LP museum hosts WWI centennial exhibit, public programs

LINCOLN PARK — The Lincoln Park Historical Museum will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I with an exhibition from Sept. 15 to Nov. 14.

“The Great War and its Local Connection” will remain on display through the commemoration of the armistice centennial to be observed around the world on Nov. 11.

The exhibition will feature photographs and personal memorabilia, as well as uniforms, from local families whose ancestors served on the war front after the United States entered the war in 1917.

Additional items to be displayed are from the museum’s own military collections as well as pieces on loan from private collections.

To assist with the exhibit, the museum is working with local organizations and schools in an ongoing effort to identify current residents’ ancestors who had served during the war, known then at the “Great War.” Local residents with information are invited to contact the museum at 313-386-3137.

Several public programs will be held concurrent with the exhibit.  The Historical Society, in its first evening program of the fall, will feature a discussion at 7 p.m. Oct. 3 on Lincoln Park’s early war veterans and the two local veterans chapters founded in the early 1930s.

Taking part in the program will be John McElmeel, of VFW Post 552, and Tracy Kirkendall, from American Legion Post 67.

Elizabeth Clemens, author of “Detroit in World War I” (Arcadia Publishing, 2015), will present a program at 2 p.m. Nov. 3 on Detroit’s role in the war, its industrial contributions and the war’s effect on the Detroit community.

At the same program, Mayor Tom Karnes will read excerpts from the World War I diary kept by his grandfather Walter P. Gaffigan of Detroit, who served with the 37th Division, G Company of the 112th Ammunition Train. The 37th Division was sent overseas in June 1918 and fought at the Meuse-Argonne and at Ypres-Lys offensives.
The exhibit and all programs are offered free to the public. Regular museum hours are Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The museum is at 1335 Southfield Road.

During World War I, much of this area was still a part of Ecorse Township, unincorporated and sparsely populated. It was in the years following that Lincoln Park and much of Downriver began to develop. Lincoln Park became a village in 1921, and four years later incorporated as a city.

Many of the men in the community who had served in World War I came here during this growth period.  A few years later, in the early 1930s, these veterans founded Lincoln Park’s two veterans chapters: American Legion Post 67 and VFW Post 552.

The centennial of the armistice that brought peace at the end of the World War I is being celebrated around the world this fall, observing the moment – Nov. 11, 1918 – when the fighting officially ceased at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month. (The time was 6 a.m. in the eastern United States; most of the country was celebrating before the sun was up.)

On Sunday, November 11th, the historical society and museum will host a public ceremony Nov. 11 to remember those Americans who lost their lives in the war and all of those who served in the war.

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10:45 a.m. with the 11 a.m. bell-tolling on the museum lawn. The old Goodell School bell will be rung at that time, just as it was in 1918, one of thousands across the world that rang out one hundred years ago.