Then & Now: VFW Club

Then: In September 1963, after 18 years of leasing temporary headquarters in the building at 412 W. Third St., Hastings’ Mount Surabachi Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1346 and adjoining women’s auxiliary opened its clubhouse at 1053 S. Wabash Ave.

The clubhouse, built for $55,000 — the financing of which came from individual contributions and post activities — included an office, dining room, kitchen, lounges, small meeting room and large meeting room comprising about 5,200 square feet.

A highlight of the post’s 28th anniversary celebration in July 1973 was the burning of the clubhouse mortgage once it was paid off, 10 years after opening.

Now: Fifty years after the clubhouse opened, declining revenue and involvement led post members to begin thinking about selling their building. The clubhouse’s final public event, Friday night bingo, occurred April 25.

“It’s an era coming to an end,” said post commander Ronald Hatch of Hastings. “Bingo was kind of keeping us afloat for quite a while. We had a hard time with that because numbers were down.”

Keith Dreher of Hastings, post quartermaster and temporary club manager, signed the paperwork to finalize the sale a week later.

“I hate to be the one who turns the key over to someone else,” he said. “I’d rather be the one who got the new key when we opened it up.”

To read more, see Friday's Hastings Tribune or the Tribune e-edition.>>

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