They may not have their own building much longer, but Atkinson American Legion Post 724 members will continue to have a presence in the village.

They may not have their own building much longer, but Atkinson American Legion Post 724 members will continue to have a presence in the village.

Post members recently voted to list their building for sale and Commander Don Buysse explained, “We simply do not have the funds to keep up our own building.”

They are hoping to sell their building on its 3.5-acre lot, but the listing does not include the cannon that for years has been in place in the front of the building and now has a home in Veterans Park in Atkinson.

The Post needed help in having the cannon moved to Veterans Park and that was taken care of by village employees.

A cement pad had to be poured for a base for the cannon and that cost was covered by the family of the late Barney VanDeRostyne, who was a member of the Atkinson Post.

The cannon is an important part of the history of the Legion and Buysse said, “We think the cannon came from the Rock Island Arsenal. We know the first one like it was designed in 1939 and this type of cannon was used in service from 1942-1945 and in World War II, they were used by the Japanese.”

He said the cannon is “unique” because it has an armor plate on the front “so the guy firing the cannon could kneel down and still fire it. There were 2,300 of these cannons built. It weighs 1,660 pounds and is 8-foot and 4-inches long.”

Buysse said, “We can’t afford to keep up our building, but we do not want to become defunct, and we want to keep our charter.”

Last year, the group spent $8,000 on a new furnace with air conditioning.

“At one time we could rent out our building for lots of wedding dances and things, but our place is not large enough to handle all the people who go to weddings nowadays,” he said.

American Legion Post 724 held its first meeting in 1919 in the basement of a downtown Atkinson store, Buysse said. The group moved into its present building 41 years ago.

He said there are 85 members in the Legion Post “scattered throughout the country.

“We have anywhere from nine to 16 members who attend our monthly meetings,” he added.

“I’ve got 63 years of continuous membership in the Legion,” he said. “I was in the United States Navy in the Korean War, and served from 1952-1956. We’ve got three World War II veterans who are active members in our Post – Rich Engels with 60 years membership; William Freddy with 70 years and Joe Goebert with 73 years continuous membership.”

Post members meet on the fourth Tuesday of every month and when their building is sold, they will meet in the cafeteria at the Atkinson Grade School.

“In the summer we cook out at 6 p.m. and eat about 7 p.m.,” Buysse said. “In the winter we make soup and eat about 7 p.m.”