The city of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, an American village on the National Historic Register, claims to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, as do some 24 other towns in America. But Boalsburg’s claim goes back to a practice at the end of the Civil War. It does have a local museum and a history that stretches back over two centuries. Its claim is supported by pointing out, on a large sign near the center of town that:

The custom of decorating soldiers’ graves was begun here in October, 1864, by Emma Hunter, Sophie Keller, and Elizabeth Myers.

Named for David Boal who settled here in 1798. Village laid out in 1808. Boalsburg Tavern built in 1819. Post Office established 1820. First church erected 1827. Home community of three United States ambassadors.

Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian

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About billpetro

Bill Petro is a technology sales enablement executive with extensive experience in Cloud Computing, Automation, Data Center, Information Storage, Big Data/Analytics, Mobile, and Social technologies.


  1. stephanie ponteau on May 30, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Thank you for doing the work of compiling this valuable information. I use it on various holidays to share true meaning with my children. I will share this today in hopes of teaching them to respect and honor our soldiers whenever they meet them.

  2. Larry Day on May 27, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Thank you for all of your work.

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