The G.A.R. Building Detroit

The Grand Army of the Republic

PUTTING A FACE WITH A NAME…

4 Comments

WClaxtonOne of our earliest (and best) discoveries at the G.A.R. building came during the initial clean-up phase. On the second floor, buried under 30 years of dirt, was a small riser where someone could stand and speak to a larger crowd of people. Our work crews were tearing it apart when they uncovered a marble plaque that once hung above the stage on the wall. At some point, someone had the “smarts” to take it from the wall and hide it beneath the stage to protect it. It rested there for decades until our team pulled it back out.

As written here previously, it honored six veterans who were closely involved in getting the G.A.R. built at the turn of the last century. They were:

William C. Claxton           William H. Fisher
Edgar A. Shook               Richard W. Allen
Charles F. Brown             Samuel B. Dixon

Please meet William C. Claxton. Past Commander of Fairbanks G.A.R. Post # 17.

We had the great fortune to have his great-great Grandson, Dan, in Republic last week for dinner. After a conversation with our server and a few emails we received this awesome photo of the first of the men listed on the plaque. William is a large reason Detroit has a castle.

William is pictured here with G.A.R. medals on his chest… and a crazy cool beard.

And the C. in his middle name… it stands for “Christmas”, of course.

Thanks Dan for bringing your ancestor back to the castle!!!

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Author: G.A.R. Building

The G.A.R. building was purchased by the media production firm Mindfield from the City of Detroit in November, 2011. Mindfield has started renovating the G.A.R., with opening slated for November 2014. Mindfield plans to occupy the top two floors itself, lease the ground floor for 2 restaurants, and dedicate a memorial to Civil War Veterans. The G.A.R. Building was designed by architect Julian Hess, and constructed at 1942 West Grand River and Cass as an appropriate structure for meetings and other G.A.R. related activities. The original construction cost was split between the Grand Army of the Republic (who paid $6000 of the cost) and the city of Detroit (who paid the remainder of the $44,000 total cost). Construction commenced in 1897 on the five-story building.

4 thoughts on “PUTTING A FACE WITH A NAME…

  1. Love it!

    From: The G.A.R. Building Detroit To: dtrevethan@yahoo.com Sent: Monday, May 4, 2015 8:48 AM Subject: [New post] PUTTING A FACE WITH A NAME… #yiv5006392413 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv5006392413 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv5006392413 a.yiv5006392413primaryactionlink:link, #yiv5006392413 a.yiv5006392413primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv5006392413 a.yiv5006392413primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv5006392413 a.yiv5006392413primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv5006392413 WordPress.com | G.A.R. Building posted: “One of our earliest (and best) discoveries at the G.A.R. building came during the initial clean-up phase. On the second floor, buried under 30 years of dirt, was a small riser where someone could stand and speak to a larger crowd of people. Our work crews” | |

  2. Am I crazy or does this gentlemen look like Bill Fitzgerald !!!!

  3. And he is wearing the badge of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS). He was an original member of the Michigan Commandery. William was a 2nd Lieutenant of the 1st Missouri Engineers during the war.

  4. What a historic moment when the plaque was found! Now another historic moment when a descendant is found – along with a wonderful photo of his Civil War Ancestor.
    Question: Might this lead to a search for descendants from the other men? This would be fantastic. Thank you for keeping us up to date on these wonderful pieces of history.

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