Originally published in the Kennebec Journal on May 26, 2012: HALLOWELL 250TH: Legion post has long history
By MIKE MADDEN
In June of 1919, a group of veterans met on the corner of Winthrop and Water Streets in front of a bank building to discuss forming an American Legion post in Hallowell. On June 24th, 19 members met at the Bombahook Club and applied for a charter. American Legion Post No. 6 received its charter for formation on June 28th and a permanent charter on November 11, 1919.
The post was named after Captain Frank E. Goodrich, a Hallowell man who enlisted in the Canadian Army’s 48th Highland Regiment. He was shipped to France where he was wounded in action. After recovering from his wounds, he attended a private flying school and became a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps. Captain Goodrich was killed in aerial combat in France on September 12, 1916. His body was not returned to Hallowell and his grave is in Aubigney-en-Artois, France.
The first meeting place was located at Society Hall. Subsequently, Post meetings were held in the smoking room of the Worster House and later at City Hall. In 1935 meetings were held in the vestry building of the Universalist Church. In 1938, the current building which was the church vestry, was sold to the Post for $1.00 by the Universalist Church. Major renovations to the building began in 1991 and were completed several years ago.
After World War II, the Post was renamed Goodrich-Caldwell Post No. 6 to include the three Caldwell brothers from Hallowell who were killed in action. Corporal Cecil Caldwell and his brother PFC Maurice were killed the same day in the South Pacific on Vangunu Island in the Solomons. Sergeant Frank Caldwell was killed in action in Germany, and, a fourth brother, George, was wounded in Germany.
In 1945, a wooden Honor Roll was placed on the Hallowell Post Office lawn to honor veterans from this city who served in the war. This was refurbished in 1993 but, in time, the memorial deteriorated further and was in need of constant repair.
Several years ago in 2008, Post Chaplain Ernest Johnson recommended that the wooden Honor Roll be refurbished. After considering this, members decided to replace it with a granite monument that would be located adjacent to war memorials at the north end of the Hallowell Cemetery in the area known as Legion Park. The new monument will also include the names of veterans who entered the service while living in Hallowell and who served during the Spanish-American War through the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict eras.
A Veterans Monument Committee was formed in November 30, 2010 and planning and fundraising began. A starting point for funding was a $10,000 donation left to the Legion by Comrade Gene Lockyer, USN, PO 2nd Class, Pharmacy Mate. The project has received broad-based community financial support and met its goals in November of 2011. Last fall, the base for the monument was put in place with the help of local contractors who were members of Post 6 and volunteered their time. Now completed, the monument will be dedicated during Memorial Day ceremonies on May 28, 2012.
Current Legion programs include: Volunteering at Togus VA and at the Maine Veterans Home in Augusta; purchase and placement of American Flags on Water Street in Hallowell and on veterans’ gravesites at the Hallowell Cemetery; volunteer assistance placing and removing wreaths at The Maine Veterans Cemetery in Augusta; creating and maintaining a computerized census of veterans who are buried in the Hallowell cemetery and providing an updated listing to the Hubbard Free Library and City Clerk’s office for genealogical research. Goodrich-Caldwell Post 6 also supports local scouting activities, Boys and Girls State, the Hubbard Free Library and their various events which require the use of the Legion Hall. The Post conducts a Blue Star Banner program to support and recognize families with sons or daughters serving during periods of conflict; a Gold Star program to honor widows and children of immediate family members killed in action; and it provides American Legion Distinguished Achievement Awards to deserving members of Hall-Dale Middle School and Hall-Dale High School.
Annual events include Memorial Day Parade and Ceremonies; Lawn Sale; Flag Day Observance and disposal of unserviceable flags; Old Hallowell Day Parade and Strawberry Shortcake Luncheon; and, Veterans Day Ceremonies.