Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon

By Cynthia Temple

This was not a “saloon” as you know it today, instead it provided support services to soldiers on their way to or returning from the Civil War. Located at the foot of Washington Avenue, this organization was located along with the Cooper Volunteer Refreshment Saloon just south of Washington Avenue.   When ships were spotted nearing the wharf along Front Street, a cannon shot would announce to all the volunteers that assistance was soon required.  Imagine people dropping what they were doing to run to the “saloon” to assist the new soldiers.   Food, beverage, rest, an ear, whatever was required, was provided there.  The establishment served about 900,000 soldiers.