History of Johnstown American Legion Post 254
For longer than anyone alive can remember, Post 254 owned the building at 44/46/48 S. Main Street in Johnstown. It was purchased by WWI veterans and a few civil war veterans in 1920. The Post sold that building and moved to the present location in June of 2013.
A lot of history is associated with the Post’s old building. The street level was always split into two halves. One side was always rented out as a bar, the other side, over the years, was rented to various businesses. The location was once rented by the Johnstown Bank, which later moved across the street and changed the name to BancOhio, later National City Bank, then PNC Bank. The building, over time, was also the location of a radio station (WWWJ), a Singer sewing machine shop, a patent medicine/soda fountain shop, and a variety store. During the years that the street level was being rented to all those various businesses, the American Legion and the VFW both used the upstairs for their meetings.
During WWII, there was an observation tower on top of the building to allow townspeople to watch for enemy aircraft that might be trying to bomb the supply depot in Columbus now known as “DSCC”. Also, the town “fire alarm siren” was on top of the building at one time.
Advancing age caused many of the members some difficulty climbing the stairs, so the decision was made many years ago to move the Post home downstairs when the last downstairs renter vacated. When that happened, the upstairs became a rental apartment. For a dozen or more years prior to the Post selling the building, the upstairs was used only for storage.
Starting in 1920 with the first commander, C.D. Hughes, Post 254 has had 58 commanders serve in the 1 year term of office. Of that total, six have served 2 separate terms and one had 3 separate terms. Also, one commander served 2 consecutive terms, three served 3 consecutive terms, and one served 4 consecutive terms plus 1 separate term.
Post 254’s new home at 180 West Maple Street in Johnstown, is only about 5 blocks from the previous location. Long time Johnstown residents know the location as the former “Johnstown Recreation Center”.
Since moving in in 2013, the Post has made some changes: the former tennis court is now a parking lot, a “Wall of Honor” monument (honoring all veterans) has been built, and is said to be the largest non-governmental monument in the state. Numerous other updates, repairs, and improvements have been made to the building and the grounds. The building is available for rent when not being used for Post functions.