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History of Post 52
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As compiled by Win Church from notes, minutes and scrapbooks; covers period from 1919-1991:

In the late spring of 1919, Robin Morris was standing in front of the livery stable when Barton Baker came by and said, "Let's organize a Legion Post here in Mountain Home." This was the idea that developed into an organizational meeting of 15 veterans in the old court house.

Quoting from the Baxter Bulletin of March 23, 1920, "The Alley-White Post of the American Legion was originated at the court house here Saturday with twenty four charter members. It was named in honor of HOSEA ALLEY and THORNTY WHITE, two of the first Baxter County boys to fall before the Huns in overseas service."

Barton Baker was the first elected commander and was a delegate to the St. Louis Caucus Convention. The Charter members were:

John Adams Sneed Collins W. N. Lance Ray Seward
Barton Baker Oscar Douglas B. A. Miller W. C. Stoddard
Carl Baker Clifton Dunbar Elbert Miller H. C. Tipton
Don Baker John Fulson Everett Miller Jess Tucker
John Barker Jake Hornbuckle J. W. Miller Oliver Ward
Fred Bodenhamer Elmer King Robin Morris  

After many delays and much effort on the part of some of the Legion members, the Hut in the west part of town was finally completed (at 230 West Sixth Street).

It was dedicated with an appropriate program on Thursday, July 4, 1935. The building was constructed with labor furnished by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and others from around the community.

The local Boy Scout Troup [sic] did a lot of the back-breaking work carrying and breaking rocks for the walls. The auditorium is 40 x 80 feet with walls of native stone. It contained a stage 20 X 40 feet with a concrete basement the same size beneath the stage.

The land was purchased from Walter N. Baker and paid for partly by members and the balance by public donations. In 1940, an agreement was reached with the U.S. Corps of Engineers to install a hardwood floor. The contractors for the Norfork Dam were to furnish the material and the Engineers were to install the floor and in return they would have use of the Hut for meetings. This floor had to be replaced in 1948 because of the damage caused while the building was being used for a skating rink.

In 1945, the Judge Advocate, Nat T. Dyer, was killed in an automobile accident. When his office was cleaned out, all the papers, the deed, insurance, and charter for the Post were lost or destroyed. Later a new charter was granted and this is the one now hanging in the Hut along with a picture of Hosea Alley and Thornty White.

In April, 1967, a new roof was installed at a cost of about $1000. This was paid for from savings of the Post.

In November, 1967, the Executive Committee voted improvements to the Hut as follows: "Lower the stage to the same level as the main part of the building. Provide suitable flooring support for the lowered portion. Install a partial wall and a room divider about 26 feet from the south wall. The room divider to be a good commercial type folding curtain of about 20 feet. The ceiling in that part of the Hut to be lowered to about 9 feet. The rest rooms to be installed in the southwest corner of the area being remodeled. Also make provisions for a store room. The rest rooms to be 9 x 10 feet and the store room to be 9 x 6 feet. Total cost to be about $1576 and Le Roy Bruss was authorized to do the work. The Executive Committee is to sell non-interest bearing participation bonds to cover the cost."

In March, 1968, the Hut was mortaged to the First National Bank & Trust for $7500. Additional work of remodeling was authorized such as lowering the ceiling over the entire auditorium, windows blocked, wall board installed and a large heating and air conditioning unit installed. Some of the cost figures as reported in the minutes were: Insulation - $243.20; Lumber - $2023.69; Labor - $1005.14; Cement blocks - $176.97; Misc. - $203.18; Central Heat & Air Unit - $4150.00; Plumbing - $550.00; Electrical - $1711.70. Total cost as recorded was $10,063.88. The mortgage was paid off and burned with appropriate ceremonies on May 1, 1972.

At the time of the remodeling, the Post Commander was Leslie Dixon and the members of the building committee were Dale Blake, George Bronson, Walter Jarvis and Dewey Christine. The foresight of these Comrades made the Hut the versatile building which we enjoy today. Over the years the Hut has been used for many things from the only movie theatre in town, the first building of the First Presbyterian Church of Mountain Home, to an auditorium for school plays and just an all-around community building.

In 1981 about $250 was spent for reworking and resealing the air conditioning duct work in an effort to reduce the flow of air on members heads. In April, 1982, a store room was built on the front with a new entrance and steel doors at a cost of about $1600.

Other interesting items in the minutes are: In 1969 a proposal was made to sponsor a Post Legion Country Club to meet in the old Panther Heights Restaurant. Bill Shaw made the proposal and agreed to be the manager. The idea was not accepted. In December of 1980, the Auxiliary gave the Legion a new refrigerator for Christmas.

In the fall of 1982, the floor was sanded and refinished at a cost of about $1000 plus refinishing material. In October of 1981, gutters were installed around the Hut at a cost of around $200.

At the meeting of July 13, 1981, a committee was appointed to consider sponsoring an Avenue of Flags at the square as suggested by Virginia Kressin, daughter of Chuck Harris. This was eventually done and dedicated November 11, 1982, with 44 flags. Mike Slavak was the "doer," Virginia Kressin the "dreamer," and Mary Wicklund "publicity" for the project.

In December, 1981, the dues were raised to $12.00 for the year 1983. June 11, 1983, the $46 million McClellan Memorial Hospital in Little Rock was dedicated. November 20, 1983, dedication ceremonies were held for the Veterans Memorial Bridges over Lake Norfork. In June, 1983 Dorothy Dixon from Mountain Home was elected Department President of the Legion Auxiliary. The same year her husband, Earl was selected Department Membership Chairman of the American Legion. In June of 1985, Marguerite Werner was installed as the first female Commander of Post 52 following the resignation of Henry Meixner.

October 1, 1984, Past Commander James Coudret passed away leaving a sizeable trust to the American Legion State Child Welfare fund.

On June 1, 1984, 5 flags and 8 sections of flag poles were stolen from the Avenue of Flags. Between the years 1984 and 1985, the membership grew from 260 to 305. In 1982, Charles Larson began his tenure as Chairman of the annual Post 52 Shoe Fund Drive. In 1986, Larson was elected Historian following Joe Bradford who served for 4 years and Mary Lou Dailydas who served from 1976 until 1982. The books are on file in the Hut for any member to review.

In December of 1987, the membership authorized $650 to pay for painting the interior of the Hut. In May, 1988, Blanche Suchy retired as Adjutant after serving since May, 1972.

In October of 1988, the parking lot was resurfaced at a cost of $5496.00. In December of that year, several flags were destroyed and many flag poles bent on the Avenue of Flags by vandals who were later caught and punished.

In March of 1989, the Executive Committee saw the need to reduce the amount of smoke in the auditorium so it recommended the purchase of three "smoke eaters" at a cost of $2916.00. Just a year later, several panels of ceiling fell on the back room bingo players. No one was injured seriously, but the people in charge lost a few heart beats. In June of 1990, new sliding doors were installed between the two meeting rooms in an effort to reduce the noise when two meetings are being held at the same time.

Bill Keehn retired in May, 1990, after serving six faithful years as Finance Officer. His only request was that he be allowed to continue as one of the bingo workers.

In December of 1990, the Legion paid for and installed a flag with pole and dedication marker in Cooper Park for the new baseball diamond. In August, 1991, the membership was shocked by the death of Mike Slavik who had worked for nine years as chairman of the Avenue of Flags.

Membership in 1991 hit an all-time high of 423.

Compiled in September, 1991.


Not long after this, the Post moved into new quarters at 717 Market Street. The history of the Post from that point forward will be added in the near future!

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