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Birthplace of Memorial Day

Those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and freedom were honored and remembered as well.

We begin our Memorial Day coverage in Boalsburg, the Centre County town that claims to be the birthplace of Memorial Day with the first memorial service dating back to the Civil War era.

Gary Sinderson has our story.

Boalsburg dates back to just a after the revolutionary war, when a member of the Boal family, a soldier, was given a parcel of land. When there was no money to pay soldiers back then-they were given property.

Initially the town did not the share Boal family name

“It was originally called Springfield, before it was named after the Boal family, one of the first buildings was across the street, which was built by David Boal, it’s a tavern dating back to 1806”

In the early days of the Civil War, many from this region went off to war

“There was a school teacher here who resigned and went to war, all of his students followed him and went to war, Penn State was just beginning and it was pretty well emptied out”

Memorial Day here beginning with three women from Boalsburg in 1864, decorating these three graves of civil war veterans, their family members, in a town cemetery, in the next few years, more grave sites decorated

“After they decided to incorporate more of the cemetery, the idea caught on like wildfire, it just took a few short years before it was federal holiday”

So by 1869, decoration day as it was originally termed was recognized nationwide. But across the country, other towns also claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Not a major issue here

“Through history there has been celebrations of fallen warrior, for this country we do believe were the birthplace of Memorial Day, but we don’t have any problems with those who argue otherwise”

Boalsburg a small town big history

“We have three wonderful museums in Boalsburg, we have the Boal Mansion, we have the Pennsylvania Military Museum, and we have this local Historical Museum for people to see”

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