Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lowell's Own - Company M - July 1918

Company M was comprised of Lowell boys who were part of the old 9th of Massachusetts who were  sent down to deal with the Mexican trouble at the border in 1916.   When they returned to Framingham they became part of the famous Yankee Division 101st infantry.  After guarding bridges in Lowell and Newburyport they sailed to France on September 6th, 1917.

 In July of 1918 they were assigned to Hill 204 near Chateau-Thierry and the Somme River in Vaux, France.  They were lead by Liet William F. Fitzgerald as their commanding officer.  It was the last major offensive by the German army.  The Lowell boys won.  They were outnumbered but held their own.  Here is an account of the battle:

"Vaux was a peaceful appearing little village near the Somme river and through which ran the road to Paris. The platoons of Company M were scattered about the town—you don't keep close formation in warfare—when the German attack which ultimately ended in an American counter-attack started.  When the attack began, the doughboys signaled the artillery frantically for a barrage.  The barrage came, but behind the Americans, and in their midst.  The range was off and could not be corrected by telegraph—that having gone out of commission —until a runner got word to the C.O. of the battery. Then the German ranks were torn apart."

Killed in action were their commander Liet. William F. Fitzgerald, Corp. Joseph Worthy, Frank McOsker, Philip Chalifoux, and Frank Lyons.  Captured by the Germans were Corp. James McCluskey and Fred Argaves.

Those In the Lines at Vaux
1st Lieut. William F. Fitzgerald (killed) commanding officer.
1st Lieut. Charles Smith, second in command.
2nd Lieut. Roger Bennett
2nd Lieut. Roland Dodge, D. S. 0. (killed In Argonne).
2nd Lieut. Frank Bolan.,
2nd Lieut. James P. Rose
2nd Lieut. Valentine C. Jacob (later captain of company).

Non-commissioned officers, Sergeants: Act. 1st Sergt. John M. Hurley, Leo F. Fox, Charles McDermott, Irving J. Loucraft, Russell B. Smith, Adolphis Desroslers, Robert A. Ginlvan, Warren Rogers, Daniel P. Brennan and John T. McDermott.
Corporals, John F. . Scully, Joseph A, Gregolre, Dewey B, Chagnon, John F. Kerins, Joseph A. Rheault, William Graham, Gilbert  Gendron, George Lowe, James McCluskey , Edward Lemke, Daniel F. Coakley, Edward Flannagan, Edward F. Barton, John F. Kenney, Charles O'Loughlin, Patrick Quinn, John Rogers, Edward F. .Hayes and Joseph Worthy.
Privates: Mechanic James C. O'Loughlin, Cooks George Hanley and Wilmer Craig, .Mechanic Sidney Craig, Andrew F. Finnegan, Walter Small, Martin F. Ready, Daniel T. Powers, George C. Wlllette, Michael J. McDermott, Joseph A. Dalgle, Thomas Cox, William E. Brown, Michael F. Mitchell, Ira E. Osgood, Harold Fulton, Joseph O'Brien, George Kelley, Fred Trudeau, Luther Hilton, Ernest Paquln, Robert Myron, Ralph Whitford, Emil Morel, Joseph McShane, William C. Kirk, John J. Slattery, Gedeon Beland, Edward T. McAleer, Frank Murphy, Evangelos Trascopoulos; Oscar Plaute, William Mulholland, William Savage, William H. Quinn, Patrick Shea, Arthur Monty, Edward Coughlin, Leo Carpenter, Alphonse Lessard, William Callahan, Rosarto L. Bleu, Joseph Lemay, Henry Underwood, George Underwood, George L. Marshall, John Suprey, James Burns, George L. Wayne and Edward McIntyre.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Lowell Memorial Auditorium

One of the great treasures of Lowell is the Lowell Memorial Auditorium.  It is a beautiful building and a great venue for the arts in Lowell.

They have a new website and they have included a history section written by Ed Harley of the Belvidere Neighborhood Association.  (note that the World War II at the end of the second paragraph should be World War I.)

"Shortly after the end of World War I, the Lowell Board of Trade proposed plans for the creation of a new monument that would honor local Veterans of all wars. A Memorial Auditorium was decided on as an appropriate structure. A commission was formed under Mayor Perry D. Thompson, to decide on both the site and the architecture of this memorial. The Commission named John J. Harrington as Chairman. Governor Calvin Coolidge signed the legislative act necessary for the implementation.

The corner stone was laid September 25, 1920. The cost was approximately $1,000,000. The building contained a seating capacity in the main auditorium for 4,000 with and additional 675 seats in the Liberty Hall Theater. Special attention was paid to the acoustic properties and the ventilating system. There were quarters provided for the Great American War, Spanish War, The American Legion, The American Red Cross and, the veterans of World War II.

