Memorial Day Parade
The annual Memorial Day Parade will take place on Monday, May 30, 2016, with step-off at 12:00 PM.
This year's theme is "In Memory of Many...In Honor of All".
The parade route will begin at Benton and River, head east on Benton, north on Broadway, west on Downer Place and ending at River Street. The Memorial Day Reviewing Stand will be in front of the David L. Pierce Art and History Center at 20 East Downer Place for best viewing.
Lots C, I and L are closed. Lots B, D, G, Q and R may be accessed until 11:30 a.m. on Memorial Day. Those five lots will re-open again at approximately 1:30 p.m. Please reference our map for a visual representation.
If you would like information on attending the parade, please contact the City's Special Event's Division at (630) 256-3370 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A multi-year restoration effort culminates this Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 2016, with the reopening of Aurora's Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Memorial Hall and Museum in downtown Aurora.
A ceremony re-dedicating the GAR Hall and Museum will be held during pre-parade events, beginning at 11 a.m. on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, at the parade reviewing stand, across the street from the GAR Hall, in front of the David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Place.
Civil War re-enactors of the 36th Illinois Infantry Regiment will post the colors for the ceremony. The Memorial Day parade begins at noon and the GAR will be open following the parade until 3 p.m.
RESTORATION AND REOPENING
The GAR Museum is a memorial to area veterans of the Civil War. Built in 1877-78, GAR Memorial Hall, Post 20, was closed in the mid-1990s because of structural concerns. But after a 15-year restoration project, the historic building at 23 E. Downer Place in downtown Aurora, will reopen in time for Aurora's Memorial Day celebration.
Reopening Aurora's GAR Memorial Museum on Memorial Day 2016 is particularly appropriate since 2016 marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the national Grand Army of the Republic veterans organization in 1866.
The GAR project has focused on restoring and stabilizing the exterior of the building, and restoration and creation of exhibits for the Angel Room, the main display area. For the reopening, the Angel Room is filled with unique exhibits on the Civil War and the GAR, on the brave Aurora soldiers who joined in the fight, and on everyday life in post-Civil War America.
The $3.5 million restoration effort - involving about 80 percent local funding - was assisted by grants from local, state and national organizations. Grants were awarded to the project from the Kane County Riverboat Fund; the Partners in Preservation Chicagoland initiative, with American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation; the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity; and Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
HISTORY OF THE GAR MUSEUM
Dedicated on July 4, 1878, the GAR Hall was a place of refuge for Civil War veterans to gather, socialize, and cope with the horrors of the battlefields. And it was a community centerpiece for the rapidly growing city of Aurora in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Construction of the GAR Hall was funded entirely by contributions from Aurora residents, and the Hall was built on land donated by Aurora businessman Joseph Stolp. Over the next 70 years, more than 700 veterans from 70 Civil War regiments would become members of GAR Post 20.
To date, the GAR Museum collection has more than 2,500 artifacts - photographs, scrapbooks, medals, flags, and items dating from the Civil War through the Vietnam War. At the GAR Research Center, in the David L. Pierce Art & History Center at 20 E. Downer Place -- across from the GAR Museum -- residents and researchers can find assistance and access to the Museum's many artifacts.
Parts of the collection also can be viewed at the GAR Virtual Museum on the City of Aurora website, www.aurora-il.org. The Aurora Public Art Commission, assisted by the GAR Commission, oversees the GAR Memorial Museum.