Post History

Historian Report

September 18,2015

 

   This will be short & sweet.

I still need any articles, photos and other activities of interest which took place between July of 2014 and July of 2015. I missed the deadline for submitting the 2014/2015 book to Department but would like to complete this edition and place it in the lobby for folks to read and comment on.

   I’ve been really busy with volunteering at the Navy Museum and working part time at my security job but have the 2014/15 book well under way. I think you will be impressed once it is finished.

   That’s about it for now. Keeps those cards and letters coming.

Dave Riley

Post Historian

 

I

Historian Report

Date – Aug. 7, 2015

  

   I believe I mentioned in a prior Historian’s Report that I am in need of input from all members to put into the History Book at the end of each year. When I took the assignment as Historian in June of 2014 I really didn’t have a clue as to what it would entail. I was halfway through my term when I realized how detailed it would be. I started gathering materials late in the term and missed a lot of information the History Book requires. In preparing the Book for the 2014-2015 term, I find I am missing a lot of things that took place during that period. So, to make a long story even longer, the Book for 2014-2015 will be incomplete when finished.

    The Book for 2014/15 will contain a great deal of Past Historical information which I will probably repeat (with additions) in the 2015/16 Post History Book. I have photos and dates for the following 14/15 events:

 

Halloween (Lounge) 2014

Children’s Christmas party 2014

Armed Forces Day Parade 2015

Memorial Day 2015

 

If anyone has info (photos, articles, etc.) of the following “Happenings”, Please contact me:

 

Bathtub Races 2014

Food Baskets for Thanksgiving and Christmas 2014

Thanksgiving at the Post 2014

 

Any Photos of things our Post did during that term would really be appreciated.

 

   Hope to see many of you at our next regular meeting Tuesday – August 18 at 6:00 PM.

Dave Riley,

Post Historian

American Legion Albert C. Kean Post 149

History of Post 149
 

 

Post 149 can trace its history all the way back to the formation of the American Legion at the Saint Louis, Missouri caucus. The story begins there with the formation of Bremerton Navy Yard Post 4.

Fred Fein of Bremerton, at the age of 90, was a delegate from the state of Washington to the St Louis, Missouri caucus in May 1919. At that time, Legion Posts were first organized in the major cities, numbering them according to population. In Washington, Seattle became #1, Tacoma #2, and Spokane #3, with Olympia and Bremerton competing for #4. Mr. Fein proved to be the best talker, so Bremerton became #4 with Mr. Fein as first commander of Bremerton Navy Yard Post 4. This would become the birthplace of Post 149.

Many of the members of post 4 were from Charleston (then a separate city). The first Post 149 meeting was held in what was then called the "Community House" on September 19, 1920 with Harold Kuett as Commander and about 12 members. In the spring of 1921, a charter was granted to Charleston Post 149 with 15 members. Harold Kuett was its first commander. In that same year, Unit 149 of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary was formed with Mrs. Homer Jones as president and 15 members.

Post 149 was a successful organization. In the first three months membership increased to 20 and by 1927 to over 200. The women's Auxiliary grew to over 100 by 1927. They were high in community spirit and soon organized a baseball team, Boy Scout troop, Post orchestra and a prize winning drum and bugle corps.

Membership in those early days included many of the "movers and shakers" of Charleston and those who in future years would make notable contributions in the community. Among those were Harold Kuett (owner of several businesses in both Charleston and Bremerton for over 30 years), Homer Jones (Mayor of both Charleston and Bremerton, U.S. Navy Captain,
and U.S. Representative), Richard Caywood (Last Post Master of Charleston and Bremerton postal official), and W. C. Sockwell (Manager of Community House, Chief of Charleston Police, Bremerton Police Captain).

The Post organized the first Bugle Corps for the American Legion in the State of Washington, which appeared at the State Legion convention in 1922.

At the February 1926 meeting, Post 149 decided to begin a community service in the form of an ambulance. They asked for and received support from other Posts throughout the county. Funds were raised by holding benefits, solicitations of individuals and businesses and voluntary contributions. The first ambulance purchased was a $3400 Studebaker from
Bremerton's Stebick Auto Sales Co. It began operation in October 1926 with Fred R. Lewis, the local mortician, as the driver. Lewis indicated he would provide 24 hour service.

By 1928 the ambulance would be making over 300 runs per year over mostly gravel or unimproved roads. By 1934 it had answered over 3000 calls and traveled 44,300 miles (about 15 miles per trip). Use was up to 100 calls per month. A new ambulance was needed. In July 1935 a new $3154
Studebaker arrived. It had been purchased from "Pop" Warren's Studebaker in Bremerton. Pop credited the Post with $500 for the old one. The first driver of the new ambulance was M. K. Pond. This ambulance was the primary emergency response vehicle until it was replaced by a $2000 Ford ambulance in August 1940. The Studebaker was then used as a back-up vehicle.

Between 1927 and 1931, the cities of Charleston and Bremerton would combine to become what is known as Bremerton today. Also in 1931, the Bremerton Navy Yard Post 4 and Charleston Post 149 would combine to become Bremerton Post 149.

During the 1930s the post was very active. Summer carnivals were sponsored at the Washington Junior High School Play Field. Boy Scout Troop 504 was sponsored (and would continue to be sponsored for over 70 years). And there were dances, dances and more dances. Even with the completion of the Tramo Ballroom in Bremerton and Perl Maurer's Pavilion, the Post ran successful dance programs. The Post 149 dance hall was named the Olympic Ballroom and a typical program in 1939 had "Smiling Milt Gootee" as master of ceremonies with Jake Jacobs and a four piece band.

Boys State was held in Bremerton in 1946, and Post 149 had the state and regional Junior American Legion baseball champions in 1949.

By the end of World War II, Bremerton Post 149 would swell to its all time membership high with over 1800 members. Also at the end of World War II, Post 201 was formed consisting of only World War II veterans. It was named after a Bremerton Native of World War II, Albert C. Kean, whose father was the Mayor of Bremerton (L. "HUM" Kean), from 1942 to 1952. Al was a charter member of the post.

In 1968, Post 201 and Post 149 and the Auxiliaries merged to became Albert C. Kean Post 149.

 

 

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