Work proceeded without major problems and finally, the building was ready for the dedication. The ceremony took place on September 21, 1922. The former Governor of Massachusetts, now the Vice-President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, made the formal dedication. In addition to the Vice-President, other dignitaries present at the dedication included the Mayors of several Massachusetts cities and towns, Judges Qua, Leggat, Enright, Pickman, and Fisher. Also, the Reverend Appleton Grannis of St. Anne’s, and the Reverend Daniel J. Kelleher of St. Peter’s, who gave the invocations. State Representatives Charles Slowey, Victor Jewett, Henry Achin, Jr., Thomas Corbett, and Owen Brennan, along with members of the city government as well as Mayor George H. Brown, former Mayor Perry D. Thompson, the Building Commissioners, Chairman Harrington, Sec. Arthur L. Eno and Commissioners Walter Parker and Clarence H. Nelson. Governor Channing H. Cox, and former Private in the Army, Congressman John Jacob Rogers and Mrs. Rogers.

After its dedication in 1922, the Lowell Memorial Auditorium hosted a variety of conventions, civic and religious affairs, and programs of purely recreational or educational values. Liberty Hall became the home of the popular Parker Lecture Series.

One of the most unusual uses of the building was a weekly Bingo game, which was held on every Thursday evening for several years. Lowell’s East End Club sponsored these games, with the proceeds going to charity. John Carney, a Lowell carnival man, ran the weekly event, which often sold out the more than 3,000 seats available to the public. Life magazine featured the event in a pictorial spread in their January 15, 1940 issue. The article was titled, “Life Goes To A Bingo Game; In Lowell 3,000 fans play weekly.” Life called Lowell “A natural Bingopolis,” explaining that the games were held, “not in a club, church or cinema, but in the million-dollar Corinthian-column Lowell Memorial Auditorium.”

The coming of World War II offered new opportunities for the auditorium stages. Enlistment and War Bond drives sponsored appearances by decorated heroes and famous stars of the entertainment world such as Dorothy Lamour and Betty Davis. Big bands of the era, such as Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, appeared here for the listening and dancing pleasure of the public, and the hopes that the patriotic atmosphere of the events would increase the sale of War Bonds or aid military enlistment.

With the end of World War II, the Golden Gloves were brought to Lowell, and have become the most popular series in the hall’s history. Here, Rocky Marciano began a career that would terminate in his retirement as the only undefeated Heavyweight World Champion in history. Many other fighters brought recognition to the Lowell Gloves, including Marvin Hagler.

In 1979, the Lowell Memorial Auditorium was over 50 years old. The building’s original beauty and grace remained, but in a somewhat tarnished and shop-worn way. Floods and hurricanes, as well as the Great Depression and World War II, had left their marks. Lowell’s legislative contingent, State Senator Phil Shea along with State Reps Ed LeLacheur and Timmy Rourke, aggressively and successfully, made a bid to participate in the grant to revitalize the building, ultimately obtaining about $4 million for the project. The City had to raise $2.5 million to complete the project.

The plans called for the creation of a new heating plant, the installation of a much needed air conditioning system, the replacement of all wiring and plumbing, as well as new windows. The acoustics were to be improved and the building was to be insulated. In addition, all the permanent seats were to be removed and sent out for refinishing and upholstering. The balcony behind the stage would be completely removed to make additional space available for dressing rooms and stage props so that larger attractions such as Broadway shows and other attractions could be presented. To accomplish this it would be necessary to reduce the seating capacity from 4,000 to 3,000 seats.

In 1995 management of the Lowell Memorial Auditorium was assumed by Mill City Management, which is owned and operated by Tom McKay, Terry McCarthy and Leo Creegan. Under MCM’s leadership, the Lowell Memorial Auditorium continues to flourish as a destination for attractions of all types and today is busier than ever. In recent years, the Lowell Memorial Auditorium has had events nearly 250 days out of the year.

To walk around the building is to relive the Military History of Lowell and the United States. The names of all well-known battle sites from the American Revolution, through Bunker Hill and Trenton, Gettysburg and Appomattox, San Juan Hill, Bellows Wood and Chateau-Thiery are well remembered. But many fought, bled and died in lesser-known battles and these are also recalled in the inscripted entablature. Fair Oaks, Cold Harbor, Spottsylvania, Chapultec, Soissons and others. All battles are of equal importance to those that fought or died there.

Today, the Auditorium stands at the entrance to Historical Downtown Lowell, a beautiful and fitting monument to greet those visitors entering the city, and perhaps, Belvidere’s proudest building."