Rockport

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Rockport Memorial Hall (Essex County)

Location: 7 Main Street
Coordinates: 42°39’30.5″N 70°37’04.3″W
Date dedicated: May 30, 1890
Architect/Sculptor/Manufacturer: Unknown

Rockport’s Veterans Memorial Hall was dedicated on Memorial Day 1890 in memory of the 42 men from Rockport who died in the war. A total of 399 Rockport men enlisted, a good portion of them in Maine regiments due to the proximity and the fact that a number of seafaring residents of the town at that time were originally from Maine. The building served as the quarters of the local Grand Army of the Republic, Otis W. Wallace Post 106.

Otis Wing Wallace of Rockport was among the first group of soldiers to volunteer from that town. During June 1861 the company of unorganized men spent several weeks at an improvised training camp at Cape Pond Pasture in Rockport. In those early days of the war, the Massachusetts Adjutant General’s office struggled to issue the necessary equipment to the thousands of volunteers and the Rockport men waited, unable to drill as they had not been issued muskets. Tiring of this, Otis W. Wallace and twelve others went off to enlist with the 5th Maine Infantry. Wallace served with that regiment in action during the Peninsular campaign of 1862 and was spoken highly of due to his courageous performance under fire. By the end of that summer, Wallace had fallen ill, was transported to Finley Hospital in Washington DC, and died there on October 29, 1862. He was buried in the Military Asylum Cemetery in Washington (now the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmens’ Home National Cemetery).

The funds for Rockport’s Memorial Hall were largely raised by a group of local women known as the Ladies Memorial Circle. The Adjutant of the Grand Army post wrote in 1910, “Perhaps it should be said that the Circle led in the project.”

Upon the dissolution of the Grand Army of the Republic post in 1954, Rockland’s Memorial Hall was sold to a church congregation and later sold into private ownership. It is presently a residence.

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