Tour highlights involvement in WWI
With 2018 being a centennial year for the beginning of World War 1, the Lorain Historical Society started a tour Oct. 11 at the Moore House Museum, 309 W. Fifth St., to highlight Lorain’s involvement in the global conflict.
“I’ve been going through some of what happened here during The Great War,” said Kaitlyn Donaldson, collections supervisor for the Historical Society, who led the tour. “The nation was conflicted about involvement in the war, and Lorain was no different.
“We had different nationalities and interests, but the city was called to support the American cause when our nation joined the fighting.”
Donaldson said Lorain was an economic supporter of the war.
“We had troops sent overseas, but we also supported the war financially and industrially,” she said. “Workers were working double shifts at the shipyard. It was a rate of work that allowed a ship to be built in six days.
“Those ships were sent out to help aid the war effort. Lorain, in total, contributed 38 ships. Lorain also raised $6.5 million in war bands for the cause.”
Donaldson said Lorain women also played a big role contributing to the war.
“You had a lot of women that were organizing drives and sending supplies over to the troops,”she said. “There was also a news story that said Lorain women knitted 7,970 garments for the troops.
“It was everything from knitting, sending books and saving food. There were also a good number of women who took over the jobs while the men went to war. They were employed at the shipyards, railroads and where jobs needed workers.”
Donaldson said there also was a fear back home of people of German descent.
“German Americans both lived in fear and caused some in others,” she said. “They often changed their names so they wouldn’t be considered the enemy.
“Leonard Moore, the mayor at the time, urged the National Guard to bring more troops to help prevent things from escalating. Nothing really happened as a result of the fear, but it was a reality for people in America at the time.”
Donaldson said Lorain also sent a large number of troops overseas.
“Some notable men who served were Clarence Coates and Ernest J. King, before he was an admiral,” she said. “King served on the USS Pennsylvania, one of the famed ships of the war.
“These men were away from their families and made a big sacrifice in serving in the war.”
The tour will be conducted at 11 a.m., Oct. 13 and 25, as well as Nov. 1 and 8.
Those interested need to make a reservation by calling 440-245-2563 and a $5 charge will be collected at the door.
Kaitlyn Donaldson, collections supervisor for the Lorain Historical Society, shows some WWI-era newspaper clippings during the tour.
Part of the WWI display at the Moore House in Lorain.