‘Things keep changing’
After it was no longer feasible to keep the American Legion open, Post 113 has sold the building and finished a move to new meeting space
MARSHALL — It had a long history as a gathering place — going all the way back to 1946. But over the years, it became less and less feasible to keep the American Legion building on Marshall’s Main Street open.
It left members of Post 113 with a tough decision to make, said post Commander Ken Versaevel.
“The bar and restaurant wasn’t profitable for, I would say, the last 20 years,” Versaevel said. While it wasn’t something they really wanted to do, the post ultimately decided earlier this year to sell the building.
In some ways, it was hard to say goodbye, said Vice Commander Barry Andres. “That was our home,” he said. “Especially for some of the older members who have been there 40 or 50 years, that was kind of their place to go.”
Now, a month after the Legion building closed its doors for the last time, members of the post are getting ready to have their first meeting in a different space, in the former Rehkamp Horvath funeral home on Lyon Street.
“We moved in a week ago last Saturday,” Versaevel said. “It’s a decent-sized building for us.”
Versaevel said Post 113 started talking about the possibility of selling the Legion building about a year ago. It was getting harder to support the Legion bar, and then this year the COVID-19 pandemic ended up temporarily closing bars and restaurants. Post 113 put the building up for sale, and it was bought by a local business owner. The Legion stayed in business right up until Oct. 30, when it closed for the last time.
“It’s been tough for some people,” Versaevel said of the decision to sell the Legion building. “There’s quite a few memories there.”
In getting ready for the move, Versaevel said post members went through memorabilia and records in the Legion building dating back to the 1940s and 1950s. They preserved some of it, he said. Andres said some memorabilia would be moved over to the Wooden Nickel, and the post worked with the Lyon County Museum to take photos and preserve the building’s history.
Part of the Legion’s role as a community gathering spot will be taken on by a local business. The Marshall Legion post’s charitable gambling and Saturday bingo nights will be held at the Wooden Nickel — although COVID-19 has put things on hold for now, Versaevel said.
Versaevel and Andries said Post 113 will be holding its first meeting in a new building this week. The post rented office and meeting space in the former funeral home building at the intersection of Lyon and Fifth streets.
“Things keep changing,” he said, but things have worked out well so far.
“We are definitely looking for new members,” Andres said. Legion members want to continue supporting the community and veterans, as well as providing services like military honors at funerals, and holding observances at Memorial Day and Veterans Day.