I cannot believe it! I found it, and it was right in my own house.
In my Jan. 8 column, I talked about an effort to conserve and restore the nearly 1,000 photos that were in the basement of the Hancock County Memorial Building for many years. I asked if anyone knew how they got there.
Well, in an interview that I did in 1993 with Will Scheiter, Dale Kuhn, Ed Ramsey, Richard Rodebeck and some other Legionnaires on the history of the local American Post No. 119, it says, “Edgar Ridlen, World War I Post Commander, got each picture of World War II veterans and made a frame of the 70 pictures and put it in the Memorial Building. He ended up with 960 World War II veteran photos hanging downstairs in the Memorial Building.”
Dale Kuhn added they were first displayed at the Hancock County Courthouse. Now Jim McWhinney and Dave Goodrich, who are working on preserving the photos, have the full story.
If you want to help, give them a call — they work for the city. These guys have done most of this from their own pocket. The photos are in terrible condition.
The American Legion was chartered in Greenfield in 1919. The first meeting was conducted in the Knights of Pythias Building, which was recently a restaurant on North State Street. The first Club Room or bar was above Pickett’s Hardware, which is a pizza shop now.
The post actually met in a suite of offices in the Memorial Building, which was their home until 1950 or 1951. At that time, they built a post on American Legion place. This site eventually became the county annex.
William E. Bussell was a lawyer and Bill Wolf’s law partner. He was originally appointed in 1919, and he served for a short time in the new year. He was then elected the first commander of the post. He left office in 1920.
Some say that Capt. Henry C. Gemmill did the initial work of laying down the foundation. He was a great organizer and a World War I veteran.
One of the first things the American Legion did was start the American Legion Junior Baseball program and the old Sprinkling Can contest. The local American Legion was heavy into youth endeavors in the community.
Enough. I have told you everything I know and some things I don’t. Talk to me.