Memorial Hall, Windsor Locks

Windsor Locks honors its veterans with a granite building that hosts a collection of memorials and a museum.

Memorial Hall was dedicated in 1891 as a home for the town’s Grand Army of the Republic post.

The building stands at the corner of Elm Street (Route 140) and Main Street (Route 159).

A dedication inscribed near the hall’s front entrance reads, “Soldiers’ Memorial Hall, built by Charles E. Chaffee and presented by him to J.H. Converse Post, No. 67, G.A.R., in memory of those who went from Windsor Locks and lost their lives in the service of our country in the late Civil War.”

The inscription marks a fairly early use of the term “Civil War,” to describe the conflict, which is more commonly referred to as the “War of the Rebellion” on Connecticut monuments.

In front of the hall, a 1953 monument honors the service of Windsor Locks residents in the World Wars. The monument’s central section lists the seven residents lost in World War I and the 16 killed in World War II. The left and right sections include a Honor Roll listing the residents who served.

The 1953 monument is flanked by a pair of monuments, dedicated in 1976, honoring the service of Windsor Locks’ Korea and Vietnam veterans.

Memorial Hall, which today hosts the town’s American Legion post, also features two cannons in front of the building as well as a museum honoring the town’s war heroes.

Guided tours of the hall are conducted on the last Sunday of each month.

Charles E. Chaffee, who supplied most of the funding for Memorial Hall, was a textile manufacturer who also served as vice president of a bank and president of a bridge and ferry company, and held several municipal offices.

Joseph Converse, for whom the GAR post was named, was a Windsor Locks resident killed during fighting at Cold Harbor, Virginia, in 1864.

Like Madison, East Haven and Vernon, Windsor Locks decided to honor its Civil War veterans with a building instead of an outdoor monument. In most towns that built a hall, continued efforts by veterans resulted in a monument also being dedicated later.

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