Friday, September 17, 2010

Civil War or Spanish-American War?

Here's something I never expected to see... a nice close-up photo of the Civil War statue that used to be in the park (originally Washington Park, later Veterans Park) across from Lorain City Hall. (Click on it for a closer look.) It's from a May 20, 1951 newspaper clipping that is part of the Albert Doane Archives at the Lorain Public Library. (As usual, I was researching something else, with the help of a librarian, when I found this a few weeks ago.)

This clipping is interesting because this time the statue is referred to as a Spanish-American War veteran, instead of a Civil War veteran. Huh?

I don't think that's quite right. It's fairly easy to Google 'Spanish American War' uniforms and get a look at what the soldiers were wearing when they charged up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt. And they didn't seem to be dressed like this.

You might remember that I did a few blogs on the statue before (starting here), examining how its appearance changed through the years. About a year after the above clipping, the article (below) appeared in the Journal on May 5, 1952.

It appears that in the year between photos, the statue acquired the missing brim for his cap, and a paint job as well. He was still missing his gun, though, making him a sitting duck for the cute prank described above.

And here's a different view that I haven't posted before (courtesy of the Black River Historical Society) from around 1959.

Since my past blogs about this subject, I've talked to a few longtime Lorainites 'in the know' about what happened to the statue. Apparently, it was taken down (in the 1960's?) and unceremoniously dumped in storage at a city park for a while before it was donated to the 103rd OVI in Sheffield Lake, which ultimately disposed of it. Pretty uncivil treatment!

So was it a Civil War statue or Spanish-American War statue? Someday I hope to find out for sure. I guess the best way to find out is to research something else entirely and hope I get lucky!


Ken said...

The 'kepi' that the figure is wearing went out just before the turn of the century. For the civil war it was also called a forage cap and was not blocked or starched, like the ones they still wear in Europe (like what DeGaulle is usually pictured wearing). But by the Spanish American War the 'kepi' was no longer field headgear for the US Army.

Dan Brady said...

Thanks, Bro! It figures that a US Army veteran would have the answer!