Tour high­lights in­volve­ment in WWI

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Zach Sr­nis zs­r­nis@morn­ingjour­ @MJ_ZachSr­nis on Twit­ter

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.

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