Bronze plaque will commemorate Orange’s Memorial Hall, torn down in 1996

Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building, pictured, that stood for 104 years before it was demolished in 1996. The building was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair.

Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building, pictured, that stood for 104 years before it was demolished in 1996. The building was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair. COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building, pictured, that stood for 104 years before it was demolished in 1996. The building was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair.

Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building, pictured, that stood for 104 years before it was demolished in 1996. The building was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair. COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

A stone monument  at the site of the former Memorial Hall, which stood behind Orange Town Hall until it was demolished in 1996, waits for a bronze plaque, which  has been ordered.

A stone monument at the site of the former Memorial Hall, which stood behind Orange Town Hall until it was demolished in 1996, waits for a bronze plaque, which has been ordered. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

Three local women led a campaign to install a stone monument to stand at the site of the former Memorial Hall, which stood behind Orange Town Hall until it was demolished in 1996. A bronze plaque has been ordered to be embedded as a permanent marker.

Three local women led a campaign to install a stone monument to stand at the site of the former Memorial Hall, which stood behind Orange Town Hall until it was demolished in 1996. A bronze plaque has been ordered to be embedded as a permanent marker. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building, pictured, that stood for 104 years before it was demolished in 1996. The building was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair.

Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building, pictured, that stood for 104 years before it was demolished in 1996. The building was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair. COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Three local women led a campaign to install a stone monument to stand at the site of the former Memorial Hall, which stood behind Orange Town Hall until it was demolished in 1996. A bronze plaque has been ordered to be embedded as a permanent marker.

Three local women led a campaign to install a stone monument to stand at the site of the former Memorial Hall, which stood behind Orange Town Hall until it was demolished in 1996. A bronze plaque has been ordered to be embedded as a permanent marker. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building, pictured, that stood for 104 years before it was demolished in 1996. The building was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair.

Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building, pictured, that stood for 104 years before it was demolished in 1996. The building was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair. COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building, pictured, that stood for 104 years before it was demolished in 1996. The building was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair.

Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building, pictured, that stood for 104 years before it was demolished in 1996. The building was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair. COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building, pictured, that stood for 104 years before it was demolished in 1996. The building was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair.

Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building, pictured, that stood for 104 years before it was demolished in 1996. The building was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair. COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building, pictured, that stood for 104 years before it was demolished in 1996. The building was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair.

Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building, pictured, that stood for 104 years before it was demolished in 1996. The building was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair. COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Ron Cormier and Shawn Adams assist equipment operator Justin Lyman, of G&S Lyman, in placing a memorial stone on the site of the former Memorial Hall behind Orange Town Hall. A bronze plaque will be affixed to commemorate the building.

Ron Cormier and Shawn Adams assist equipment operator Justin Lyman, of G&S Lyman, in placing a memorial stone on the site of the former Memorial Hall behind Orange Town Hall. A bronze plaque will be affixed to commemorate the building. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 06-10-2024 4:39 PM

ORANGE — Three local women are awaiting the arrival of a bronze plaque to be embedded onto the face of a new memorial stone installed to commemorate the former Memorial Hall building that stood for 104 years before being demolished in 1996.

Pam Rand, Janice Lanou and Pam Oddy took it upon themselves to arrange for a stone and permanent marker to honor the legacy of the structure built in 1892 by the Grand Army of the Republic’s Gen. Sedgwick Post No. 17. The building stood behind Orange Town Hall and was torn down after it had fallen into disrepair. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a fraternal organization made up of veterans who had fought for the Union in the Civil War.

“We’re anxious to have it done, because it’s time,” Lanou said this week, adding that their work will complete an unfinished project.

She explained resident Robert P. Collén, who died in 2014, was adamantly opposed to Memorial Hall’s demolition and attempted to establish some type of commemoration to the building after it was knocked down.

“We wanted to finish that project for him and everyone in Orange that is interested in town history,” said Lanou, who remembers photographing the building’s 1996 demolition. “I was very upset about it because I wanted it to be restored instead of torn down. But it just didn’t happen that way.”

Reportedly listed on the state and national registers of historic places, Memorial Hall was dedicated to the veterans of Orange who aided in the preservation of the Union from 1861 to 1865. The hope is to hold a dedication ceremony for the monument in July.

The memorial stone — on the grass lot at the corner of Prospect and High streets — was donated by the local excavating company G&S Lyman, which also installed it for free.

The money for the bronze plaque, expected to arrive at the end of the month, was generated through community fundraising. Rand said at least $6,000 was collected, and the plaque cost roughly $3,000. It will be installed by T.S. Mann Lumber Co., which dabbles in granite work. Rand mentioned the bank account belongs to the Trustees of Soldiers Memorial, and part of the remaining balance might be used to have a mural painted on the Town Hall’s back wall.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Rand said she, Lanou and Oddy may approach the Selectboard about removing the chain-link fence around the grass lot and then use some of the remaining money to install a new fence. Any leftover funds, she said, will be set aside for future maintenance.

Rand mentioned she was inspired to take on this endeavor after reading through a folder of materials Lanou gave her about Memorial Hall and its history. She said she felt it was a disservice to Civil War veterans and the community to tear down a building that had so much meaning.

“I just felt it was an injustice,” she said. “The whole purpose of [the building] was lost to history, and that’s what we wanted to rectify.”

Rand also said she recently learned her husband’s great-grandfather, Ransom Rand, was a past commander of Post No. 17.

“We’re really pleased that we’ve gotten this far,” she said. “Everything always take time.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or
413-930-4120.