It has been a long time coming, but it has finally arrived! On Feb. 11, the Althenal-Joerns American Legion Post 158 Hall in Jackson opened to the public for the first time since a powerful wind storm ripped off the roof and bent over the flag pole last June 21.
The Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. to officially mark the reopening of the hall. That was followed by the Legion’s hosting of the Chamber’s Business After Hours at 5 p.m. the same day.
In addition, an open house for the public was held this past Sunday.
Visitors were treated to a bright, new upstairs meeting hall that is available for public rental. Renovation work was done by Columbia Construction.
New wainscoting has a lighter stain than the old wood paneling that once adorned the walls. (If you want to see a sample of the old paneling, check out the kitchen; there was little damage there, so that room is virtually untouched.)
In the main hall, brightly painted white walls above the wainscoting, all new windows and bright new LED ceiling lights (that can be dimmed one bank at a time) finish off the new look.
When the roof was torn off, rain fell into the hall. Legionnaires put up plastic tarps in a vain attempt to direct the rain into barrels and keep it from damaging the floor. But the floor became discolored and buckled.
Legionnaires thought the whole floor would have to be torn out, but Dan Seabaugh of Quality Wood products examined the floor and said there was enough wood to sand down and refinish it.
Seabaugh did great work, and the beautiful hardwood floor is now ready for dancing once again.
“Before the KC hall, before the Civic Center, this was the go-to place,” said 2nd Vice Commander Gary Kamp during Business After Hours. “We hope the community can use it a lot.”
Kamp thanked the many people, businesses and organizations who helped the Legion repair their hall and those who made it possible to meet while the hall was closed.
Mike Beussink of B&B Door donated a large wooden bar in memory of family members who served in the Armed forces. It stands proudly in the entry room.
For six months, Legion members met at the Jackson Senior Center. And the Jackson Elks graciously opened their doors for the American Legion to hold Legion blood drives in their hall.
The upstairs of the Legion hall is now entirely a no-smoking area. There are designated smoking areas outside the building and Legionnaires can still smoke in the clubhouse downstairs.
There are still a few finishing touches to be made, including the installation of 40 speakers that will work with a wireless microphone.
Plenty of parking is available outside, thanks to an agreement with the county to use its parking lot. Now, fewer visitors will need to cross Highway 61 to get from their cars to the hall.
The first public rental has been reserved for the end of March. Public dances will begin once again the first Saturdays of each month, beginning March 7. Doors open for the dances at 6 p.m.