Lesselyong-Sadowska-Kesler-Martin-Altmann Post 54

CLUB ROOMS 

The first meetings of American Legion Post 54 were held at the old armory building on W. 2nd St. On November 5, 1919 an agreement was made with the local Eagle Lodge to rent space in their lodge building. This arrangement was cancelled Oct 20, 1920. At the same meeting the Legion was invited by the Knights of Columbus to hold their meetings in the K C building.  No action was taken until March 16, 1921, when it was decided to accept the offer to use the K C hall.
 

March 14, 1924, a committee was appointed to pick a site for club rooms, but nothing came of it. From 1926 to 1938 the Legion was again meeting at the old armory. In the winter of 1937-1938 an arrangement was made to take over the Marshfield golf course west of the city and operate it. On May 5, 1938, the first meeting was held at the golf course. This was a good arrangement for three years. However, the lease on the golf course expired and not renewed in 1940, and January 21, 1942, found the Legion back at the old armory. October 7, 1943 it was decided to leave the old armory and accept an offer to meet in the new armory at 201 S. Oak Ave.
 

A building committee was appointed Feb 2, 1948, and on June 3, 1948 it was decided to purchase the Baxter-Ritger Funeral home building and furnishings. The first meeting was held in the new club rooms June 3, 1948.The possibility of disposing of the club house was discussed at a meeting April 6, 1950 and on September 20, 1950 an offer of purchase from Connor Lumber and Land Co with a proposition for the use of the basement for club rooms on a rental basis, was received. The building was sold and July 12, 1951 the basement of the Connor building at 108 W. 4th St. was occupied as club rooms.
 

July 12, 1956 it was voted to buy a plot of ground on Oak St from the city for $375.00, but it was decided on Sept 6, 1956, to look for a more suitable location. The Johnson Furniture Company building on W. 2nd St. was considered a more suitable location and was discussed at a meeting on December 13, 1956. Time passed and on April 10, 1958, a 1-1/2 acres plot on South Maple Avenue was leased from the city for 25 years at $1.00 per year The post proposed to beautify this land for the purpose of a Veterans Memorial Park. On March 15, 1962 the Commander was authorized to sign a lease with the city for this property. April 12, 1962 it was decided to go ahead with the plans for a club house on this site.

 

MISCELLANOUS
 

The Willard D Purdy Junior High School was dedicated November 11,1920 by Chaplain Stearns of Milwaukee, who had been Chaplain of the 32nd Div. during the War l, and later served as Department Chaplain of the Legion.
 

Many trophies of all kinds were received by the post and some of its member through the years. The Bauer Child Health Trophy was awards to the post for permanent possession June 15, 1948.
 

A committee was appointed and money appropriated to further the organization of a Barber Shop Quartette January 8, 1948.
 

Land was leased from the city May 5, 1949 to encourage model airplane flying.

 

ENTERTAINMENT AND FINANCING POST ACTIVITIES 

Entertainment and the financing of post activities come under one category because so often one is dependent on the other. This post has never been wealthy, and every money spending project that came along had to be dealt with entirely apart from any small amount of money the post might have had. The post has tried everything that had a chance to make a profit, and still must resort to various schemes to raise money for specific projects.
 

The Fair grounds were leased for a few years to hold 4th of July celebrations. The management of the celebration was taken over by an outsider, and the post members worked with the management. After two years, the Legion post was able to show a profit of about $800 a year, however the third year showed a loss of about $600 due to extremely bad weather.
 

Legion Post 54 continues to operate a food stand on the midway at the Central Wisconsin State Fair for many years, and is profitable. The original stand was situated along the Exposition Building, and later in a spacious space directly under the gradstand. The post operated a stand at the Fair in 1961 and 1962 and made a substantial profit.
 

Volunteers of the Post continue to operate the concession stand at Legion baseball home games. Other special events have included concessions at the grand opening of the Weinbrenner shoe factory in 1935. For several years, oncession stands were operated at North Wood County Park during the summer, and Powers Bluff Park in the winter.
 

The post sponsored plays and nationally known bands with varying success. In the cae of plays, tickets had to be sold, and success of the event was dependent on the effort of the membership to go out and sell the tickets The same applied to the many dances that were sponsored. It was a priority to secure a name band to attract a crowd, and this could be very expensive. The people who would come on their own having after seeing the event advertised, was hardly ever enough to cover expenses. However if you could generate the right amount of enthusiasm, the project would be successful.
 

The most profitable venture undertaken by the post was the management of the golf course in 1938 and 1939. The official opening took place on Sunday, May 28, 1938, with a flag raising and a brief ceremony. The Legion post also used the clubhouse facility as their meeting place, the first meeting held Thursday, May 5, 1938. These years actually produced a very satisfactory profit, but it was hard to solicit sufficient help, and two or three members practically gave up their entire summer to manage the project. There were many helpers, of course, for short periods of time, but the bulk of the work fell on the hands of two or three men, and they finally gave up, and no one could be found to take their place. If you have to hire help, you cannot make any money on projects like this. The three-year lease ended in 1940. For a short time at the end of the lease period, the course activities were operated by the Marshfield Junior Chanber of Commerce (JC's). By the end of 1940, the Marshfield Couontry Club was sold to a private owner, E.L. Wendlandt.
 

Keno or Bingo parties were held in all the early years, at least annually, with an extra one occasionally, and they made some money each time, and provided a lot of entertainment and amusement. However, these were finally stopped by state law. In more recent years, the state legislature has legalize Bingo in churches and clubs with restrictions and licensees to keep the cost and prizes down to reasonable limits. Everyone has a good time at these parties.
 

In the early years we had boxing, wrestling, dances, picnics, dinners, rifle shoots, bingo, and parties of every kind, some with the auxiliary present and some without. These were on a non-profit basis, and many times resulted in a loss to the post.
 

In many cases, Women's Auxiliary has participated in the parties, dances, dinners, picnics, joint meetings, etc. There are more opportunities to make a profit. The women are excellent organizers of dinner parties and picnics, and the more interest you have among the members, and the more entertainment that is provided, the easier it is to get members and keep them. 
 

 

Portions of the history of Post 54 was compiled from the records of Geroge S. Wood - Post Historian in 1964