The American Legion
The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. Focusing on service to veterans, service members and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. Membership swiftly grew to over 1 million, and local posts sprang up across the country.
Today, the national membership stands at nearly 2 million in more than 13,000 posts worldwide. The posts are organized into 55 departments: one each for the 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and the Philippines.
The Department of Maryland –
Following the Paris Caucus, a second caucus was held – this time, in St. Louis, Missouri, under the leadership of Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. Col. Roosevelt had been in communication with James A. Gary, Jr. regarding representation from the state of Maryland. Mr. Gary contacted H. Findlay French, J. Craig McLanahan, and Henry S. Barrett. These four met at the Merchants Club and worked out the plans for preliminary organization and representation at the St. Louis Caucus. The delegation would consist of 15 men, 60% of whom were required to be of the enlisted ranks. The delegates named James A. Garym, Jr. as State Chairman. Unfortunately, business pressures prevented Mr. Gary from attending the St. Louis Caucus, so H. Findlay French acted as Chairman of the delegation at the caucus.
Upon the delegation’s return from the St. Louis Caucus, a meeting was held in which all veterans were invited and a temporary organization was set up. A Charter was issued to the Department of Maryland by the National Headquarters, then in New York, on May 24, 1919, as a patriotic, mutual-help, war-time veterans organization.
The American Legion, Department of Maryland is a community-service organization which now numbers nearly 81,000 members — men and women — in 157 American Legion Posts throughout the state of Maryland. These posts range in size from 15 members to over 4,700 members in a given post.
Dundalk Post 38
Dundalk Post 38, The American Legion, Department of Maryland was formed by 29 veterans of World War I in the summer of 1931. The National organization issued a temporary charter at the time and meetings were held on the second floor of a building at Shipping and Center Place. The Post was issued a permanent charter on July 5, 1932.
By that time, the meetings had moved to Rossi’s garage which remained the home of the post until the late 1940’s. The Veterans of World War I had started a home fund many years prior and, with the influx of World War II Veterans, needed a larger place to meet. The Post purchased 11 acres of ground (then a swamp) at 3300 Dundalk Ave. After filling in the swamp, the first part of the new home was built and dedicated in 1948. The large hall of the Post home was completed and dedicated in 1955.