“I am passionately interested in understanding how my country works. And if you want to know about this thing called the United States of America, you have to know about the Civil War.” - Ken Burns

As the Grand Army of the Republic Highway (U.S. Route 6) winds its way from Provincetown, Massachusetts to Santa Monica, California, it passes the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry grounds on Lake Erie’s shore in Sheffield Lake, Ohio. 

Honoring those who volunteered from Lorain, Cuyahoga, and Medina counties, and originally the site of annual reunions of 103rd O.V.I. veterans who returned from the Civil War, the grounds now include cottages that are home to descendants of 103rd O.V.I. volunteers. 

What once served as the reunion barracks is a museum open to the public on the Sundays in May, June, September, and October when the 103rd O.V.I. hosts a pancake breakfast to raise funds for the foundation and museum. This year’s breakfasts are Sunday, September 8, and Sunday, October 13, 2019. You can tour the museum at other times by appointment.

Inside the museum, Lou Wagner poses next to the image of his grandfather, Sgt. Timothy Metzler, in a mural print of a photo of a reunion of 103rd O.V.I. veterans.

Inside the museum, Lou Wagner poses next to the image of his grandfather, Sgt. Timothy Metzler, in a mural print of a photo of a reunion of 103rd O.V.I. veterans.

As the son of a World War II veteran and as a former Navy Officer, to me the members, breakfasts, Camp Week, and grounds are a tribute to those who volunteered and served.

The members welcomed Lucky, God rest him, who always enjoyed a bit of sausage and some scrambled egg from the breakfasts, and calmly watched the firing of the 3-inch gun during 2016 Camp Week. 

Lucky didn’t flinch when the 3-inch gun fired. 2016 Camp Week.

Lucky didn’t flinch when the 3-inch gun fired. 2016 Camp Week.

Three-inch gun, 2016 Camp Week.

Three-inch gun, 2016 Camp Week.

What’s Camp Week? Every summer, descendants of those who served in the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry reunite at the 103rd OVI grounds in Sheffield Lake to remember those who served and to share stories. 

General Sherman, 2016 Camp Week.

General Sherman, 2016 Camp Week.

Camp Week 2017 kicked off with a potluck supper on Saturday night, the traditional turkey dinner Sunday afternoon, and raising and lowering the colors. Company B of the 8th O.V.I. was encamped. 

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Company B answers questions about Union Army life during the Civil War. 2017 Camp Week.

Company B answers questions about Union Army life during the Civil War. 2017 Camp Week.

Captain Harvey covers his ear during Company B primer check on Sunday. 2017 Camp Week.

Captain Harvey covers his ear during Company B primer check on Sunday. 2017 Camp Week.

Company B, 8th O.V.I. stands at attention after lowering of the colors. 2017 Camp Week.

Company B, 8th O.V.I. stands at attention after lowering of the colors. 2017 Camp Week.

Museum Gift Shop, Camp Week 2019.

Museum Gift Shop, Camp Week 2019.

Camp Week, 2019.

Camp Week, 2019.

As a veteran, and as the son of a veteran, it’s a privilege to pass along the energy and inspiration this fine organization and its members generate as they honor service.

Thank you to Nancy Yahraus, Gus, Lou, and the others who welcomed Lucky ( and more recently, Manny), my camera, and me.

Want to learn more about the 103rd OVI? The next pancake breakfasts are from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 8, 2019 and Sunday, October 13, 2019, at the 103rd O.V.I. grounds, 5501 East Lake Road in Sheffield Lake, Ohio. 

103rd O.V.I. Website: http://www.103ovi.co

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 “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” - Abraham Lincoln