Highland News Leader

New Douglas American Legion to hold 110th birthday celebration for its building

The New Douglas American Legion is looking to restore its post home to its former glory.

The Committee for the Restoration of the American Legion is planning a 110th birthday celebration for the building, located at 405 N. 4th St., on Saturday, Oct. 17 to showcase what it has already accomplished and ask for the public’s help in its quest to do more.

The building was constructed in 1905 and originally served as the community’s school. It has been home to the Tobias Bilyeu American Legion Post 710 since 1953.

The celebration will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be food, drinks, door prizes and music by Kevin Heim and Rich Siegner of 2nd Shift. Organizers are also hoping to reunite alumni who attended when it was school at the building.

“I went to school there,” said Post 710 commander Walter Butler. “There are several people around who went to school there.”

Items are also being gathering for a time capsule, which will be interred during the celebration.

Attendees can see how restoration of the building has progressed to date.

“We’ve done quite a bit of stuff,” Butler said.

A new roof and furnace were installed about three years ago. A new stove was put in last year. Floors have also been replaced, and the restrooms have bee updated. Some new windows have been installed, one room’s drop ceiling has been restored. New plaster and paint have been put up, and the wheelchair ramp has been repaired.

Future projects include tuck-pointing the building, gutters, kitchen refurbishment. The Legion also wants to upgrade the upstairs of the two-story building.

“So we can have functions up there, as well as downstairs,” Butler said.

Additional paint and plaster are needed. More windows are also in need of repair.

Butler would also like to replace the wooden handicap ramp with an aluminum one that is wider and better able to accommodate larger, electric wheelchairs.

“We are also trying to put a new back porch on (the building),” Butler said.

The wish runs list thousands of dollars long. Butler said fundraisers would likely be planned.

“We’d like to get our fish fry started again… We’d like to get some trivia nights going. There’s all kinds of things we can get going,” he said.

However, donations will also be needed to continue the restoration.

Donations needed

Donations for the restoration of the New Douglas American Legion can be mailed to: American Legion, P.O. Box 37, New Douglas, IL 62074.

The committee is also looking for donations for door prizes to be given away during the Oct. 17 celebration.

Volunteers are always welcome, too.

For more information, contact Walter and Viola Butler at (217) 456-8411.

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