To commemorate Veterans’ Day, the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall is offering extended hours of its rare Civil War Room, the Captain Thomas Espy Post No. 153 of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). Ordinarily open on Saturdays or by special arrangement, the Espy Post will be open all 10:30 until 6:30 on November 11th.
“We just finished the restoration of our beautiful Library, and I thought Veteran’s Day would be a great opportunity for people to come see both the Library and the Espy Post,” said Library Director and Espy Post Curator Diane Klinefelter.
Klinefelter, who has written two books on the Civil War and is a professional genealogist, will give a talk on “Finding the Veterans in your Family” at 11:00 a.m. A Civil War re-enactor, she will do so in period dress.
Veterans of the Civil War custom furnished a second floor room in the Library to hold their meetings and house there relics. They met there from 1906 until 1938 when the last member died in 1938. At that time the room was locked up for nearly fifty years, and fell into deep decline. The Espy Post was meticulously restored in 2010. The ACFL&MH’s Espy Post has been documented by scholars as probably the most intact GAR Post in the county. Once there were 7,000 posts from Portland, Maine to Portland Oregon.
November is a month to put the spotlight on the Civil War not only because of Veterans’ Day, but also because Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863. The Library & Music Hall is home to the Lincoln Gallery, a collection of 100 photographs of Abraham Lincoln, from the earliest known 1847 daguerreotype to the 1865 photograph of Lincoln lying in state.
On Saturday, November 14 at 1:00 p.m., the ACFL&MH continues is Second Saturday Civil War Series. Civil War scholar Kris White will talk on “The Valley Forge Winter: The Christmas of 1862 in the Army of the Potomac,” one of the lowest morale points for the army, and yet one in which the still celebrated Christmas far from home.
Light refreshments will be served on both Veteran’s Day and at Mr. White’s talk. Civil War programming at the ACFL&MH is generously supported by the Massey Charitable Trust.
The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall opened in 1901. It is one of only four libraries in the country (three remaining) that Andrew Carnegie endowed. The ACFL&MH is Mr. Carnegie’s enduring thank you gift to the town that incorporated and took his name in 1901.