The city of Lanesboro is fortunate to have beautiful old buildings which make up its downtown National Historic District. Those buildings come at a cost, however; they must be maintained and done so within guidelines which “come with the territory” of historic districts. One of those lovely “Grand Old Dames” is now in need of one of those expensive repairs.
Lanesboro’s American Legion Post #40’s structure at 103 Elmwood was originally known as the Ellef Loveland Building. Over the years it housed a variety of businesses, the last being a hat shop before the Legion purchased it in 1946. The building has the distinction of being one of only 39 American Legion buildings in the country known to be included on the National Historic Register. It also is the oldest building listed, and it is the only one in the state of Minnesota. That’s out of 14,900 Legion posts in the U.S.
This particular structure was built in or around 1873 out of what was known as coursed ashlar stone. The condition of the tuckpointing between those old stones has deteriorated to the point that it now needs to be restored in order to preserve the building.
That’s an expensive undertaking. Bids have been received, and the total will be from $40-42,000. Of that the Legion is prepared to pay $10-12,000, leaving a significant amount to be raised in order to complete this important repair. And this is where the community comes in.
This American Legion Post takes seriously that as a part of its mission, it is proud to support and contribute both time and finances to many local groups. The Legion is one of the first area organizations to which others go for help. As a result, at almost every monthly Legion meeting there is at least one community group asking for donations for one project or another. The Post is a valuable community asset and its contributions to this community touch every person who lives and visits here in some way.
It is hoped that many people recognize that, and will contribute time, talent, and finances in each’s own unique manner to achieve the project goal. It is doubly important because this project helps to not only preserve a property included in Lanesboro’s National Historic District but also to help a charitable organization such as the local American Legion to remain a viable part of the community.
Individual and organizational donations are of course the first option. Because the Post is incorporated as a 501C 19 tax exempt organization as a subordinate company under the National American Legion in Indianapolis, Ind., donations are tax-deductible. Checks made out to the American Legion Tuckpointing Fund can be dropped off at the Legion, or mailed to PO Box 285, Lanesboro, Minn. 55949.
Several possibilities for fundraising events are also being considered. One of those is an incentive for donations of $500 or more. It is hoped that there will be a breakfast before and after the annual Memorial Day service on May 28 2018. The date for the Great Lanesboro Sing-in (also known as a beer choir) is in the process of being firmed up. Other potential plans are for a casino night, a raffle for cash, a golf tournament, sale of patriotic-themed calendars, grant applications, and crowd-sourcing online. Which of these will be implemented will depend on volunteers; all help is welcome and all will be fun.
The Legion has set the deadline for raising the entire amount for October 1, 2019. Post Commander Jim Haugen has said that it “would be nice” to complete the project by October 1, 2018, but if needed it can continue a second year. If that becomes necessary, some events will be repeated, and new ideas will be added.
The second year of the project’s two-year time-frame coincides with the 100th birthday of the National American Legion. The calendars which are part of the fund-raising project, and will be in celebration of that anniversary. Plans are underway to coordinate with the City to also celebrate the 2019 Sesquicentennial of the town of Lanesboro. Finally, in the fall of 2019, a community-wide “birthday bash” will celebrate that anniversary event, to be held as close as possible to the actual anniversary date of September 16, 2019. It will also serve to celebrate the Tuckpointing Project’s hopefully successful completion.
It is hoped that individuals and groups of individuals will either create ideas or pick one or more of those listed in which to be involved. If any of those spark interest, or to volunteer, call or email either of the two project coordinators: Glee Claussen at (507) 259-1968 (email firstname.lastname@example.org), or Jan Meyer at (507) 951-9759 (email email@example.com).