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History

American Legion Post 39

Celebrating 100 Years

August 1, 2019

It all began over 100 years ago when 15 veterans of World War I, all residents of the Village of North St. Paul, met to discuss joining the American Legion, a new national organization dedicated to veterans. After submitting an application, they were issued a temporary charter dated August 1, 1919, officially forming American Legion Post 39 North St. Paul.

So began a century of serving veterans and the community.

From the beginning, members of North St. Paul Post 39 have helped veterans find jobs; provided kids clothes and baskets of food during the holidays for those veteran's families in need, especially during the depression; and much more. In addition, they are there when a veteran passes to honor them and support the family. On Memorial Day each year, they continue to decorate the grave of each veteran in local cemeteries with a U.S. flag.

Within North St. Paul and surrounding communities, the Post has always been supportive and helpful. It started with the Safety First Committee, which inspected local businesses for safety problems; lobbied for better crossing guards and signals at Soo Railroad crossings; and advised local communities on traffic control issues. During the 20's, they also provided labor to build a Veteran's Memorial within new Central Park in North St. Paul, and donated a cannon for the Memorial. The same cannon that currently sits outside the North St. Paul Historical Society.

As membership and finances grew over the years, community support became more tangible. Annual donations go to college scholarships for local students; Boy's State, Minneapolis and Hasting's Veteran Homes; Veteran's Rest Camp; and Fort Snelling Rifle Squad. In addition, there have been donations to local high school athletic programs; the city athletic fields; a motorcycle, defibrillators and shotguns for the police department; an aerial ladder fire truck; and $15,000 towards the new Historical Society Building.

The veterans of Post 39 have not been alone, however, in accomplishing their mission.

Spouses, daughters and granddaughters have assisted the Post's efforts as part of the Auxiliary, which was chartered as of May 25, 1926. The Auxiliary also supports many of its own causes including Girl's State, Children's Christmas Party, Webster Elementary School, MN Assistance Council for Veterans, and the VA Community Resource & Referral Center.

The Post 39 family grew with the addition of Squadron 39 of the Sons of the American Legion on September 28, 1985. Sons and grandsons of veterans, many of them veterans themselves, not only support the Post's activities; but also Legion Baseball, North St. Paul Food Shelf, Silver Lake Splash, and Shop, Ship and Share among other things.

The most recent addition to the Legion Family were the American Legion Riders on February 14, 2014. Besides raising funds for the Legacy Foundation scholarships, Veteran's Rest Camp and Hastings Veteran's Home, the Riders can usually be found helping out at the many Post events and activities.

In the beginning, Post 39 operated without its own physical structure, holding its monthly meetings upstairs over the old Village Library, located where City Hall is today. In 1946, the Post purchased the Old Owl Tavern in Oakdale at what is now 47th Avenue and Century Avenue. They operated it as a "set up" bar, while continuing to hold meetings at the library.

In 1950, the Post purchased the Lite House Tavern on 7th Avenue. It wasn't until November 1976, when they purchased the adjacent florist shop and expanded, however, that they started holding meetings and events in their own building.

Post 39 moved into its current home on January 1, 1986, after purchasing and remodeling the vacant National Food Store building in North St. Paul. The new home offered space for offices, large meeting hall, large bar, plenty of storage space, and a large spacious parking lot.

From the original 15 veterans, the Post family has grown to well over 800 members from North St. Paul and surrounding communities. All of them ready to continue serving veterans and their community into the next century.

HISTORY TIMELINE

August 1, 1919 - American Legion Post 39 temporary charter approved.

January 1, 1923 - American Legion Post 39 permanent charter approved.

May 25, 1926 - Auxiliary Unit 39 formed; charter approved.

1946 - Honor Guard established.

September 28, 1985 - Sons of the American Legion Squadron formed; charter approved.

February 14, 2014 - American Legion Riders Post 39 formed; charter approved.

The Charter Members: Ernest R Reiff, Bernard J. Renken, Percy R. Banister, William Dablow, Guy Schaumberg, Herman Witte, Rowland Luger, Leo J. Luger, Leo T. Orth, Albert R. Montgomery, William F. Combs, Arthur Rietsch, John A. Hanson, and Charles E. Campbell.