G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery
This finely preserved Civil War building is the home of Yankton Area Arts and provides a charming setting for monthly art exhibits, receptions, special events and meetings. There is also a fully-equipped kitchen and large classroom in the basement. Historically, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) built the hall in 1887 as the Phil Kearney Post No. 7, a meeting place for Union veterans and their auxiliary. Open Monday-Friday, 1-5 pm and Saturday 1-3 pm. Handicap accessible. Call (605)665-9754 for more information, gallery exhibits, special events and rentals.
G.A.R. Hall History By Robert Karolevitz
It was seventeen years after Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Grant that Yankton’s veterans of the War between the States and of various frontier units affiliated themselves with a rapidly growing organization known as the Grand Army of the Republic.
National in scope, the G.A.R. had the following objectives:
- To perpetuate the memories of camp and field life
- To take steps for mutual improvement
- To care for sick, needy and distressed comrades, their widows and children.
- To endeavor to make life as comfortable and pleasant as possible for all concerned.
On May 8, 1882, Phil Kearney Post No. 7 of the Grand Army of the Republic was officially organized in the Yankton Country Courthouse at Fifth and Douglas. In 1887, the veterans constructed their own building just north of the courthouse at the present day gallery location. It was actually the first post in Dakota, but the seventh in the Department of Iowa, which then had jurisdiction over the Territory.
The Yankton post was named after General Phillip Kearney, a daring and dashing Union office who had lost an arm in the Mexican War. He supposedly was known as the “one-armed devil” by the Confederates who killed him when he rode too far in front of his troops at Chantilly, VA, on September 1, 1862.
Concurrent with the formation of the G.A.R. post in Yankton, a chapter of the Women’s Relief Corps was organized as an auxiliary unit. The ladies conducted numerous baked bean suppers and other fundraising events to help the veterans pay off the indebtedness on the hall. As it turned out, the Women’s Relief Corps – which eventually lost its direct connections to the Civil War – was to become the continuing organization to maintain the building at 508 Douglas.
Renters should be aware of the nature of the space they are using and the accommodations that are available. Activities should be appropriate for such a setting. The gallery facility is limited and its use is conditional to the gallery’s primary concern for the appropriate care and safeguarding of its exhibitions. Thus, Yankton Area Arts reserves the right to refuse facility rental due to concerns for the safety of the building, its holdings and/or conflicts with the goals and purposes of the gallery. The facility is not available for rent on City holidays when the gallery is closed to the general public.
Square Feet – 1,180
Meeting/Lecture (Capacity – 75)
Meal Capacity – (Capacity – 50)
Inquiries and applications for rental use of the G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery should be made with the Yankton Area Arts Office.