The American Legion, The Department of Iowa, Post 298  


Post 298

Unit 298 

Squadron 298

Riders Chapter 298

 

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POST 298 HIGHLIGHTS

Information gathered by Post Historian Darrell Stahl

 

On November 19, 1919 forty former servicemen met at the WRC hall in Marion.  Allen McElwain was in charge of the meeting.  A constitution and by-laws were drawn up and $12.00 a year was charged for expenses.

On November 24th a Charter was signed by fourteen members.  In these months, no name was settled upon, so the Post became “The American Legion Post #298” in the Department of Iowa.  120 wives attended a meeting on December 7th, with interest to starting an Auxiliary Unit to the Post.  They purchased the first American Flag for the Post.

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August 1st, 1920 the Charter was signed by the National Commander.  In September the Post held their first annual street carnival in Marion

In 1921 the first Post Home was purchased.  The old Dearborn Hotel was purchased for $9,500.  Later an additional $10,000 was spent remodeling the Hotel.

May 10th, 1922 the Auxiliary Unit was chartered with 63 members and 5 Gold Star Mothers.

In 1923 the Post purchased two Bingo stands at the Marion Fairgrounds {now the Indian Creek Club} and used the stands for the street carnival Bingo. A new Ford car was raffled on the 4th of July. A game hunt and dinner was held later this year.

In 1930 the athletic park was purchased and plans were completed for a swimming pool. The Auxiliary helped by purchasing stock each year for expenses, they later gave all the stock to the Post as a gift. The pool was dedicated Aug. 30th. with a cost of about $30,000. Many hours were spent each year getting the pool ready, cleaning and closing it at the end of the season. The pool was 17,000 sq. ft. in size; an addition was added in 1957, making the pool 22,000 sq ft. The post took over sponsorship of a Boy Scout Troop and a Cub Scout Pack 58 from the Fire Dept.

In 1940 the post paid off their mortgage on the building, burned the mortgage and celebrated with their wives at a dance. The post become very active in civic affairs, community services, rehabilitation of veterans in hospitals and homes, carnivals, county fairs, corn festivals, corn  husking, old settlers, parades, etc.

1942 – 1945 No meetings were held, no records were kept, no conventions were held during WWII.

1945 Gilbert Gordon was hired and put on a salary as the Marion’s Veterans Club Manger and Bookkeeper for over 25 years.  A. McElwain was Post Adjutant for over 30 years.  Membership dues were paid for all World War II veterans who had been honorably discharged.

 The post initiated over 210 World War II Veterans.  We performed many community functions.  The Post and Auxiliary help purchase $800 worth of band uniforms for the Marion High School. The legion contributed $80 to the Marion playgrounds.  The post purchased 100 stacking chairs for the Marion Public Library.

In 1953 all Marion discharged Korean War Veterans were honored, with a membership to the post and dinner was provided by the Auxiliary.  Another 40 acres were purchased next to the swimming pool, to be known as “Legion Memorial Park”. Preparations began on plans for a Rodeo; money was raised by benefit dances, stags, and lunches.  First year, 3 days attendance was 12,000.  The 2nd and 3rd years were larger and were called “Fiesta Days”. There were parades and Queens.  The Post 2nd remodeling was done to the front of the dance hall, new glass block front windows were installed and an outside stairway to the basement, a kitchen was added, paneling, all new bar equipment was purchased, pool tables and shuffle board were added. The post subscribed to the “Firing Line” gave copies to the Library and Marion school.

1954, the legion placed new street signs on all Marion streets corners. A Can- Can was preformed at the vets’ hospital.

1955, Young and Hansen started a Legion sponsored Jr. Rifle Club; Collins joined them later, they served on the committee for over 20 years.

In 1958 the 1st annual rodeo was held at Legion Park

In 1959 the Legion Post donated and erected a cement base with appropriate plaque, pole and flag, at “Oak Shade” cemetery. Many members helped the Marion Police department with their annual safety check, also honoring several retiring policemen.  The Publicity Chairman had a weekly article in the Sentinel known as the “Vets Corner”.

In 1962, The American Legion Memorial Pool and Park was purchased by the city of Marion for $4,000.  Earlier value had been placed at between $500,000 and $1,000,000.

June 15, 1965 Congressman John Culver proclaimed Marion as “Flag City USA”; Legionnaires placed flags on 22 light poles, up town and business houses.

In 1969 a Veterans Memorial, “Freedom Flame”, was erected in the Marion City Park”, it honors all veterans. The plaque “1919-1969” was the 50th anniversary of the American Legion. Katz Salvage installed a new flag pole. Feb. 16, the city of Marion purchased 45 acreages from the post for $47,575 the property remained the American Legion Park.  The Marion Parks now owns over 65 acres and are interested in acquiring more land. 

