History of Grand Forks
Treumann-Webb-Phelps American Legion Post #6
Grand Forks Post No. 6, of the American Legion was formed on July 4, 1919, in Central Park, during the “Welcome Home Day” celebration staged by the people of Grand Forks in honor of the returning veterans from World War I. This was the same day of the year as the United States of America, 4th of July-Independence Day.
In the meantime, the plan of The American Legion had originated at the historic caucus in Paris and had put into realization of the St. Louis Caucus. It was the same time when many of the Grand Forks veterans had already taken steps looking to the formation of a Legion Post in Grand Forks. It was decided that the service men homecoming celebration would furnish a fitting scene for the birth of the new veterans organization.
The idea met with favor among the citizens and the ex-servicemen and women, so arrangements for the big festival were perfected for July 4, 1919. More than a 1000 ex-service men attended the celebration but there were so many events and the program was so elaborate that only 100 service men could be reached and induced to help in the formation of the new post that day.
The 100 men that could be reached met in a formal meeting to elect and install the original officers of the Grand Forks Post 6. The first officers of the Grand Forks Post were: Dr. Robert D. Campbell, Commander; Phillip Bangs, Adjutant; and Ray Jacobson, Finance Officer. At the time, there was a rather nebulous understanding of the post constitution and by-laws by most of those present. They didn’t want to take any chances on being under-organized, so three vice commanders, one from each branch of services, were elected. The three vice-commanders named at the meeting were: Walter Schlosser, representing the Army; James Malone, the Navy; and Clarence Sullivan, the Marines.
Dues for membership were set at $1 but were increased to $3 by Dec. 9, 1919. Judge Bangs submitted the Charter Application on July 10, 1919 on behalf of the membership to the North Dakota State American Legion chairman, J. R. Baker. The Charter was officially granted at the State Legion meeting at Fargo July 21, 1919. Members listed were: John G. Brundin, Edward O. Trepanier, Julius F. Bacan, John A. Shaw, Lawrence R. Feetham, W. K. Treumann, Burton E. Thompson, H. H. Healy, R. H. Secord, W. J. Malone, and Oscar C. Nygaard. In addition, the officers named at the first meeting were also listed, except Schlosser and Sullivan.
Post membership grew rapidly after the appointment of R. H. Secord as membership chairman. By 1928 the post had grown to a membership of 288 members and had become a extremely active veterans organization. The Legion met regularly, sometimes at the Elks Lodge and Commercial Clubroom, City Hall or City Auditorium. The formal Legion post meeting quarters was in the Veterans Memorial Clubrooms in the Grand Forks County Courthouse basement. The clubrooms were dedicated May 25, 1936 to the remembrance of the men who lost their lives in World War I and as an inspiration for service for the community, state and nation.
In the spring of 1937, Post 6 Commander C. D. Locklin initiated an action to form an International War Veterans Alliance with Canada. He wrote to Col. Ralph Webb of the Canadian Legion suggesting that an international gathering be held in Grand Forks to include a joint memorial ceremony. Col. Webb endorsed the proposal and made plans that led to over 700 Canadians traveling to Grand Forks to attend the First International Assembly held on September 6 & 7, 1937. The Assembly Meeting led to the formation of the International Alliance between the Grand Forks Post 6 and Canada.
At the end of World War II, hundreds of veterans returned home. Post membership increased to 795 in 1946. The younger veterans provided increased vitality to carry out Post programs and activities in the community. In 1960, Post Commander Frank Kosanda presented a New Club proposal for Post 6 membership. A Veterans Fall Roundup was held and attended by the National Vice Commander Willard Brandt, Department Commander William Gust, Department Adjutant Jack Williams and many other Department officers along with 200 Legionnaires.
The Grand Forks Legion Club was incorporated on August 15, 1963. The original board members were Kosanda, president; Clarence Jeffrey, vice president; Edward Sabin, secretary; Robert Griffith, treasurer; and H. G. Ruemmele. In August 1967 a new building was purchased at 10 North 3rd Street. A Grand Opening was held on February 12-17, 1968. After seven years as president of the Legion Club Board, Kosanda stepped down; he was followed by Treumann Lykken, John Lyons, Earl Kiley, and James Mantos, as Club presidents, respectively.
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