VFW opens at new location

Like any proud owner, members of Harry C. Harter Post 839, Veterans of Foreign Wars in Marshalltown, are eager to show off their new home at 107 E. Meadow Lane to friends, neighbors and the community.

And that is why Larry Larson of Marshalltown, post commander, has invited locals to an open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Feb. 1.

The event caps off an extensive search, fundraising, and a lot of sweat equity. Members did as much renovation work as possible to keep relocation expenses low.

It included the installation of two handicap accessible rest rooms, a full kitchen, furnace, sprinkler system, electrical wiring and more.

Because the building will be used for public functions such as dances and weddings, strict city building codes had to be followed.

VFW funds and donations from Marshalltown area businesses and individuals paid for remodeling expenses. The building is also home to the VFW Post 839 Ladies Auxiliary.

The chain of events leading up to the grand day began nearly four years ago, when a severe winter storm caused extensive structural damage to the post’s home at 108 N. Center, making it unusable.

The building was demolished in January, 2012 after a settlement was reached with an insurance company. The VFW was given use of the basement at the American Legion building, 1301 S. Sixth St.

After considering several options, the post decided 107 E. Meadow Lane would best meet current and future needs. The site’s location, large parking lot and price made it attractive, said Larson. The VFW purchased the building in November 2012 from Dean and Denise Stucky of Stucky’s Vacuum Service for $180,000 cash.

“Our members believed strongly in not incurring debt on the purchase, so we paid for the property from reserves,” Larson said.

Marshalltown’s Jeff Heiden is a post member and a veteran real estate agent. He said the VFW’s purchase of the building was good for all concerned.

“The size of the building is just right for VFW and Auxiliary activities,” he said. “The property is located in a nice neighborhood.”

The post took possession Feb. 3 and members went to work remodeling shortly thereafter. The first VFW post in Marshalltown was chartered Sept. 20, 1921, by a group of veterans at the former Iowa Soldiers Home (now Iowa Veterans Home) and named their chapter in honor of Harter, believed to be the second man from Marshall County to die in service to his country in World War I.

This group met at the ISH. Due to deaths in the ranks, it became inactive, and the charter lapsed.

The post was revived and chartered on Jan. 18, 1930, and retained its original name.

Over the years, the post called 20 W. State St., 209 N. 13th St. and 108 N. Center St., home.

“We are looking forward to welcoming and fitting in as many townsfolk as we possibly can on Feb. 1,” Larson said.