as late as 1957, V.F.W. (Veterans of Foreign Wars) in 1946, D.A.U. Chapter No. 65 (Woman’s Relief Corps) in 1948, the Seventh Day Adventist Church in 1967, a splinter group from the Lutheran Church in 1969, and the Marshall Art Center in 1975.
In 1977 the building and grounds were sold by the City to the Marshall Historical Society for $1.00 after approval by the voters. The society restored the building and opened a historical museum and archives at that location. A restored porch was added in 1983. In 1992 the museum was changed to a Civil War Museum by curator Roger Graves. (Colonial Revival)
Original source: http://www.marshallmich.com/history/GARHall.shtml
- Location: 402 E Michigan Avenue Click: toggle map
- Hours: Schedule for 2017: Open noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays, from May 20 through September
- Fee: No required admission charge; $5 suggested adult donation
The Marshall Historical Museum at the GAR Hall reopened in fall 2014 with a new emphasis on telling Marshall’s stories and featuring items made in Marshall. Focus areas are It Happened in Marshall, Things Made in Marshall, Community Life, and Marshall in the Civil War.
Featured at the entrance is the Hinkle Automatic Theatre, an early 1900s marionette show, that once toured area theaters. It was donated to the Marshall Historical Society by the Steve Trupiano family. Steve’s grandfather Frank Hinkle constructed the set and his grandmother Julia Hinkle designed and made clothes for the figures. The marionette show was restored several decades ago by Jim Bryant.
Official web page about GAR Hall from Marshall Historical Society:
What is the G.A.R?
In early 1866 the United States of America — now securely one nation again — was waking to the reality of recovery from war, and this had been a much different war. In previous conflicts the care of the veteran warrior was the province of the family or the community. Soldiers then were friends, relatives and neighbors who went off to fight–until the next planting or harvest. It was a community adventure and their fighting unit had a community flavor…
…But probably the most profound emotion was emptiness. Men who had lived together, fought together, foraged together and survived, had developed an unique bond that could not be broken. As time went by the memories of the filthy and vile environment of camp life began to be remembered less harshly and eventually fondly. The horror and gore of battle lifted with the smoke and smell of burnt black powder and was replaced with the personal rain of tears for the departed comrades. …
…Emerging most powerful among the various organizations would be the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), which by 1890 would number 409,489 veterans of the “War of the Rebelion.”