Arthur Bitting, Andy Norman
net. t>., Brnlrlrr Pally gun 198T Onlpimlnl Legion has accomplished much, believe 'much more to be done' Sgt. Andy Norman • m. • • • Charles L. Brewster organized American Legion Post No. 27 in Beatrice on Aug. 19, 1919. The following men were included as charter members: R. J. Emerey, John F. Schiek, Alfred M. Gray, H. C. Pagel, Ronald C. Sopher, Ray R. Wilson, R. A. Conner, Edward 0. Lenz, Douglas W. Wai- ford, Fred F. Koslowski, J. Ed C. Fisher, F. W. Messmore, Mervin D. Kyle, Ira Langley, Boyd Harmon, R. A. Phelps, Ernest L. Kretsinger, Lewis P. Robinson, C. E. Van Buskirk, Willard Bitting, W. L. Williss, Lloyd E. Williss, J. M. Lenz, John W. Delehant, Charles C. Hinkle, Charles L. Brewster, Gustave H. Schwartz, Howard R. Conover. N. W. Stevens, and Thomas W. Mayborn. The first Commander of the local Post was J. Ed C. F i s h e r;. Ernest L. Kretsinger was the first Adjutant. The meeting rooms were on the third floor of the First National Bank Building. It was on Jan. 4, 1920, that the name "Bitting - Norman Post No. 27" was adopted. The designation chosen for the Post memorializes the honor of Arthur Bitting, son of j Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Bitting, and Andy Norman, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Norman. On July 26, 1922, the Legion voted to close their club rooms in the First National Bank Building and accepted the invitation of the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce to use their rooms, at least temporarily, until a suitable permanent location could be found. On Sept. 21, 1922, J. Ed C. Fisher, the first Commander of the local Post, was named Nebraska Commander. On March 4, 1924, the Legion Cafe, now known as the Burwood Apartments. On Sept. 12, 1924. the American Legion sponsored Venetian Night, a gala spectacle with 21 decorated floats, and numerous other decorated boats. The theme for the night was "Story Hour." It was estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 people witnessed it, one of the largest crowds in the history of Beatrice. Five thousand cars were parked in and around Chautauqua Park. Opal San ford was elected Queen. On March 16, 1924, the Legion and its Auxiliary placed a Memorial Rock at the entrance to Chautauqua Park and with it, a bronze tablet with the names of the Gage County heroes. The Legion again sponsored Venetian Night in August, 1925. At Riverside Park that year there was an even larger attendance; 14 floats and numerous decorated canoes participated, and Barb ara Burke was elected Queen. It was at that time that the Legion Drum Corps was becoming increasingly more popular in Southeastern Nebraska. It was under the leadership of John Schiek and Ray Casper. On Jan. 14, 1933, the Legion, with the county of Gage and the City of Beatrice and the Federal Government, sponsored a project to secure the Veterans' Memorial Drive. It was dedicated May 30, 1934. Legion moved to second floor £" 11221/2 - 124'/ 2 South 6th Street, I l^n/itifM n «• tl*n X.TI rtV»**t r« * Qtti1r4t*trr n«* T ' known as the Nichols' Building, on 'April 1, 1934; the first meeting held there on May 24, 1934. On June 24, 1934, Junior Legion Baseball was organized with Ed Higginbotham as manager. He was succeeded by Charles Busboom. The "Sons of the American Legion" was organized on Jan. 1, 1935. Ted Messmore was elected captain of the Beatrice unit. The State Convention of the Department of Nebraska was held in Beatrice on Aug. 25, 26, 27, and 28, 1935. The convention committee was Dr. W. A. Rush, Fred H. Stoll, and Harold F. Mattoon. On Jan. 13, 1943, Lorentz A. Claussen was the first World War II veteran to sign up for membership in Bitting - Norman Post No. 27. Arthur Bitting DUV perpetuate of fathers, loyal moved into new quarters — the second floor over the McCormack The Ida McKinley Tent No. 26, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 1861-1865, was organized June 20, 1934, in Beatrice by Mrs. Emma B. Susong, Lin- coin, chairman of the national or- ganizition. Charter members included Misses Myrtle Hare and Georgia Moon, and Mesdames Lulu Dole, Belle D. Seibert, Zella Miller, Marie E. Bonham, Susie Smethers, Bessie Bloodgood, Gladys Gale, Elsie Bonham, Anna Samsel, Edna Jones, and Rosa Littrell. They arc organized to perpetuate the memories of their fathers, their loyalty to the Union, their unselfish sacrifices for its preservation, and to keep alive the history of those who participated in that heroic struggle. They sponsor the Grand Army of the Republic's living; memorial which is a scholarship to a deserving person, a descendent of a Union veteran, to a selected college. In 1956, the University of Nebraska was selected. They also serve with the Veterans Adminis- On Aug. 2. 1944, the Legion membership voted to lease t h e Old City Hall for the new Legion Home; the lease carried an option to buy. Formal opening was held on Nov. 1, 1944. The option to buy was exercised in April. 1946. July 2, 1947, Dean F. Brandt was elected Commander, being the first World War II veteran so honored. In 1948, extensive : remodeling was done to the Post Home, pro- viding more floor space, and in 1950 the building was extended to the alley. Its leaders believe there is much for the American Legion to accomplish in the City of Beatrice. It has started well, but there is much to be done. Commanders have included: J. Ed C. Fisher, Loren H. Laughlin, Harold -Mattoon, A. C. Knowles, Robert R. Warren, C. W. Clark, C. L. Brewster, R. Shell Grant, Dr. Charles G. Baird, H .e n r y Schlachter, A. J. Kierst, Fred H.