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March 3, 2012

VFW Hall by Mike Morrissey

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On the south-west corner of 1st and Valley is a large brick building, which, when originally built, housed the YMCA. It was as nice as they got, in the day. The indoor swimming pool was a real luxury, even though it was quite small by today’s standards. The pool was on the main floor, while residing upstairs, directly above it, on the 2nd floor, was a full-court basketball court. Size constraints left no room for bleachers, so a large balcony was hung from the ceiling, with entrance gained from the third floor. The ceiling was done in beautiful wood paneling, vaulting up to two large skylights. The floor appears to be maple.

The remainder of the 2nd and 3rd floors are taken up by rooms which could be rented by the day, week, etc. The facilities were quite nice, and it appears that each room had a phone and a sink, with “the bath down the hall”.

During the Depression, the “Y” suffered, and, eventually the building was transferred to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, to be used as their meeting hall. Decades went by, deferred maintenance took its toll, and the building’s condition declined badly, but in recent years, the “Vets” have done a lot of work to stabilize the building.

When the Vets took over the building, the pool was covered with a dance floor, and used for storage of the “Gaming” devices common to the various “clubs” around town. A meeting room was framed into the basement, and the upstairs, except for some unofficial Little League practice in the gym, was pretty much ignored.

There are several stories about “hauntings” there. My mother-in-law told me about several instances where “Harvey” (her name for “it”) moved things, or made weird noises. She told me there had been men on “the board” who wouldn’t stay in the building alone. At all. She told me that “Harvey” didn’t scare her in the slightest, but that the layout of the building DID give burglars opportunities while she was on duty.

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