Lynn Museum,GAR to Host Speaker Series

By Joseph Domelowicz Jr

The Lynn Museum is joining forces with the caretakers and curator of the Grand Army of the Republic building to begin a new speaker series at Lynn Museum.

The new speaker series, “A House Divided,” will be held on the fourth Thursday of each month into the spring, beginning this Thursday, February 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lynn Museum at 509 Washington Street. The debut event will feature guest speaker Chuck Viet, who will explain “How the Navy Won the Civil War.”

Future installments of the “A House Divided” series will address subjects like the military, social and cultural history of the American Civil War and how Lynn’s history was affected by it. The series will be free and open to the public and is supported, in part, by a grant through the Lynn Cultural Council.

The timing of the launch of the speaker series highlights the efforts of Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and the City Council to address the building’s physical needs. The city recently appropriated $150, to reconstruct 30 windows in the building and repoint the building’s brick façade.

The GAR building was once a meeting place for the more than 2,000 Lynn veterans of the American Civil War, much the way a VFW or American Legion hall served the same purpose for the American veterans that followed them.

The building now houses a large and very unique collection of Civil War era military uniforms, weapons, books and photographs establishing it as a very large museum for Civil War buffs. It is one of only two known GAR buildings that is still open to the public.

Request for Historical District for GAR delayed

The Public Property and Parks Committee also tabled a request from the Lynn Historical Commission to establish a local Historic District at the GAR building on Andrew Street.

Calvin Anderson told the committee that the LHC would like the city to establish a Local Historic District for just the GSAR building, following a change in state law that allows a district to include just one building.

Inspectional Services Director Michael Donovan, told the committee that he is not opposed to a designation that would affect only the GAR building, but he offered a note of caution about establishing a district that might make it harder for home owners to improve their properties without a lengthy and expensive process.

Anderson noted the designation as a Local Historic District comes with the potential for grant funding that could help the city address needed refurbishment of the building.

However, due to the fact that Public Property and Parks Committee Chairman Hong Net was absent from the meeting, Councilor Darren Cyr moved to table the matter until Net could be present.

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