La Feria News

The American Legion Post No. 439

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The city of La Feria is celebrating its 100th year anniversary and to commemorate the occasion we are digging deep into our archives each week to bring you images and stories from La Feria’s colorful past.

BiCentennialHistoryCover The following story is a chapter from a manuscript entitled The Bicentennial History of La Feria, Texas written by Eddie Gathings McNail in 1975. Throughout the coming year we’ll be reprinting sections of her research into the history of La Feria as the city celebrates its 100 year anniversary.

A group of ex-servicemen met at the First National Bank in December, 1927, to organise the Herman Clemens Post of the American Legion. Those elected were B. E. Coleman, Sr., Commander; J. B. Powell, vice commander; Bascom Cox, adjutant; R. F. King, historian; S. D. Kieffer, chaplain; and W. M. Coleman, sergeat-at-arms. The executive committee consisted of E. P. Bell, Charles C. Buck and R. E. Anderson.

These officers were installed by Ralph Buell of Mercedes on Friday, December 16, 1927 at 7:30 p.m. at the Odd Fellows Hall.
The reason for the name of the Post was because Herman Clemens was the only La Feria resident who was killed in France in World War I.

The Community Building was moved off the Park on Main Street to a lot north of the present La Feria Water District building. As the name implies, the Community Building was used by all organizations and clubs in the vicinity though the American Legion was responsible for the maintenance and the repairs.

When the Community Building was sold in 1943, funds were being raised to build a new American Legion Hall in the center of the city. For several years, there was no central place for the residents of La Feria to meet.

The La Feria Community Club building in 1921. This building housed ther regular meetings of several community organizations, including the nascent La Feria American Legion post. Photo: LFN Archives.

The La Feria Community Club building in 1921. This building housed ther regular meetings of several community organizations, including the nascent La Feria American Legion post. Photo: LFN Archives. (click to enlarge)

In 1947, Bob Anderson, newly-elected post commander, launched a new campaign for an American Legion building. Three committees, composed of World War I and II, and representatives of the community, were named to spearhead the building campaign.

By January, 1948, Anderson saw his campaign bring results. He, personally, staked out the site for the foundation of the structure which covers 4,000 square feet with a concrete patio of 2,000 square feet. Bob Anderson supervised the construction of the building, himself, and save some $10,000 in building costs.

This small announcement was on the front page of the October 13, 1949 issue of LA FERIA NEWS advertising the dedication of the American Legion Post Memorial building on Saturday, October 15, 1949. Photo: LFN Archives.

This small announcement was on the front page of the October 13, 1949 issue of LA FERIA NEWS advertising the dedication of the American Legion Post Memorial building on Saturday, October 15, 1949. Photo: LFN Archives. (click to enlarge)

On Saturday, October 15, 1949, the American Legion Post Memorial Building was dedicated, beginning with a barbecue at 6 o’clock and continuing into the evening. It was for the use of all the citizens of. the community.

The Rev. Leslie A. Boone of Harlingen, Post chaplain of the Texas Department of the American Legion, made the dedicatory address.

John C. Jones, Sr. , treasurer of the Building Fund committee, gave a brief resume of the history of the Memorial Building campaign. The building was valued at $40,000 by building contractors, but actual cost was only half that much.

The largest single donation was made by Mrs. Blanche Duncan of Mercedes who donated property that was sold for $5,000. Cash contributions were made by most of the people of La Feria and the surrounding community.

The American Legion Auxiliary equipped and furnished the kitchen and the banquet hall. The cost for this project was approximately $2,000. Meals for as many as 150 persons can easily be served.

Bob Graham was on the Citizens Advisory Committee and collected a large portion of the cash donations.

For 25 years, this Memorial Hall has been used for dances, showers, barbecues, card parties and meetings of many organizations.

It has been a haven for the winter visitors who have come to La Feria looking for entertainment and friendly hospitality.

It has served well the purpose for which it was built.

In May, 1974, central air conditioning was installed in the banquet hall and the kitchen at a cost of approximately $3,000 with the American Legion Auxiliary donating $1,000 for this purpose.

Robert Emanuel Anderson was born April 4, 1892, in Riverside, South Dakota. He attended college in Brookings, South Dakota, and entered the service of his country on June 29, 1918 during World War I, and served overseas in the 313 Ammunition Train which was stationed at Gainsville, France. He married Miss Vivian Holcombe on January 31, 1918.

After the war. Bob Anderson joined the Sibson Land Company of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and made several trips to the Rio Grande Valley selling land for the company. He, himself, bought some land at Santa Rosa and moved there in December, 1920.

In Santa Rosa, there were very few houses until Al Parker Land Company opened up the Santa Rosa Tract. The Andersons lived with the Tom Sibsons for almost a year. During this time, Bob farmed and drove for the Sibson Land Company and the Al Parker Land Company.

Bob Anderson and George Clark built an auto agency and garage in what was the Seven-Up building, owned by W. H. Whitfield, and what is now the Eddleblute Construction Company. After this venture, Anderson worked thirteen years for Boggus Motor Company of Harlingen. When Clyde Hollon started a Ford agency in Mercedes, Anderson worked for him until he retired in 1964.

This unusual, friendly man was three times Legion Commander of Post No. 439 and is a devoted citizen of La Feria. In 1949, he was awarded a lifetime membership in the La Feria Legion Post for his help in building the La Feria Memorial Building and for his meritorious service to this community. In 1972, Bob Anderson was presented a plaque for outstanding leadership.


Do YOU have any photos, books, or stories that might help us piece together La Feria’s storied history? If so please email us or call our office at 956-797-9920 and let us know!

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