GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC
MEMORIAL HALL AND MUSEUM
Creation of the Grand Army of the Republic
On the night of April 6, 1866, in Decatur, Illinois, 13 veterans of the Union Army of the Civil War, led by Major Benjamin Stephenson, gathered in an upstairs room in a small, unassuming brick building. Little did they realize that the organization they were forming would have so much influence on the country they fought to save. The organization that was created that evening was the Grand Army of the Republic. It would end being one of the largest and most influential veteransí organizations this country has ever seen with virtually every northern state legislatures, Congress, and five presidencies occupied by members of the Grand Army. Among the many issues advocated by the G.A.R. was legislation to benefit both current and future veterans, the promotion of May 30th as Memorial Day throughout the country, and the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving the right to vote to women. The organization would last over 90 years and help to establish later veteransí organizations including the Spanish American War Veterans, American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. It also sanctioned the creation of five Allied Orders of the Grand Army of the Republic that still exist today to ensure the legacy of Grand Army.
Michiganís remembrance and commemoration of the creation of the Grand Army of the Republic takes place with a special Open House on the Saturday, closest to annivrsary date of April 6th. In addition to the two floors of Grand Army artifacts and memorabilia, many other special G.A.R. exhibits will be on display throughout the day in the 1886-built former G.A.R. Post building. Two full floors of special exhibits relating to the 90-years existence and accomplishments of the Grand Army will be available for viewing. A special anniversary birthday cake in honor of the Grand Army will be served on Saturday and refreshments will be served throughout the day.
Michiganís G.A.R. Memorial Hall and Museum is the only such museum in the state that is exclusively dedicated to ensuring the memory, deeds, and accomplishments of the Grand Army of the Republic and its members in Michiganís 512 Posts are not forgotten. The Museum is free to the public.
In 2021, the G.A.R. Anniversary Commemoration will take place on Saturday, April 3rd, from 10 AM to 5 PM at Michiganís Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall and Museum (224 South Main, Eaton Rapids, Michigan). Individuals interested in having a table display at the G.A.R. Commemoration are encouraged to contact:
Return to G.A.R. Museum Home Page.