American Legion Celebrates 95 Years of Service

LACONIA — American Legion Post 1 located at 849 North Main St. in Laconia, will celebrate 95 years of service to the community and its veterans and its youth with a dinner and awards night on Saturday March 8.

Originally names for Frank W. Wilkins, the first Laconia boy killed in World War I, the post was chartered by Congress in March of 1919. Although Wilkins was over the age to be drafted he left New England Telephone Company and joined the U.S.Army as a master signal electrician in Co. D 401st Telegraph Bn. He died in France of injuries received when he crashed his motorcycle while trying to avoid hitting a little girl.
The name was changed in 1946 to include that of Lt. Cmdr. James Stuart Smith, U.S.Navy, who was the first service man from Laconia to be killed during WWII. From 1930 until 1953, the post home was located at 329 Union Ave. The property was sold to the First National Corp, and later to Mr. Grocer. The property is currently shared between the high school vocational center and Auto Zone.
The current Post home was built in 1953 and has since undergone several changes.
In celebration of this milestone, the post will host a complete prime rib dinner to members and their guests. Also certificated of continuous membership will be awarded to those with 50-55-60 years of membership. Ticket information is available by calling the canteen after 12 p.m. at 524-9728 with a deadline of March 4.