Wednesday, May 25, 2016

LaGrange’s Civil War Monument – Part 2

Like many Civil War monuments erected in the early years of the 20th Century, LaGrange's statue has a dedication date that's in question. Often these monuments have no dedication plaque on them, making it difficult to know exactly when it was erected unless someone kept a newspaper clipping of the event.

Most histories of LaGrange's monument state that it was erected and/or dedicated in May 1903. However, the date appears to be off by one year.

A small item that appeared in the Elyria Reporter in both the May 24 (below) and May 26, 1904 editions notes, "Hastings post No. 207, G.A.R. will dedicated the soldiers and sailors monument May 30, at 10 a. m. All soldiers in the county are cordially invited. E. G. Johnson and A. E. Lawrence are expected to be present to give the addresses."

By the way, if you're really interested in learning about the history of LaGrange, the book LaGrange Ohio – An Early History (1995) by J.R. Johnson is a great reference. There's a copy for sale on Ebay right now.
The book includes some great vintage photos from the monument's dedication ceremonies. (The Elyria Public Library had photocopies of two of the photos from the book, which I've reproduced below.)
Other material from the files of the Elyria Public Library recount an unfortunate event involving the LaGrange monument that took place in late November 1957. Vandals hurled tar on the north side of the monument and then plastered the tar with feathers.
Here is a photo (below) showing the vandalism that I believe ran in the Chronicle-Telegram on November 21, 1957.
On that same day, the Lorain Journal included a small item under the heading “Monument Given Tar, Feathers" which stated, “The LaGrange public square monument was the target of pranksters early yesterday morning when it received a coat of tar and feathers. The incident is being investigated by sheriff’s deputies, who were informed by village officials that four or five unidentified men in a car were seen loitering about the square at the time the vandalism is believed to have occurred."


dbhewitt63 said...

Interesting reading about LaGrange. The Miss Ida Hubbard named in the clip posted is my great grandmother. I spent summers in my youth with her in LaGrange on Railroad St. across from the mill. Those were fun times. LaGrange was like Mayberry then! Does anyone have any recollections of Blackwood's Market on the southwest corner of the square?

Dan Brady said...

Thanks for leaving the comment about your great grandmother – I'm sure glad you saw her name in that tiny clipping! I'll bet you have plenty of wonderful summertime memories of her. LaGrange is such a charming town.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed the faces on the statues from Lagrange Elyria Pittsfield all have the same faces where they carved by the same person

Dan Brady said...

That’s an interesting observation. It’s certainly possible that the same person carved some of them, considering that the person who carved the LaGrange monument (a Mr. Wood) was based in Lima, Ohio.

I know from the book “Civil War Monuments of Ohio” by Harold A. George that there were only a handful of soldier poses that were used for statues (such as “Parade Rest” or “Standard Bearer”). Most, if not all, of the designs that were carved or cast seemed to feature solders with a moustache. So they are bound to look similar anyway.