Browse Exhibits (4 total)
Charles H. Tracy received the Congressional Medal of Honor on November 19, 1887 for his service in the Civil War. Tracy was born in Jewett City, CT son of Albert L. Tracy and moved to Chicopee as a young man. In Chicopee he learned his trade as a Machinist for Ames Manufacturing Company. At the age of 29 on August 6, 1865, Charles H. Tracy enlisted for 3 years in the 37th Regiment, Co. A, Massachusetts Infantry Volunteers. He was mustered into the service on August 15, 1862.
Tracy was promoted to Sergeant shortly after his enlistment. In the engagment at Petersburgh on April 2, 1865, he was wounded and his right leg had to be amputated above the knee in a field hospital. He was promoted to a 2nd Lieutenancy May 17, 1865 but due to delays in the Massachusetts Adjutant General's office, he was never mustered in his new grade. He was discharged from service due to his wounds at Chester, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1865.
After the Civil War, Tracy returned to Chicopee where he was an active member in both the G.A.R., an organization of Civil War veterans, and Lodge of Odd Fellows. He was also Commander of the G.A.R. Post 103 in Chicopee. Charles H. Tracy died on September 13, 1911 and is buried in Chicopee's Fairview Cemetery.
The library recently acquired a set of 4 photograph postcards documenting the 1922 Willimansett flood in which two dams burst, releasing 20 million gallons of water into Willimansett. No lives were lost, but the damages were estimated at $500,000.
In 2013, the Library displayed a 10 case exhibit commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. The display focused on Chicopee's substantial role in the Civil War as one of "Lincoln's Arsenals". The men and women of Chicopee contributed to the Union's cause both on the battlefield and in the factories. On display are numerous swords forged by the Ames Manufacturing Company, leather accoutrements made by the Gaylord Manufacturing Company, and various memorabilia from the Civil War era. The exhibit was the result of a collaboration between the Chicopee Historical Society and the Chicopee Public Library with the intention of educating our community about Chicopee's rich local history and its citizens important contributions to one of the most substantial wars ever fought in North America. The exhibit is no longer on display but online images may still be viewed.
Local history books give credit for the industrial success of Chicopee to the men who established and invested in the various manufacturing companies in the city. Boston financiers were key to the development of Chicopee from an agricultural village into an industrial city with worldwide recognition as a manufacturing Mecca. Yet, the importance of the workers who made up the backbone of the industry’s workforce, especially the role of the female cotton factory workers is often overlooked. This section is meant to draw attention to The Factory Girls of Chicopee, Massachusetts in the early-mid 19th century.