American Legion Post 162 in Lowville, N.Y., will celebrate its centennial in 1919. The post has been preparing for its 100-year anniversary by renovating the post home, creating a museum, and making a video that highlights its history in Lowville.
The post is currently taking its home back to how it looked 150 years ago by exposing the all-brick walls and updating the bar area. And it’s all been accomplished by volunteers.
"It’s absolutely gorgeous how it looks now," said Charles Lee Hinkleman, post commander, noting that the post has had a 28 percent increase in business since the renovations. Additionally, within weeks after the renovations, six Lowville residents joined the post to add to its Legion Family membership roster which has nearly doubled in five years from 386 to 600.
"We believe in the family concept so when I speak numbers it’s the Legion, Auxiliary and Sons of The American Legion," Hinkleman said. "Membership is a tough hurdle to climb. But I believe we did because we truly work as a family; that’s contributed significantly. And because we are very involved in the community."
As part of its renovations, the post cleared out its second floor and created a museum. Before walking into the museum, a Wall of Honor displays the names of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the current global war on terrorism. The museum itself has military guns, photos of local veterans who have served such as three brothers and a sister who served in World War II and a Fort Drum combat pilot who served in Afghanistan; photos of current and past members of the Post 126 Legion Family; military uniforms from World War II to the current war; and other military memorabilia.
"The goal of our Legion Family is to retain and respect the history of our veterans," Hinkleman said.
The museum is located on the second floor of the post home and only is accessed by stairs. So the idea for a video was brought forth to highlight the museum and the post’s history, as well as to distribute to veterans in nursing homes and those who cannot climb upstairs to see the museum.
The five-minute video was produced by WPBS-TV. Watch it on Post 162’s website at www.americanlegionfamily.org.