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Fascinating Facts

  • Every soldier who applies for admission to the Home is vaccinated the first day he is here.
  • A member of the Home is employed in the hospital whose duty it is to read to the blind.
  • An oil portrait of each President of the United States is hung on the wall of the library.
  • There is a large ice house near one of the lakes, and this is filled every winter for summer use.
  • When a member goes out on a furlough he is allowed to take a certain amount of Government clothing with him.
  • There is a reception room in the main building, where visitors can register their names, rest, etc. Toilet rooms are connected.

From the postcard collection of the
Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center

More postcards
  • There are boats on the lakes, and soldiers who want pleasure or exercise can take a row free of charge. There can also be rented by visitors.
  • There is a printing office and book bindery connected to the Home, and all such work for the use of the Home is done there by members.
  • Several pieces of light artillery are placed on the knoll in front of the main building, and, with the caissons, have quite a warlike appearance.
  • The Western Union Telegraph Co. has an office in the main building for the purpose of receiving and sending messages of members, and official business.
  • Conspicuously posted at each entrance is a sign which reads as follow: “This is not a Public Park. Visitors re expected to observe the rules of the grounds.”
  • When a man is admitted to the Home he is required to give the name of his nearest relative or friend, and in case of his death the person named is notified by telegraph.
  • Smoking and chewing tobacco is issued once a week free to all members who do not get a pension exceeding $2 per month. Matches, shoe blacking, etc., are furnished free.
  • Reels of hose, pails of water are fire extinguishers are placed in all the main halls for use in case of fire – men from each company being drilled in their use once a month.
  • Quite a number of members make canes, weave purses and belts of linen cord, and such light work, then sell the product of their labor to city people and visitors, to get pocket money.
  • The Home is connected with the telephone exchange in the city of Milwaukee. The is also a private line on the grounds connecting all the buildings and the officer’s quarters.
  • Some members of the Home send the wages they earn or the pensions they get to their families in other states, each one being allowed to use his pension money as he desires.
  • Sabbath School and other picnics are often held on the Home grounds during the summer, the governor granting permission for the use of certain portions of the grove, on application.
  • Members who desire to go away on furlough, or who wish to go from this Home to any other, can get railroad tickets at half rate over any road by applying at the office of the Treasurer.
  • Most of the buildings are now lighted with incandescent electric lights. The gas used in the buildings and on the grounds is furnished by the Milwaukee Gas Light Company – pipes being laid to connect with the city mains.
  • Fifty of the best Enfield remodeled rifles are kept in a rack in the Lieutenant of the Guard’s office, ready for immediate use in case they are ever needed for any purpose. The provost guard is drilled in the use of these arms.
  • Guides are employed by the Home to show visitors about the Home grounds and buildings. They are well posted and ready and willing to explain everything. They can always be found in the hall and about the reception room of the main building.
  • The water supply comes from two sources – artesian wells and connection with the water mains from the City of Milwaukee – thus giving an abundance of fresh water for Lake Michigan for culinary and other purposes, including ample fire protection.

From the postcard collection of the
Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center
  • There is a large greenhouse at the Home where thousands of plants are kept and propagated during the winter and put about the grounds the beautify them in summer, giving the landscape gardening a beautiful effect. Mr. Archibald Despeaux is florist.
  • A system of intermitting sewerage (filtering) has been constructed at this branch during the past year; in connection with system previously used. This was done at the request of the State Board of Health, as a matter of precaution in relation to health.
  • In the Ward memorial building is a store, in which is kept nearly everything. Here members can buy “nick-nacks” of whatever kind they wish, such as brushes, combs, neckties, tobacco, pipes, etc. The profits from this go to the “Post Fund”
  • On the largest lake in the Home grounds are three beautiful swans, while near it in large cages, are two eagles. There are also a large number of squirrels that are so tame they come down from the trees when called and eat nuts from the hands of members.
  • When a member dies his personal effects are taken in charge by a committee and carefully preserved for six months, to be given to his nearest relative, if properly applied for. If not called for within six months, they are sold at auction, and the proceeds credited to the member’s estate.
  • There is a first-class fire engine on the ground, in a house built expressly for it. This is manned by veterans, who have fine quarters in that building. There is also a complete system of fire hydrants, and an organized force is ever ready to do good service in case of a conflagration.
  • Any member may, by permission of the Governor, leave the Home on a furlough, and thus retain his membership for one year while absent. If he desires to remain away longer he can get his furlough extended. Many members go out on furlough in the summer, to earn money, and return in the fall.
  • Among the inmates of the Home can be found men of every trade and profession, and many of them are artisans of rare ability. They earn from $5 to $40 per month, according to the work done. The hours of work for most of the “extra duty” men are from 7:30 to 11:30 A. M. and from 1 to 5 P. M.

This window in the Ward Theater was removed in November 2011
for safekeeping until repairs to the theater are completed.
  • A life sized figure of General U. S. Grant, mounted on a bay horse, is one of the ornamental stained glass windows in the Ward Memorial building. This was used as a decoration during the G. A. R. National Encampment at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1887 and presented to the Home by citizens of that place.
  • An inspection of the Home is made by the officers regularly once a week. At that time every man must be in his proper place in quarters, every article of clothing be accounted for and so folded and placed that the inspecting officer can see them all at a glance. The fire protection, sanitary measures and all such things are also carefully looked into at this time.
  • Every member is furnished with a standing pass, which entitles him to leave the Home grounds at will from 8 A. M. to 5 P. M., and return and time before 6 o’clock P. M. A member who returns to the home grounds intoxicated, or who violates any other rule of the Home, loses his pass for a period of three months; for the second offense he is deprived of the pass for six months, and for the third offense he is liable for recommendation for discharge from the home.

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