History of American Legion Post #156
American Legion Post 156 was established in early 1943 based on the idea of Legionnaires Charles F. Brenner and Martin Gilbert. They secured 15 prospective members in order to apply for a Post Charter. A temporary charter was granted in May 1943 under the name of Grantley Post, and the first meeting was held on November 23, 1943. The name was based on the location of the Post's home, Edmonson Avenue and Grantley Street, in Baltimore. State Adjutant Jack Tribby, Vice Commander Ralph Dolby and Department Service Officer James Onion attended this meeting and assisted the initial membership in the formation of the Post and election of the first officers.
Grantley Post grew rapidly during its early years. By the end of the first year the Post had 59 members. This quickly grew to 290 members by the end of 1947, then hovered around 260 through the next decade. During this time, Grantley Post was very active in the community, especially the Edmonson Village area of Baltimore. They sponsored a championship bowling team, a boy's baseball team, Junior Drum and Bugle Corps and oratorical candidates. In 1952, they made a deposit on land on Lohr Lane in Baltimore. A year later, the construction of a post home was begun where many of the members gave their time and skill to complete this building. With the post home, Grantley Post was able to hold meetings, social events, and rent the hall for weddings and other banquets.
Besides having a post home to use for raising revenue, Commander Burns would organize a Sports Rally. Local radio personalities would participate including a sports commentator, Bob Silbersash, a former Grantley baseball player who signed an Oriole minor league contract. The third annual sports rally in 1958 featured Baltimore Colts quarterback, Jonny Unitas.
However, things began to decline for the Post in the early 60's. The post home was broken into numerous times resulting in the loss of money, liquor, foods and property damage. Rentals also declined as the surrounding area was also declining. There were several meetings discussing the idea to sell the building and initial attempts failed to find a buyer. Membership was also declining and shrank to under 150. In 1964, the first post home finally sold for $15,000 which was just enough to pay off the mortgage and pay all the other debts the Post had accumulated with very little left over. Membership dropped to under 100 by this time.
Once the building sold, Grantley Post met at various establishments around the area including Buell's Restaurant in Howard County. Later that year, the Department of Maryland granted Grantley Post 156 permission to transfer from Baltimore District to Northern Central District (NCD). In 1968, a special initiation of new members was held at the Yingling-Ridgely VFW Post in Ellicott City, where they now currently meet every third Thursday of the month (except July and December).
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