Civil War Room

Welcome to the Capt. Thomas Espy Post 153, Department of Pennsylvania

Espy Post Hours: Ongoing tours on Saturdays between 11:00am and 3:00pm. Free and open to the public. Call for weekday appointments and contact Diane Klinefelter at 412-276-3456 x9 for group tours.
The Captain Thomas Espy Post 153 of the Grand Army of the Republic served local Civil War veterans for over 54 years and is the best preserved and most intact GAR post in the United States. For school, scout, group or family tours contact Diane Klinefelter, Curator 412-276-3456, x9.

2nd Saturday Civil War Series will resume in September.

Saturday, September 12, 2020 || 1:00 PM
The Civil War Defenses of Washington, DC
Speaker: Steve T. Phan

Group Visits

general meade bus
general meade cemetary

The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall can accommodate group visits  and can tailor your tour for maximum enjoyment. Contact Diane Klinefelter, or call 412-276-3456, x9.

A Look Back

Espy Post: A True National Treasure

The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall is home to one of the last remaining Grand Army of the Republic Posts left in the country! The Capt. Thomas Espy Post No. 153 was chartered in 1879 and moved into the library in 1906.

When the last Civil War veteran member died in 1938, the Room was locked and left undisturbed for 50 years – it became a virtual time capsule.

Not only does it house invaluable artifacts, but the room itself provides a unique historical record of the first part of the century. It was lovingly restored in 2010.

Restoration of the Espy Post.

Espy Docent Program

If you have an interest in Civil War history, good communication skills, and an outgoing personality, consider volunteering as a docent for the Espy Post Room. Our docents lead observation and inquiry based experiences for visitors to foster an understanding of the Grand Army of the Republic and its place in history. If you are interested, please contact Diane Klinefelter, Curator, 412-276-3456, x9.

History of The Grand Army of the Republic

The Grand Army of the Republic was formed in 1866 in Decatur, Illinois and rapidly spread across the country. What started as a benevolent society for Union Civil War veterans quickly became one of our nation’s most powerful veterans’ organizations. Membership was open to honorably discharged Union soldiers, sailors, or marines.

The GAR was instrumental in founding soldiers’ homes and orphan schools, and lobbying for pension legislation. When the last member of the GAR died in 1956 the organization was dissolved. The Espy Post housed in the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall is believed to be one of only a handful of GAR Post rooms in the country when at one time there were more than 7,000.

The Capt. Thomas Espy Post 153, Department of Pennsylvania 

The Post is named in honor of Thomas Espy, a prominent resident of Upper St. Clair Township. He was 53 years of age when he enlisted July 4, 1861, as Captain of Co. H, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.
The Post was used for meetings and to house the veterans’ collection of flags, books, prints and relics from 1906 until the the last veteran died in 1938. Not only does it retain priceless artifacts, but it provides a unique historical record of the first part of the century.

Thomas Espy mustered into service on July 4, 1861 as Captain of Co. H, 62nd Pennsylvania Infantry. Wounded June 27, 1862 at the battle of Gaine’s Mill, VA, he died as a POW on July 6,1862. His remains were never recovered.

Click here for other GAR Posts in Allegheny County.

The Lincoln Gallery: A Rare Collection of Lincoln Photographs

Abraham Lincoln
The Lincoln Gallery – Rare Collection of Photographs of Abraham Lincoln.

1934 Main Street Bridge Opening

Click here for the film of this special day!

The Main Street bridge was opened on June 27, 1934 with a parade, music, speeches and a dedication ceremony. Marching bands, civic and ethnic organizations, school students, scouts and World War I veterans all participated.

Ribbon cutting was performed by the last living Civil War veteran and Capt. Thomas Espy GAR Post 153 member, Thomas E. Morgan, age 89. Mr. Morgan served in Co. E, 155th Pennsylvania Infantry. Mr. Morgan can be seen on the video at 11:27.