History of Frankenmuth Post 150

The American Legion, as a national organization, was founded March 15-17, 1919 at a meeting in Paris, France. Frankenmuth's post was number 112 in the nation when we formed in May of 1919. According to Ruben W. Kern, the Post's first adjutant, our original group decided to pick number 150 as it seemed "easier to remember". It has remained our number to this day.

The first meeting was held in an upstairs room of the former Fechter Hardware (which is now the site of Gillroy's Hardware). At that time, membership stood at about 30 men. Our Post's first commander was Otto Trinklein.

In 1924, the Post acquired a public school building on East Jefferson Street and used it for meetings and functions until about 1946 when it was sold to Albert Wakeman who converted it into living quarters.

As was common in times of peace, interest in the Legion dwindled during the '20s and '30s and the membership with it. It was then that Carl Marotzke moved to Frankenmuth from the community of Sebewaing. His interest and enthusiasm revived the Post once more. He even moved his house trailer to Higgins Lake to stake claims so that the Legion wouldn't lose its deeds to some of the available property.

During the immediate post World War II years, returning veterans took the helm of the Legion. In September of 1946, every administrative post except one was filled by a WWII vet. Waldo Vanek was chosen as Post Commander, succeeding George Eischer, who headed the Post during the War years.

At this time, the group rented the old town hall, which stood at the corner of Geyer and West Tuscola Streets. Membership took a big jump during those years and held at about 150 men for a long time. The growing Post wasn't satisfied to remain in temporary quarters and so in 1948, the membership purchased four lots on Flint Street from Wallace Fischer and proceeded to build the present structure. Herbert Bronner, a local contractor and Commander then, supervised construction with the Legion donating the labor. Financing was through the Frankenmuth State Bank and personal loans from members.

The new building was dedicated on October 27-28, 1950. Arnold Poellet was the Commander that year and membership stood at 140. During the '50s, the Post building was used by many for various functions. In addition to regular meetings, there were Legion Christmas parties, New Year's parties, and hall rental for weddings. Many of these activities provided cash flow for the Post's civic involvement, such as city beautification and Flag donations.

During the 1960's, one event is remembered with particular fondness. This was the Legion's Slapstick Follies. It was a variety show with an all male cast. There were skits, barbershop quartets, an "all girl review", and other entertainment.

Another milestone was reached in 1961 when the Post held a mortgage burning ceremony. The Post continued in those quarters until 1964, when a larger annex was planned. The 52x30 addition included a large storeroom for the Post's hospital equipment loan program (now discontinued), a beverage dispensing bar, and additional ballroom space. Membership at that time reached 212 with Harry Veitengruber as Commander. Past commanders donated money for a fireplace which stood in the middle of the room. The first meeting in the new addition was held in September of 1964 and saw Robert Kern installed as Post Commander.

1963 saw the beginning of our annual Easter Egg Hunt for the children of the community. It has been held every year since then. This time period also saw the emergence of Frankenmuth's annual Bavarian Festival. When the Festival was moved to Heritage Park, our Post built and donated a large covered brick barbeque pit to the Civic Events Council for use in the park. For many years, the Post was involved with Chicken BBQ's and bar sales during the Festival. Our color guard has been the traditional lead-off group for the Festival parade since its inception.

Minor improvements were made to the Post home through the years and in 1975, the interior of the building was completely remodeled. Tim Topham was Commander that year and the membership reached 261.

The Post continued to provide service to its members and to the community at large through the early 1980's, at which time the Post saw a very large increase in the liquor liability laws of Michigan. Faced with this, the Post reluctantly decided to cease operation as a rental hall for outside activities. There was much debate as to how we would make up lost revenues. Finally, with some trepidation, the Post aggreed to hold Bingo at the hall.

The first Bingo game sponsored by our Post was held in July of 1986 and has continued every since. Through the dedication and hard work of many members, our Post has raised significant revenue for our programs. We have been able to sponsor American Legion baseball teams; provide flags for businesses, schools and individuals; pay for installing a number of flagpoles throughout the community; contributed to Michigan's Own Military and Space Museum; sponsor young men going to Boy's State; offer student scholarships; and a host of other things that support our veterans and their families, our community, and our youth.

The largest project this Post has undertaken is the Veterans Memoral in Frankenmuth. In 1988, Wally Bronner, originator of Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland, was our Memorial Day speaker and suggested a monument "in recognition of all those who served to defend and preserve the American ideals of peace and liberty". The members of our Post formed committees for the purpose of erecting such a monument. In 1994, Post Commander Harold Little broke ground at Willkommen Park, which is at the corner of Tuscola and Main Streets. And in 1996, the design of Post member Harold Eckert became a reality. Veterans Memorial Park was dedicated that year with numerous dignitaries in attendance.

Past Commanders of Frankenmuth Post 150

Otto Trinklein, 1919-1920
Gerhardt Heine, 1920-1921, 1923, 1930-1931
Herman Reichle, 1921-1922, 1926, 1929
Albert Nefe, 1923-1924
Herman Uebler, 1924
Adolf Kern, 1924-1925
Otto Conzelmann, 1929-1930
G.W. Trinklein, 1931-1935
Carl Maratzke, 1935-1943
George Eischer, 1943-1946
Waldo Vanek, 1946-1948
Herbert Bronner, 1948-1950
Arnold F. Poellet, 1950-1952
Harry O. Meyer, 1952-1954
Howard Wendt, 1954-1956
James Kern, 1957-1959
Herbert Beyerlein, 1959-1961
Robert Worley, 1961-1962
Roy Eischer, 1962-1963
Harry Veitengruber, 1963-1964
Robert Kern, 1964-1965
Harry Boesnecker, 1965-1966
Raymond E. Weiss, 1966-1967
George Stolz, 1967-1968
Arnold Kern, 1968-1969
Richard McKeage, 1969-1970
Howard Rogner, 1970-1971
Martin Galsterer, 1971-1972
Walter Veitengruber, 1972-1973
Paul Ross, 1973-1974
Tim Topham, 1974-1975
Robert Frank, 1975-1976
Derwood Finkbeiner, 1976-1977
Robert Tubbs, 1977-1978
David Wigley, 1978-1979
Alfred Keinath, 1979-1980
Howard Trinklein, 1980-1981
Kermit Olgaard, 1981-1982
Kenneth Poellet, 1982-1983
Rudolph Warnick, 1983-1984
Floyd Marsh, 1984-1985
Fred Beythan, 1985-1986
Dar Eldred, 1986-1987
Richard Peters, 1987-1988
Richard Warnick, 1988-1989
Fred Beythan, 1989-1990
Curwood Chall, 1990-1991
Ernst Trinklein, 1991-1992
Floyd Marsh, 1992-1993
David Hiles, 1993-1994
Harold Little, 1994-1995
Robert Trinklein, 1995-1996
Wm. Niegarth, 1996-1997
Robert Frank, 1997-1998
Leonard Sanchez, 1998-1999
Dan Walter, 1999-2000
Thomas Stasik, 2000-2001
Don Konoski, 2001-2002
Richard Hunt, 2002-2003
Ken Block, 2003-2004
Robert Farris, 2004-2005
Dr. Neil Love, 2005-2006
Don Yancer, 2006-2007
Oscar Ranke, 2007-2008
Burke Manntz, 2008-2009
Dan McLain, 2009-2010
Jerry Yoba, 2010-2011
Cliff Nauss, 2011-2012
Tom Kren, 2012-2013
Art Diffin, 2013-2014
Larry Henry, 2014-2015
Dave Hoffman, 2015-2016
Art Diffin, 2016-2017