The Iowa General Assembly had voted to allow each county to levy a tax, not to exceed $3,000, for a memorial or a building. The people of Franklin County decided they wanted a building. The City of Hampton provided the site and, with the addition of private contributions, the Franklin County Soldiers Memorial Hall was completed in 1890.
The building is a unique, octagon-shaped structure in the Gothic Revival style. It houses ten marble tablets with the names of Franklin County Civil War soldiers engraved on them. The seven arched, stained glass windows each have a different motif, incorporating Civil War themes relating to weaponry and the soldiers' gear that were used in the war. The Union Soldier on Guard statue atop of the building is made of white zinc and it was purchased for $170 from the Graves Registration Bureau in Washington, D.C.
The G.A.R. Memorial Hall is the only building built to honor Civil War soldiers west of the Mississippi River. G.A.R. stands for the Grand Army of the Republic. There are Civil War Memorial buildings in Foxborough and Deerfield, Massachusetts.
The G.A.R. building is open by appointment only. To arrange a visit, please contact the Franklin County Veterans Affairs Office between 8:00am and noon, Monday through Friday, at 641-456-5670.