In November 1967 the Marion Legion Post and the Auxiliary published their first newsletter.

In 1970 a new Club room, on the first floor of the Post home was added, remodeling was completed, and a basement dinning room addition was also added. A new plaque with all the names of the Post Commanders and the years they served were installed in the club room. Estimated cost was $25,000. A corner stone was put in place and mementos were placed behind it.

In 1972 the Post sponsored a 10 mile race.

In 1978 an annual WWI banquet was held with 90 people in attendance.  Mr and Mrs. Hoover were presented a plaque for having performed “Caring For The Flag” at the Shiloh Cemetery for over 42 years.  Helen Bartlett placed 3rd at National with the Post Newsletter.

1980, at the annual WWI Veterans Dinner, 34 widows attended.  New eligibility dates were set for the Vietnam War.  $2,000 was donated to Marion High School for athletic field lights.  10 Christmas baskets were given out.  Bingo was used as a fund raiser for 9 months.

1982 - The Department Convention was held in Cedar Rapids. Marion took 1st place with their float in the parade. The Marion color guard preformed colors, for Coe, at the Marion Football Field. A replica model of a DDS Destroyer was removed from the post and presented to the US Navy.

1983 - The Marion Post held a Regional Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament.  The Post put on a father and son bake off contest. The Post contributed $150 for the Vietnam state memorial.

1989 – Squadron 298 of The Sons of the American Legion was formed. The SAL chartered with 22 new members. 2 WWI Veterans were still Post members. Marion held a sesquicentennial day and the Post made pancakes.

1990 - Post 298 helped Cedar Rapids celebrate the 4th of July.  Marion held a rag bash in July for bikers, sold bratwurst and beer, it was windy and raining.  The family picnic was held in the back of Thomas Park. Marion held their first Swamp Fox celebration, the legion sold pancakes. A breakfast for hunters cost $2.50. The legion sold some of their land to Marion. All you can eat fish dinners were $6.00 during lent. The Marion newspaper started up again.  “Marion Times”

1992 is when Post 298 began the purchase of land and clean up at the site of their new Post Home.  In 1995 the Legion had a Hunter’s Breakfast in their new home.

1996 and continuing the Legion, along with other veteran’s organizations, replace and dedicate headstones for Civil War veterans.

1997 The Post donated $1,500 towards a Drug Dog for the Marion Police Department.  

1999 A city ordnance was written for Teen Nights using the Legion Hall

2001 The Legion Color Guard wins first place at the Department Convention.

2003  The Color Guard wins first place at the Department Convention at Sioux City.  The WWII Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.  The Post held a motorcycle Poker Run.

2004 The Post membership reaches an All Time High for the 13th straight year.  November 11th the Post dedicates it’s Veteran’s Memorial.  LTG John Sylvester (Ret.) was the guest speaker.  The event was covered by TV channels 2 and 9.

2006  Membership hit an all time high at 1,057.  The state convention was sponsored by Marion but held in Cedar Rapids.  The parade was held in Marion.  A  beer garden and dance was set up in the parking lot at the Marion post, it was a great success. Three new trees were planted by Cub Scouts Pack 58.  The first E-Mail News letter was sent out to those who wanted it. Our operational WWI Lewis Machine Gun was sold to a gun dealer out East. Bob Berridge, our adjutant, was selected Department Legionnaire of the Year. History Books starting with 1919 and up to 2005 were copied on to a computer CD. Historian sent the post history book to State.  The Post helped Post 5 with the National Legion baseball Tournament.  Dues were raised by National following a raise at Department the previous year.  Post dues are now $30.00

Since its chartering by Congress in 1919, The American Legion has been based on four founding principles:

  1. Service to Veterans
  2. Care and Education of Children
  3. Americanism
  4. Strong National Defense 

These four founding principles are being implemented through some 57 Legion programs by Veterans who truly care about the fate of our nation and the kind of world which is left to our posterity. If you are a Veteran, "Get Involved" and continue to serve and preserve the nation you defended.

 

Work in progress -

Legionnaire of the Year

2014     Dean Abramczak
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999

For an abbreviated history of the National Organization, Click Here

 

 

Send mail to sabot6.76@gmail.com with questions or comments about this web site.
 

                We Shall Never Forget!

                                            

                               

President Abraham Lincoln as stated in the Gettysburg Address

 "From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the 
last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain."

22 November, 2014   Last update