Local Legion Hall Looking for Final Push

Unexpected expenses to make repairs to the Verdugo Hills Memorial Hall have veterans turning for help to the community it serves.

Photo by Charly SHELTON
Veterans stand outside the Verdugo Hills Memorial Hall in support of the recent 9/11 remembrance motorcade. The Hall, which is the site for many community events, is in need of repairs and the vets are reaching out to the community for financial support.


The veterans of American Legion Post 288 are well known for their community outreach. They host bingo fundraisers for numerous non-profit organizations, sponsor a Boy Scout troop, offer scholarships and donate funds to school clubs. Its members are always available to serve their community.

These outreach efforts are in addition to their main focus, which is to support active military, veterans and their families. The American Legion Post 288 meets in the 4000 block of La Crescenta Avenue in what is officially known as the Verdugo Hills Memorial Hall.

For a couple of years the veterans of Post 288 have been fundraising to repair the Hall’s parking lot and add some safety measures. The initial fundraising push was pre-pandemic; consequently it has taken a while to raise the needed funds. They were close to reaching their goal and were looking forward to beginning construction when they got word from the City of Glendale that, due to additional construction requirements, more funding was needed.

“Several fundraising sources have had to adjust their support because of the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses,” said Lynn McGinnis of the American Legion Post 288.

The Post needs an additional $12,000 to complete the project and is kicking off its fundraiser today, Thursday, Oct. 1. The goal of the veterans is to break ground on Nov. 11 – Veterans Day.

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, the regular meetings and community events usually held at the Hall have been canceled leaving empty the American Legion Hall. This is a good time for work on the lot to be completed.

In addition to the interior of the Hall, the exterior/parking lot is often used for events, including the annual food donation drive, Scouting for Food, sponsored by the Boy Scouts.

The American Legion Hall has a long history in the Crescenta Valley. According to CVW writer and local historian Mike Lawler, as reported in an article in 2011 titled “Death Once Stalked our American Legion Hall,” in the 1920s many World War I veterans moved to the Crescenta Valley. At the time the American Legion Hall was newly built on the corner of Rosemont and Fairway avenues serving veterans of Post 288 and their families. It was dedicated with much fanfare in 1925. In late 1933, a destructive fire cleared the front range of vegetation in the San Gabriel Mountains and then heavy rains through December generated mudflows. By Dec. 31, 1933 the Legion Hall had been set up as a local Red Cross evacuation center for those who had been flooded out of their homes. American Legion auxiliary members Myrtle Adams and Dr. Vera Kahn were in charge as dozens of refugees crowded into the Hall. It was considered a safe place.

Then around midnight on New Year’s Eve nearby rain-soaked hillsides sent a 20-foot tall debris flow of mud, rocks and massive boulders sliding down Pickens Canyon at about 30 miles per hour. It crossed Foothill Boulevard and into areas above the Legion Hall. The debris knocked in the back wall of the Hall and quickly filled the interior with mud and debris; it then punched a hole in the front wall before exiting the Legion Hall carrying away all inside it. At least 12 of the refugees, including Mrs. Adams and Dr. Kahn, were dead and several were injured.

Hundreds were killed or left homeless after the New Year’s Eve flood of 1933/1934. As the area began to recover the Bonetto family, who lived on Manhattan Avenue near La Crescenta Avenue, donated the land for a new Legion Hall. In July the building began. Due to the lack of funds and materials, it was decided that the original building would be transported. Its foundation formed the new basement of the American Legion Hall that stands today.

It was the community that came to the aid of the veterans after the great flood of 1934, and it is hoped that the community will once again support the veterans and the Legion Hall.

To make a donation, visit GoFundMe and search American Legion Hall LC.