Herbert J. McKune
On July 1st 1919, former Chelsea area servicemen met in the firemans hall to discuss the desire to start an American Legion post in Chelsea. The decision to organize an American Legion Post resulted from the conclusion of these Veterans that the American Legion was the representative Veterans' organization in this country. That conclusion has been proven true as today the American Legion is the largest wartime Veterans' organization with nearly 15,000 local Posts throughout America and over 3 million members who care about America, Veterans, their families and our nation's youth.
At the first meeting it was decided to request a temporary charter to form an American Legion post in Chelsea.
A permanent charter was issued and Chelsea Post 31 was oficially formed. The first Commander was Dr. A. A. Palmer.
The Post was named the Herbet J. McKune Post 31 in honor of Herbert J. McKune, corporal, 67th Company, 2nd Division of the 5th US Marine Corp.Herbert was the son of Hugh T. and Millie McKune of Chelsea. He received the title of “expert rifleman” for his marksmanship skills. Herbert was killed in action at the Battle of Champagne, France on October 4, 1918.
The first year after the charter was granted, membership was 67. Over the next few years membership grew and then a period of decline in attendance and paying dues began, resulting in suspending meetings and selling off equipment and furniture in 1924.
In 1927 an effort was initiated to re-start the Legion meetings and activities. The effort was successful and meetings resumed with 21 members. Membership continued to grow until World War 2 and then grew rapidly after the war.
In 1935 Post 31 was given a lease for property on Cavanaugh Lake to be used for the American Legion and Sea Scouts. Construction of a building on the site began in the fall. Labor and building supplies were donated by the local community and Legion members.
In 1950 a 24' x 40' addition was made to the Legion hall to provide more space for activities and meetings.
In 1974 Post 31 held its first ice fishing derby at the Cavanaugh Lake location. Over the years the Winter Festival has become one of the most popular of the Post activities.
In 1976 the first American Legion 4th of July chicken broil was held at the Chelsea Fairgrounds. This too grew to be a favorite activity for the Post. When fireworks were no longer held at the fairgrounds, the chicken broil moved to the Cavanaugh Lake Post.
In 1977 it was decided to renovate the Post and add a second floor to accomodate all the functions being held. Construction was completed in July. Continued improvement projects have been carried out over the years keeping the Post up to date and in good shape.
A Women's Auxiliary of American Legion Post 31 was formed in 1934.
A Sons of the Legion for American Legion Post ____ was formed on _______. The Legion has every reason to be proud of it's Sons of Legion unit, which gained statewide recognition because of it's programs of service.