Acton Memorial Library
Dedication of the Memorial Library Building and Soldiers'
Tablets, at Acton, Mass.
THE GIFT OF HON. WILLIAM A. WILDE OF MALDEN TO HIS NATIVE TOWN
Saturday, May 24th, 1890 has passed into the history of Acton and will be remembered whenever the student of history, the patriot or those who were present on that memorable occasion, shall think or look upon this beautiful and substantial building.
The committee in charge of the work of preparation were wisely chosen, as results clearly demonstrated ; every detail, so far as apparent to the observer, being carefully thought out, and successfully worked out. The people began to assemble at an early hour, coming in carriages from every nook and corner of Acton and from a large number of other towns, while railway trains added to the crowd those who came not only from Boston, Malden and other points in the State, but from other states, until on Acton green there were gathered a great congregation of those who loved the town, the nation and the flag, eager to see the ornamental and practical monument erected by Mr. Wilde, anxious to grasp the hands of friends and impatient to listen to the eloquent and inspiring sentiments that were sure to be spoken by those announced to serve the intellectual menu.
Barges were furnished to convey invited guests from the station to the Center and back again, and the accommodating and cheery drivers, together with the genial and jolly spirit manifested by all the guests, made the journey of two miles and a half a very pleasant one.
The banquet in the town hall was a most bountiful one, embracing everything that a hungry crowd could wish for, or ought to have and was served by a large corps of active, thoughtful and pleasant faced ladies.
The day was all that could be desired in weather and temperature ; the woods and the fields were at their best, in fact all things seemed to unite and harmonize to make the occasion a success in every particular. Flags were flying from the monument, town hall and private dwellings, while bunting and Chinese lanterns were displayed in all parts of the village.
The architectural effect and the internal finishing and furnishing of the building is exceedingly artistic and rich. In entering, one must pass between two tablets, upon one of which is inscribed the names of the dead, and upon the other the names of the living soldiers of the Rebellion. Dr. Isaac Hutchings was marshal of the day. Shortly before 2 o'clock Isaac Davis Post, No. 138, Grand Army of the Republic, led by Isaac Davis Fife and Drum Corps and followed by the invited guests, took up their line of march to the hall and forming on three sides of a square, the building forming the fourth side, proceeded to dedicate the hall under the direction of Delette H. Hall, commander of the Post. A squad of soldiers and sailors advanced to the front of the building. A massive evergreen anchor was set up as the symbol of the navy and a sailor detailed as a guard of honor, and a musket, canteen and cartridge as a symbol of the army and a soldier detailed to guard it.
The prayer of dedication by comrade H. F. Clark, chaplain of the Post, was impressive, comprehensive and beautiful. In the name of the G. A. R., the hall was then dedicated to the memory of those who on land and sea fought for the preservation of our country and the maintenance of the flag. Appropriate Scriptural selections, a touching musical selection by the Adelphi Quartette, the unfurling of the flag and the roll of the drum, combined to make the service unusually impressive. The Guard of Honor was withdrawn, the symbols removed, the flag lowered, the guard dismissed, and then all proceeded to the tent, which, spacious as it was, was not sufficiently so to hold all the people who came to listen.
Following is the program of exercises in the large tent pitched upon the common:
Isaac Davis Fife & Drum Corps
Rev. Theo. C. Pease, of Malden
Rev. Geo. W. Stearns
|"Land of Freedom."||
|Presentation of Memorial Library Building and Library to the Town of Acton,||
Hon. William A. Wilde, of Malden
|Response, and transfer of the Building and Library to the Trustees,||
Howard B. White, Esq., CHairman of Selectmen
Luther Conanct Esq., President of Trustees
|Remember now thy Creator,||
Hon. John D. Long
Mrs. F. C. Nash
His Excellency, Governor Brackett
Hon. F. T. Greenbalge
George H. Innis, Dept. Commander
Hon. Henry L. Parker and others
Rev. Mr. Heath
The vocal music was the finest ever listened to in Acton. Invocation, prayer, benediction, embraced all that could be desired for an occasion of this character. The addresses have all appeared in whole or in part in the Boston papers, therefore it would be needless to repeat them, especially at this date. The remarks in the beginning, closing and at intervals during the exercises by F. C. Nash, president of the day, were forcible and to the point. The addresses by Hon, John D. Long, Gov. Brackett, Hon. Wm. A. Wilde, Judge E. Rockwood Hoar, Rev. Alex. Blackmer, chaplain of the Dept. of Mass. G. A. R., the poem by Mrs. Claire Hosmer Nash, wife of the president of the day, ranged in quality of thought, beauty of diction, magnetic force, and patriotic fire, equal to anything ever uttered beneath the shadow of the granite shaft that graces the historic soil of Acton. A fitting supplement to the deeds and sayings of this day would be the publication in full of all that was said and done on said occasion, to be known possibly as a Souvenir Volume of the Dedication of the Memorial Library Building, embracing of course the names of living and dead veterans of the war.
It seems as if Acton's cup of honorable, patriotic and illustrious deeds and her record of historic events must be about full. What more is needed to place her upon the pinnacle of American glory and renown. Deeds of 1775 perpetuated by granite shaft in 1854 ; deeds of 1861 perpetuated by memorial building in 1890.
Matured and silver haired men and women were conspicuous in the congregation, among them Capt. Tuttle and Dea. Samuel Hosmer. In a word, it was a day long to be remembered by all who participated.
We append, by request, the speech of Mr. H. B. White, chairman of the selectmen, in accepting the gift in behalf of the town:
MR. WILDE: In accepting this gift in behalf of the town of Acton, permit me to tender to you the sincere thanks of each inhabitant for this generous remembrance of your native town and for the noble tribute you have paid to those loyal men of Acton, who fought so bravely for the Union in the war of the rebellion. This library with its choice selection of books, this memorial hall and these memorial tablets are monuments to those Acton heroes of 1861-65, which are well worthy to stand beside this monument to the Acton heroes of the revolutionary war.
The building itself is a substantial ornament to our town and is typical of the character and purpose of its donor. May it be an enduring memorial ever reminding the present and future generations of one whose heart's desire was to honor those to whom honor is due.
We appreciate your thoughtful consideration for the present needs of the town by providing this fire-proof safe for the care and preservation of our town records and valuable papers.
For these gifts you also have the gratitude of those sons and daughters of Acton whose homes are in different parts of the world for by your benevolence you have added a crowning glory to the attractions of this, their mother town whose natural scenery and record in history are so dear to their hearts.
Again allow me to offer you the heartfelt thanks of our entire community for these exceedingly valuable gifts.
Having received in your behalf, fellow citizens of Acton, this property of which we may well be proud, it is my duty and pleasure to transfer the same to the care of the board of trustees of which you, Mr. Conant, were unanimously chosen president. Trusting that you and your associates and successors in office will do all that in you lies to realize the intentions and possibilities of the trust and that you will ever keep in mind and endeavor to fulfill the hopes and desires of our esteemed benefactor, I now deliver to you these keys, believing that all things pertaining to this library will be so conducted that our whole town will be benefitted by these treasures of knowledge.