This month’s Magical History Tour is at Cleveland Grays Armory Museum, located approximately 15 miles from the Westlake/Bay Village area in downtown Cleveland. The information in this article was sourced from a tour given by Bernie Browski, as well as the museum’s website and brochure.
On Bolivar Road, the Cleveland Grays Armory stands a silent sentry amid the bright lights and thunderous applause of Cleveland’s Progressive Field and Playhouse Square, an imposing reminder of times gone by. Chartered in 1837, the Cleveland Grays were an independent militia whose members served in volunteer units during the Civil War, Spanish-American War, Mexican Border Campaign and World War I.
Although the early 1900s saw federal legislation moving the country away from state-run militias through the establishment of the National Guard, the Grays declined joining the Guard and became instead a private militia. Since then, members of the Grays have volunteered in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the Grays take pride in their past and present service as America’s oldest independent armory, offering public tours of the Armory on the first Wednesday of each month between noon and 4 p.m. at $8 for adults and $5 for students, seniors and military.