American Legion Post 206
Saturday October 24th 2pm to 6pm
American Legion Post 206 Highland Park Hall Available for Rent for events, please contact (323) 254-5646
227 N Avenue 55
Los Angeles, CA
In 1922, three former World War I servicemen met to form an American Legion Post to serve the communities of Highland Park, Garvanza, Annandale, Hermon, York Valley and San Pasqual. On September 13, 1922, their charter was issued. The first dream of the infant Post was to acquire a clubhouse of its own. In 1923, their first attempt failed when they were unable to obtain financing for a two-story building they had planned on a tentative site on Pasadena Avenue (Figueroa) near York. Some of the members then suggested using Santa Fe Hill in Arroyo Seco Park, but the probable City Park restrictions made them loathe to proceed. They held their meetings at the old Library Building and set about to raise funds. Their first paper drive was suggested by Clifford Britton in 1925 and netted $6.23. However, the now Famous American Legion paper drive of November 11, 1927 -- the ninth anniversary of Armistice Day -- raised $200, and later proceeds from paper sales reached as high as $400 per month. The Women’s Auxiliary was formed in January 1923, and by 1927 they were holding card parties to raise money for the coveted clubhouse. The kitchen and dining room were later completely furnished from these funds. In June 1928, the Legion made a partial payment of $1,000 on three lots facing Annandale (North Figueroa) at Ruby. The total price of the property was $7,000, and the $6,000 balance was due in three years. The Post paid this off in 1 1/2 years and then owned the site free and clear. However, as it is in any organization, agreement was not universal among the members. Some favored a more central location, and on July 22, 1929, the Post leased a portion of the Recreation Center site fronting on Pasadena Avenue adjacent to the abandoned Pacific Electric tracks (where the swimming pool is now). Lease terms were $1.00 per year with construction required to commence within one year. An impressive $25,000 Spanish style clubhouse was designed. And then, three months later, the stock market crashed in October 1929, and the lease was allowed to lapse on July 21, 1930. Undaunted, the Legion ordered building plans for their Annandale lots, and as soon as the basic size had been determined, unemployed members began excavation work by hand. Again, agreement was not universal, and operations were ordered stopped by the Post 206 Building Company trustees who had begun negotiations for the telephone company building on Avenue 55. Financing could not be arranged, however, and on February 1, 1933, plans for the Annandale site were approved and Frank Realty and Building was hired as contractor. And then, the next month, the Bank Holiday closed the banks in March 1933, and attempts to realize the Post’s 10 year old dream came to a complete halt. Meanwhile, Southern California Telephone Company wanted to purchase a site in Glendale and needed to sell their properties on Avenue 55 and North Broadway. A Glendale realtor approached Post #206 with an attractive offer which they accepted subject to their ability to dispose of the Annandale lots and arrange financing. In January 1934, escrow papers were signed involving five parties and eight parcels of property --a large real estate transaction for the times. The escrow was closed in April 1934, and the dream conceived in 1922 was fulfilled 13 years later on Thursday, February 21, 1935, when Post #206 dedicated their clubhouse in the former telephone company building. Post #206 is called “The Post That Paper Built.” Over 3,000,000 pounds of paper were converted into cash from 1927 to 1935. 15 members were awarded life memberships for collecting more than 20 tons of paper in a single year, and the paper collected would make a stack over 1 2/3 miles high. The building itself is tripartite design in a classical style. A small, second story structure that was used during World War II by air raid wardens as a lookout for enemy aircraft has been removed. The building is simple and well proportioned and fits in well with its neighbors by utilizing the same architectural features in an oversized scale. For example, the four large windows are similar to the windows in the house that formerly sat next door, and the rain gutters are larger versions of the that home’s former style.
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