The American Legion Earl E. Mitchell Post #29



The Glendale American Legion Post received its first charter in 1922 as American legion Post # 34.   The first Commander was Harry Moore (1920-21) followed by Verle Marks (1921-22 & 1922-23, and R.E. Putney (1923-24..  Somewhere between 1924 and 1934 the post turned in its charter.  When the post reapplied for a new charter in 1934 Post # 34 was already taken by the Post in Cave Creek and the Glendale post was chartered as Post # 29.

The Post received its new charter on the 24th of January 1934, with 15 charter members and John Howard was the first Commander.

In 1935, the Post sponsored, and drilled under the direction of Finley Westfall, the athletic chairman, a junior baseball team which provided healthful recreation for many youngsters throughout the summer.  The team was very successful, being beaten only by Tucson at the state tournament.

Another worthy accomplishment of the Post, under the Americanism program, was the organization of a Sons of the American Legion Squadron with 15 charter members.  Alfred Anderson and Alph Jorgenson were instrumental in organizing these boys who ranged in age from 5 to 12 years.

In October of 1935, the Legion furnished the dedication services for Glendale High School's new lighted Football Field.
They maintained a permanent home and headquarters in the A.L. Moore and Sons building on South Second Avenue, where they met every second and fourth Thursday at 8:00 P.M.
Further history of the post from 1936 to 1948 is missing and little is known, except for the commanders.  Those commanders are depicted on the plaque on the wall of the post meeting room. The following is a writing furnished to us by Earl E. Mitchell for whom the post is named.
In 1948, John Jones was Commander and Earl Mitchell was Sr. Vice-Commander.  Meetings were held at the old Glendale Public Library at 58th Drive just north of the Methodist Church and leased for $1.00 per year.
There was 3 1/2 acres at Orangewood and Grand Avenue belonging to Sands Motor Company with a public swimming pool.  Mr. Sands wanted to sell the parcel of land and the city wanted to purchase it but Sands Motors was not happy with the City because Sands Motor Company was at that time outside the Glendale City limits and their business burned down due to the fire department not being permitted to go outside the City limits.  A group of people thought of purchasing the property for the Boy Scouts.  A large amount of money was raised and then it was discovered Troop Scouts could not own property. An idea was conceived to attempt getting a sponsor for them, they picked The American Legion to be their sponsor. The next step was to obtain a quick claim deed from Sands Motor Company and someone came up with the idea to make the deed out to the effect the property could not be disposed of to anyone except a successor of the American Legion.  Several years went by and I went to an attorney and stated I could see no reason why, if Sands Motor Company were agreeable, that the property could not be in the name of the American Legion with no strings attached.  All you would have to do is feel you have a moral obligation.  Actually what it was stating was that any proceeds derived would be used for the benefit of the youth of Glendale.  The attorney wrote it up and Sands Motor Company signed it which put the property in our possession at a cost of approximately $5000-$6000.  About 10 years ago a friend of Winter White's an appraisor for the tax department, gave a free unofficial appraisel of the property and appraised it at $160,000.  We rented the property for $800 per month plus $200 for use of a billboard.  We have given some right-of-way and have lost an approximate 1/2 acre of ground.
Later, after a meeting one night we sat and talked about opening a club and the first question was "What will we use for money?"  We had about $300 in the bank.  Doc Tillman owned the Glendale Pharmacy at 58th Ave and Glendale and was quite interested in Legion affairs and Ralph Trueblood was the Postmaster.  Out of the clear blue sky the two of them said they would loan us $1500 with no security.  Walt Adams, (who was ineligible for membership) offered to sell us a Buick sedan at cost for a raffle.  Tickets went like wildfire and we took in $2700.  So now we had a total of $4500.00 which was enough to begin locating a "home".  At that time the city ordinance prohibited the sale of liquor any place except the triangle surrounding Glendale Avenue, West Grand, and 58th Avenue.  We began looking and found the present location which was formerly an old mortuary which had been vacant 2 years and belonged to A.L.Moore's brother.  The building was in deplorable condition both structurally and health wise.  We didn't have enough money to pay for the renovation of the building so a few members, their wives and children (10 in all) did the renovation.  We also had no furniture so Luke Greenway donated some old discarded tables, chairs, etc.  The bar was at the east end of the building and we had very little to sell.  Things were pretty rough for a while but soon began to pick up.  Jim Merritt of Merritt Electric Company came up with an idea for making some money.  He knew someone in New Orleans who sold slot machines.  After much thought and deliberation we decided "to go for it".  Jim suggested we contact his friend and have a machine sent and Jim would pay for it and we could repay him from our proceeds.  