Historical cemetery walk Saturday

Published 5:08 pm Friday, September 19, 2008

Time is rapidly approaching for the historical cemetery walk. It will be 5 p.m. Saturday. Workers have been busy preparing for the annual event at Woodland Cemetery.

Following closely after the walk, the 20th anniversary of the museum will be celebrated. All members are friends are invited to attend. Refreshments will be served. The museum is on South Sixth Street.

Another important project at this time is preserving the old Memorial Hall. We came across an article, dated May 28, 1967 written by Peter A. Burke. He did a column called “Sense and Nonsense.” Part of this column is being copied because we think you will find it interesting.

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“Today Memorial Hall stands forth majestically, a fitting honor to the soldiers, sailors, and marines of all the wars that have been fought to win and gold securely the one country in all the world, where freedom exists.

“Memorial Hall was erected jointly by the city of Ironton and the Grand Army of the Republic, composed of veterans of the Civil War. In 1892, a formal dedication was held at Hall by Hon. J.K. Richards, master of ceremonies.

“It was at that time the Briggs Public Library was included in the second floor of the building. The library fund, provided by Caleb Briggs, amounted to $67,000 and its appearance and operation won praise for the city from distant cities. Miss Winfred Morton was the first librarian.

“Through the years, the building was the center of life for the veterans with the Women’s Relief Corps maintaining an office. The relief corps was a wonderful auxiliary to the Grand Army and participated in many of their social functions. The name of this honored organization had a place of honor at the entrance above the glass partitioned doors of the entrance on the Railroad Street side of the building. Later the auxiliaries of the Spanish American War and the American Legion also held their sessions in the same rooms. World War I barracks met in the G.A.R. post room, as did the Lawrence VFW Post 3461. The Frank Goldcamp post of the American Legion met regularly in Memorial Hall. The front door of the hall was painted by Al Bester, one of the city’s brush wielders.

The basement floor of the renewed and beautiful structure was occupied police department. The city prison occupied a portion of the ground floor. For many years municipal court held sessions in the quarter.

During the earlier days, the city’s mayors presided over police court and later, when the state of Ohio set up municipal courts, the same quarters were assigned for their use.

Gene James was the chief of the recreation bureau. The bureau, located on the Fourth Street basement area near Railroad Street is effective with each passing year.

For years Memorial Hall stood fast in its ranks. The men who were responsible for it were pleased in their long dream that we, the living, have made it as young as their newest recruit. The heroes of all our wars are honored by this gesture of patriotism and love of those who saved this nation— and our devotion will last as long as that stars that shine forever.

We are encouraged that there may be a future for our old Memorial Hall and after reading the above, we believe it is our responsibility to keep these dreams.”