Noblesville American Legion Post 45 Commander John Morris understands the value of Post 45’s new home.
The new Frank E. Huntzinger Post 45 opened July 1 at 273 S. 8th St. Morris said 8th Street will be the main thoroughfare into downtown Noblesville when the Pleasant Street bypass is completed.
“We’ve put ourselves in a very good spot from the public eye moving forward into the future,” he said.
Morris said Post 45 sold its former property at 1094 Conner St, with the proceeds being more than enough to purchase the new property.
“Plus, we had enough money to remodel all this property and we still have about $100,000 in the bank,” Morris said. “We were in a very unique position to transition. Our last property was very visibly close to the Noblesville Square, which made our property very valuable.”
Morris said the new home has much more functionality than the post’s previous home.
“We had a large space, but the second floor was unusable,” he said. “The basement was not inviting by any stretch of the imagination, so we actually had about 3,000 square feet of actual usable space.”
The new property includes three buildings and a storage garage. Morris said it has approximately 11,000 square feet of usable space. The remodeling started in January.
The main building was a Victorian-style house built in the 1860s for R.L. Wilson, a wealthy Noblesville resident. William Conner, one of the founders of Noblesville, once had a small house on the property.
“Our property in Hamilton County goes back about as far as Hamilton County, which is one of the appeals of the property,” Morris said. “The American Legion in Noblesville goes back 100 years, so to be tied to a property is important to the tradition.”
The post celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019.
Morris said they left every piece of history they could in the post.
The main building there has a main bar, a lounge, a computer lab, conference room and additional storage.
The building that borders 8th Street is the gaming facility. It has a satellite bar that is mainly open on Friday and Saturday nights, Morris said.
“It’s accessible seven days a week, but just manned with a bartender two days a week,” he said.
The event building has a large commercial kitchen and a dining room that holds approximately 50 people.
“In the future, we’ll be looking for event rentals from members and the public,” Morris said. “There is a large side yard that is very private that comes along with the building. If someone wants to use that in the warmer months, they can have an outdoor wedding and then do food service and gifts inside.”
Morris, a 53-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, said in the last several months the post has been working on getting younger members.
“When I became an officer five or six years ago, I was the youngest officer,” said Morris, a former Noblesville resident who now lives in the Geist area. “Now, my entire officer team is younger than I am. We have really made a conscious effort to start bringing in and empowering young veterans and getting them involved, which is how this place is going to survive.”
Morris said the post has approximately 300 veterans and 120 auxiliary members, which are daughters or spouses of veterans, and 100 Sons of the American Legion, who are sons or grandsons of veterans.
Recruiting new members
Post 45 Service Officer Jordan Kinkead said Post 45 welcomes visitors to see the new buildings on days it is open to the public. There are regular updates on the Facebook page when there are events or open days.
“The move and relocation represent a new beginning, a shift in perspective and more opportunities to do great things for our veterans, their families and prospective members,” Kinkead said. “We now have three buildings that have different appeals and serve different purposes — an event center near the rear for meetings with a kitchen. In the front is our gaming building, which many often mistake as the only building. This building has a pool table, electronic dart boards and shuffleboard tables. The main building has a much different vibe than our former location.”
Kinkead said Post 45 is always looking for more members to get involved.
“When veterans complete their service, we still need a place to feel like we belong, a mission, another opportunity to serve and to be a part of something greater than ourselves,” he said. “The Noblesville American Legion can be that for (them).”
Post 45 Commander John Morris said the post typically gets one or two new members a year but has added 15 since July 1.
“People are blown away when they come here,” Morris said. ““It’s definitely generated a buzz. We’ve had members from Carmel, Fishers and Cicero who have transferred their membership into the Noblesville post.”
Morris said Post 45 has formed a partnership with veterans esports platform.
“We’re going to start running these online eTournaments out of our computer lab,” he said. “That’s another way to bring in younger veterans who are big on eGaming and online stuff.”
For more, visit noblesvilleamericanlegionpost45.com.