Instead of 1 machine we got 8 and we had the machines paid for in approximately 4 months.  We were doing so good we ordered 8 more and netted approximately $200.00 per month from the machines.  I came up with an idea for a "Pit Barbeque" for money raising and I knew a couple of farmers who wanted to help.  I had a dairyman who volunteered to furnish the meat and the Glendale Meat Company butchered it. Then a Japanese farmer heard about it and donated a 200 pound hog.  At that time, the back of the Post was nothing but dirt.  The men doing the barbequing gave instructions to dig a hole 12' long, 4' wide, and 3 1/2' deep and fill it with mesquite wood and on Saturday AM set it on fire and just after noon we started the fire.  Ralph Trueblood and I took 2 trucks out along the canal east of Peoria and got 2 loads of mesquite wood and filled the hole.  At 6 o'clock on Saturday AM I poured a gallon of gas on the wood and lit it.  The reverberations, which shook all the windows on the block brought the Fire Department.  After we explained what it was all about, they understood and we invited them to the barbeque.   We had no supplies to feed the attendance so we used paper plates and cups.    We fed 1000 people.  Ten bushels of salad was donated, along with bread and coffee.  We made $1600 on the slot machines that day.  People began hearing about us after the barbeque.  About a year later we got a tipoff of a raid on the slots (approximately 1949).  I grabbed 8 slots and took off - the other 8 slots, people were playing and the machines were confiscated.  We sold the other 8 machines to the American Legion in Tombstone.  By now we were rolling financially.  Next came the tabs.  I took them home.  Then pinball machines came along and we kept them a long time and made money.  They too, were finally confiscated.  When they were confiscated my name was on the liquor license.  I went to the judge with a blank check to pay whatever fine that must be paid.  He said he knew the money went for a good cause, but he had to get the charge off the records.  Finally he said " forget about the check "but I will have to do something for it as you are the person responsible as your name is on the license so I will give you a 10 day suspended sentence.  That was that.  Then we began Bingo in the old hall once a month followed by fish fry on Fridays.  A gas line was run into the space which is now the kitchen and I got Glendale Welding to make a cooking tray as we didn't have one, at that time, the proper cooking facilities and we served fish and chips on paper plates.  It went over good and was increased from every month to once a week.  Then we added a kitchen fully equipped and and are now serving 400 -500 fish dinners each Friday night.  I would estimate that now we are worth around 300 million including the three parking lots, the new building, and the property across the alley.
As the post continued to grow members begin to emerge as leaders within the American Legion.  Ronald Murphy, after having moved up the ladder in the post, was elected as the first Department Commander from Post # 29.   He continued on  as the National Committeeman and National Vice Commander for the Western Region.  
In 1992 William C. Bingham was the second to be Department Commander from Post # 29.  He continued on as the National Committeman following his tenure as Department Commander.
In 2009 Carol Hamburger was the third Department Commander from Post 29.  Her progression in the American Legion was cut short due to her untimely death in 2011.
In 2011 George Cushing was the fourth Department Commander from Post 29.  He went on to run for National Vice Commander for the Western Region in 2015 - 2016.
Chuck Haughts, Preston Vanderburg and James Massey served as Department Vice Commanders for Area "B".  Preston Vanderburg served as the Department Adjutant for many years prior to his death, 
In 1977 the post was progressing to becoma a fixture in the Glendale Community.  Under Ray Hackl's direction the post built a bingo hall utilizing the labor of the members.   Because of the added seating it enabled the post to increase the revenue from bingo.  Shortly thereafter a room was added onto the bingo hall for a place for the auxilairy to meet and to use as the non-smoking room for Bingo.
In _____ the proper documentation was prepared and forwarded to the National Headquarter to change the name oif the post.  National issued a new charter naming the Earl E. Mitchell Post # 29  after one of the founding members . 
In 1994, construction of a new lounge was begun.   The post traded the lot on the west side of 58th Avenue for the rail road rightaway jacent to the bingo hall.   The new lounge was completed in April of 1995.
On May 6, 2005 American Legion Riders Chapter 29 was formed.  The first director was Patrick Jarrett and his assistant was Fred Manske with 13 members  Robin Park was a supporter  from the beginning
As you can see the history of the Earl E. Mitchell Post has many stories.    These stories continue as men such as those listed above continue to make the Post what it is today.   There are so many Legionnaires and Auxilians that have worked so hard and donated so much of their time to make the Earl E. Mitchell Post 29 like it is today.    Their efforts shall never be forgotten.

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