The VFW traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service: Many arrived home wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans’ pension for them, and they were left to care for themselves.
Pittsburgh encampment of September 14-17, 1914,
Two hundred fifty delegates from across the United States and its territories and possessions attended, including engineer Colonel George W. Goethals, builder of the Panama Canal, who represented the Panama Canal VFW post.
- Official adoption of the name Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
- Adoption of the Cross of Malta as the official seal of the VFW
- Election of Colonel Thomas S. Crago of Waynesburg, Pa., veteran of the Philippine-American War, as the first national commander in chief of the VFW
- Adoption of the constitution of the VFW, which included the organization’s aims as stated in article 1:
“The objects of this organization are fraternal, patriotic, historical and educational; to preserve and strengthen comradeship among its members; to assist worthy comrades; to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead, and to assist their widows and orphans; to maintain true allegiance to the government of the United States of America, and fidelity to its constitution and laws; to foster true patriotism; to maintain and extend institutions of American freedom; and to preserve and defend the United States from all her enemies, whomsoever.”
LINCOLN VETERANS MEMORIAL HALL BUILDING AND SITE
EARLY HISTORY OF THE SITE:
Silas Elder had the first business at this site in the 1860’s and 1870’s, a blacksmith, wagon, and paint shop. Stephen Burdge next occupied the site establishing a winery there in 1880 (the same Burdge who owner the hotel at 5th and G Streets).
In 1897, the town of Lincoln obtained the building and used it as a firehouse and town hall. The large bell on exhibit around the corner on E Street was used as the town’s fire bell and was mounted above the town hall.
USE OF THE SITE IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE 20TH CENTURY:
The town hall remained here until 1930, although much of the town’s business had moved next door into the Civic Auditorium building. In 1930, local WWI veterans succeeded in getting $10,000 from the county to be used in constructing a veteran’s center. Lincoln deeded the lot to the county and had the old town hall moved south along the alley to use for storage, etc. Azevedo & Sarmenti of Sacramento presented the low bid of $9,999 to build the Veterans Hall. Architects were Starks and Flanders of Sacramento. Gladding, McBean & Co. donated 15,000 bricks. The formal dedication took place June14, 1930.
Extensive use of brick makes this building appear strong yet elegant. Brick was used not only in the main structure but also in the original entry floor, an entry floor enlargement, and an exterior planter. The building has a cross-gabled tile roof with a shed extension and a newer second story addition. Decorative terra cotta surrounds the arched entry with its recessed double wood doors. A large multi-paned steel casement window is above the brick planter, and a decorative brick vent is adjacent to the entry. Noticeable alterations include hall expansion to the South and to the West and a board-and-batten second story.
VFW POST 3010 FOUNDERS TALES:
James Vassion, a founding member of Post 3010, was a member of the 326th Infantry Regiment in World War 1. The regiment was part of the 82nd Division during the Muesse-Argonne Offensive in 1918. The 326th Regiment was activated on August 29th, 1917 at Camp Gordon, near Atlanta, Georgia. It was composed entirely of draftees.
James and his regiment became part of the “All American Division”, so named because the members came from all over America. They arrived in France on May 17, 1918, and their first combat was seen as they relieved the 101st Infantry in the Toul sector. There they and the 82nd Division came under control of the French VII Army.
In addition to James Vassion, the following comrades were original members of Post 3010 in 1934.
|Asa Atteberry||Frank Berryessa|
|Harold Best||Frank Beske|
|Edgar Burnett||Clarence Carl|
|Joseph Caddell||Fred Crowell|
|James Fancy||Robert Fitkin|
|Walter Hayt||Hershel Hicks|
|Alvin Jones||Peter Jespevson|
|Leonidas Lowry||Joe Mevy|
|Charles O’Neil||Lloyd Reeves|
|L.P. Ruiz||Fred Simonson|
|Elmo Slinkard||Clyde Thomas|
|Clarence Ivansue||Frank Williams|
|James Vassion||Alexander Weinick|
VFW POST NAME
(Williams-Russell Post 3010)
On April 7th, 1934 VFW Post 3010 was chartered as the Williams-Russell Post 3010. George Williams was with the Marines in the Belleau Woods Attack. Edward Bates Russell, Sr., received a head wound in the Army and came home with a metal plate in his head. His granddaughter worked for the Lincoln City Archives said he died in 1935, one year after the post was named. She also said the name of the post was dropped in a real political fight that her father, Edward Bates Russell, Jr., found very aggravating. In 1939, there was a battle within the VFW regarding the “Keep America Out of the War” movement.
The National Office sent a message to all posts requiring them to pass out petitions from the “Keep American Out of the War Committee”. The officers of Post 3010 prepared a proclamation to to National Headquarters that declared the movement to be against the best interests of the nation and declared that to pass out petitions would reflect badly on the VFW. The Vote on the proclamation was not unanimous but after this incident, the post dropped the name and it is this fight that could be the reason.
The Veteran’s Memorial Building was enlarged in 1946.