Restoring a Piece of Charlestown’s History

Abraham Lincoln Post #11

When passersby glance at the Abraham Lincoln Post #11 Memorial Hall on their way down Green Street, they see chipped paint, deteriorating windowpanes, and an unkempt yard. But to some Charlestown residents, it is worth a second look. A historic landmark that grounds the city of Charlestown, Memorial Hall was originally built as a family residence in 1791.

Since then, it has come to serve as a meeting place for Charlestown veterans and the Charlestown Lacrosse and Learning Center where over 200 kids are tutored per year in a supportive academic and athletic environment. In continuing its tradition of fraternity, charity, and loyalty, a benefit for The Abraham Lincoln Post #11 will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Saturday, Feb. 11.

“Arabian at the Knights!” will be an eventful evening of eating, dancing, and honoring a worthy cause.  The goal of the night is to raise enough for the establishment to file for a status that would allow the building to receive necessary repairs.  The evening will be hosted by the band Diabolis In Musica and will feature a Middle Eastern buffet, live show, and more than 20 belly dancers. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, and can be reserved by calling hosts Joe Zuffante ( 781- 648-9126) or Sioux Gerow (617-833-8292 ).

“The hall has one of the last sprung dance floors in the Boston area,” said Gerow. “It used to be a private mansion, there’s a lot of history, but it is in total disrepair.”

The Abraham Lincoln Post #11 is a non-profit veterans organization, but they don’t have the 501-c-3 status needed to become a full-on non-profit organization.

“They are active in the neighborhood as well as on a national level…We’re hoping we’ll raise enough to underwrite their filing process,” said Gerow.

The idea for the benefit came from Gerow, who spoke with Zuffante and board member Stanley Leonard after teaching karate at the establishment in its decrepit state.

“I knew the hall needed help with funds just from talking to them and seeing how much the building had deteriorated since we stopped using it,” she said. “We were looking to do a winter event with the band and I had talked to Joe in the past about throwing a benefit…Some time in the summer Stan came by and we pencilled in a date. As soon as it was confirmed a few weeks ago we started rolling this out,” Gerow added.

The band, Diablos In Musica, plays mostly Medieval music on period instruments, including a German dudelsack, hurry, gurdy, rauschpfeiffe and shawm. But they add a Middle Eastern twist.

“We like to just say we play loud, rowdy Medieval music,” Gerow said. Having performed at various Renaissance fairs, festivals, and parades, Gerow believes the band will draw a great crowd, and that people will see the importance in restoring the Abraham Lincoln Post #11.

Because of the events Diabolis In Musica plays at, Gerow has come to know a lot of belly dancers in the area, and thought the added Middle Eastern flair would help gain publicity for the event.

In its prime, the hall was used for parties and events, and was also used for barracks during World War II. It’s a pice of Charlestown’s history worth restoring since many families have members that are veterans. With veterans’ post around the country closing their doors, “Arabian at the Knights!” intends to serve as a way to keep them open at Abraham Lincoln Post #11 Memorial Hall.

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