A fund was started in Sidney by surviving soldiers and their friends after the close of the Civil War. The initial desire was to erect a marble shaft to memorialize the war dead; but, when an anonymous letter to the editor suggested a building instead, a lottery was conceived to raise money for this project.
The lottery was not successful, with only 38,000 of the 60,000 tickets sold at one dollar each. Carey’s Hall (corner of Poplar and Ohio Avenue) was first prize. In 1875 the public voted overwhelmingly to issue bonds to pay for construction. The $58,000 building costs were covered by two bond issues.
In 1877, the cornerstone was laid for the memorial that would not only honor the dead, but would also benefit the living.
This building housed town and township offices, the municipal court, the horse-drawn fire department, police department, waterworks office, and post office. The ground floor contained a stable for the horses. The second floor was home to The Sidney Lyceum & Library Association. The third floor included an opera house where traveling troupes of the day performed.
In the Monumental Building hang 3 marble plaques inscribed with the names of Shelby County’s fallen war heroes. These plaques were created due to an act by the Ohio Legislature, which in 1871, had authorized the inclusion of a permanent tablet, in Civil War Soldier’s Memorials, which would hold the engraved names of each soldier who lost his life in conflict.
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