Merrick Legion Post 1282, as I remember

By Jake J. Bohn

Editor's Note: The following is account of how Merrick American Legion Post 1282, formed in the words of one of its founders, 94-year old John J. Bohn.

In the beginning there wasn't a veteran's organization in the Merricks. It was a community of people working together of respect and dedication. The population at the end of World War II was a mere 25,000.

Yes, I could be wrong, but when I was a young boy around 1915, I believe the population was something like 12,000. But after WWII, The Merricks grew like every other community on Long Island. It is now perhaps a city in some respects with a population of some 45,000. I would love to go back to the 1930s when you could walk the Merrick Village and know every storekeeper and every other person shopping in Merrick. Merrick was just a step above a whistle stop for the Long Island Rail Road. We had a nice railroad station house, small but quaint.

After WWII, some of the veterans wanted an organization and a place to meet.

We met in Rene Carreau's Liquor Store on Merrick Road. After discussing different organizations, the American Legion was our choice. We formed American Legion Post 1282 of the Merricks. We then elected Rene Carreau as our first commander. We had no place to meet, so many restaurant welcomed us. One in particular I believe was a German restaurant on Camp Avenue in North Merrick. It was located on the south side of Camp Avenue a short distance east of Merrick Avenue. We survived and grew. Then, it was time to think of our own Legion Hall. Property on Merrick Road was purchased; then we needed a building.

Around this time, the Lindenmere area was being developed, and a tennis club was formed, apparently for the home buyers in Lindenmere. As time went by, it was not used, and the Legion purchased the building on its grounds for $1, if I am correct. Then it had to be moved from the Lindenmere area, but how? It was decided to cut it in half for easy transportation to our site on Merrick Road just west of Babylon Turnpike.

Meantime, funds had to be raised, and bricks were sold (paper bricks - symbolic of the real bricks to be laid) at $1 apiece. Some of the wives of our members donned Legionnaire caps and toured the community to raise funds. They also visited other clubs such as the Rotary Club and others to raise money. Some even stood early mornings at the Merrick railroad station soliciting from train riders.

It was a time of good fellowship and camaraderie through the Merricks. The tennis clubhouse was well on its way to becoming the ouse of American Legion Hall Post 1282.

Webmaster's Note: This article was either taken from Merrick Life or the Merrick Herald.


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