In July 1919 a meeting was held in the Police Station to organize an American Legion Post. On August 11th, 1919 an organizational meeting was held. At which time temporary officers for a post were elected. The first officers were:
The total membership on August 14th, 1919 was 46 members. The post observed their first Armistice Day on November 11th, 1919 and had their picture taken in front of the Advent Church.
The first State Convention in Rochester, NY on October 10th and 11th, 1919 as a St. Lawrence County Delegate from Post #79. The first National Convention was held in Minneapolis, MN. On November 10th, 11th, and 12th, 1919. At which time a constitution was adopted. Hereafter the Post President or Chairman was to be called the Post Commander. Post #79 was notified of the change on December 8th, 1919.
The local Post held meetings in various locations until the early 1940’s when the rented rooms in a building on East Orvis Street. The Post decided to purchase the location in 1945 and make it their permanent home. The brick building was built in 1829 and was located at 40 East Orvis Street. The two story brick building was ideal for the legionnaires at that time. It has held veterans of World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. However, the growth of the post and the increased use came to a head in the 1980’s when Commander spearheaded a drive to build an addition to the post. The 2,000 plus square foot addition was to be used as a dinning hall and relocated the kitchen. The old kitchen is currently used as a pantry.
Since that time improvements to the new addition have been done. Replacement of the tile floor with laminate flooring, replacement of the heating system, ceiling tiles and painting were necessitated by the Ice Storm of 1998. Damages from that storm topped $35,000 and required the replacement of the existing roofing material.
The post continues to move forward today. With a membership in 2002 of 779 with 107 new members we are a strong and community active post. Adopting veterans in area nursing homes and “Blue Star Banners” are programs that are dear to Massena Post #79. Strong supporters of “Children and Youth Programs” the local Legion Post sponsors a Legion baseball team – The Massena Federals. In 1999 the young team with only 5 years in the league captured the Department of New York State Championship under the leadership. From the first President, to the present Commander the post can be counted on to be an active part of this community. On September 11th, 2002 they are spearheading the first “Remembrance Day” in memory of those who lost their lives from the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 and for all the military personnel who have and will lose their lives fighting terrorism.