VFW 90 Years: A change of plans
By Kris Leonhardt
Continued from previous week
In February of 1948, the post acquired the Charles E. Gibson property at 1011 West Grand Avenue, as the new site for their future clubhouse, as well as a youth center.
The property came with a two-story frame house, which was planned for use as a temporary headquarters.
At the time of the acquisition, the VFW meetings were being held at 150-1/2 Second Street North. The meetings were moved to the homestead on May 1, 1948.
Projects in that year included: a Poppy Sale, carnival, beer stand at Lincoln Field, water carnival, and blood bank.
In August 1950, the post had a change of plans, adopting a resolution to construct a clubhouse in the 100 block of Second Street North.
By the end of 1950, the post was the owner of new club rooms, a tavern, and rental offices, becoming self supporting.
The group then looked to form a firing squad with equipment and uniforms and sell the property on West Grand Avenue, in addition to their normal programs.
In May 1964, just 14 years into using the new clubhouse, the post held a “mortgage-burning ceremony.” The post and auxiliary had repaid $50,000 in debts accrued with the building of the facility at 126 Second Street North.
After fighting many rezoning and a liquor license concern, the post relocated their clubhouse to 411 Nash Road in the early 1980s.
In July 1982, the Buckley-Baldwin Post celebrated their 50th anniversary, with 380 members.
Two charter members, Arthur Vandenberg and Ernest Austin, still survived at the time of celebration.
In February 1991, the state worked on the relocation of Highway 34 and it looked liked the post would need a relocation as well; however, in March 1992, a new design was introduced for relocating Reddin Road, which would save $30,000 and keep the Buckley-Baldwin post from having to move.
In 1996, the post received a military tank for static display at their 2711 Reddin Road home, when the Army deeded the 55-ton M60A3 tank as a gift.
In May of 2007, the post marked their 75th anniversary with an open house, while continuing a long legacy of assisting their fellow veterans and forming a bond of friendship.
The Buckley-Baldwin VFW Post will host a “90 Years of Service” celebration on May 21, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., at the Donald J. Knuth Memorial Hall, 2711 Reddin Rd., Wisconsin Rapids.