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Located in downtown Springdale (Washington and Benton counties), the Beely-Johnson Post 139 American Legion Hut was built in 1934 by American Legion members and local citizens. A kitchen was added to the building’s interior in 1937 by the Legion Auxiliary. The one-story building is constructed of rough-cut native stone quarried from a mountain east of Springdale. There have been no major changes to the building over the years.
The Beely-Johnson Post 139 American Legion Hut was organized as the Clarence E. Beely Post in 1921, named in honor of Springdale’s first World War I casualty. An American Legion Auxiliary was established in 1922. In 1962, the post’s name was changed to include the name of Elmer Johnson Jr., the city’s first soldier to die in World War II.
At first, Legion members met in the upstairs rooms of various downtown businesses. By 1929, plans were under way for the construction of a post hut, but due to a drop in membership during the early years of the Depression, construction did not begin until 1934. Land was leased from the city for a building site. The project received financial assistance from the Civil Works Administration, which provided wages of $1 per day for laborers. The post held turkey shoots to raise funds. Townspeople donated money, materials, and labor. A granite marker engraved with the American Legion emblem (inlaid in the rockwork above the building’s entrance) was donated by a local monument dealer. Springdale resident Harold E. Henson, a veteran of both world wars, recalled the construction project as a “gallant effort by legionnaires and townspeople.” The post was dedicated on August 26, 1934. A hand-painted sign above the doorway reads, “Through these portals pass the world’s greatest protectors—the American veteran.”
Nearly every social and civic group in Springdale has used the hut. It has served as a meeting place for Boy and Girl Scouts, a site for church classes, a gathering place for fruit growers, and a voting place. It is a popular site for family reunions, birthday celebrations, and pancake breakfasts.
The Beely-Johnson Post 139 American Legion Hut was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 30, 2007. It is located within the Shiloh Historic District, which encompasses the original settlement of Shiloh, now Springdale.
For additional information:“Beely-Johnson Legion Post 139.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/WA0968.nr.pdf (accessed October 15, 2015).
“Legion and Auxiliary Are Civic Forces.” Springdale (Arkansas) News, April 29, 1937, p. 29.
Rothrock, Thomas. “Beely-Johnson Post 139 American Legion.” Flashback 19 (August 1969): 3–6.
Susan Young Shiloh Museum of Ozark History
Last Updated 6/9/2017
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