(The following account was compiled from a scrapbook assembled in the early 1930’s by T. H. Corliss, Post Historian)
An article in the April 20, 1932 Ames Daily Tribune and Times (as it was known then) announced that The American Legion posts in Story County would be holding a meeting on April 21 at the courthouse to create a county organization. The article referenced an earlier meeting of the posts at which Carl O. Powers of Ames had been named temporary Commander with Wilkie L. Harper of Ames, temporary Adjutant.
At that meeting six of the eleven posts in Story County were represented and a county organization was created. We are in possession of a letter (shown in the photo gallery) following that meeting announcing the formation. Ralph McCord of Collins was elected Commander and Chas. Yeager of Colo appointed Adjutant. A committee of Carl O. Powers (Ames), Chas. Yeager (Colo) and T. H. Corliss (Ames) was appointed to draft by-laws for the organization with Powers appointed Chairman of that group.
An April 26 article announced that Grady Taylor, first vice Commander of the Ames Post, would serve as the official representative from Ames to the Story County Council. The first meeting of the County Council was held May 14 in Colo with 100 Story County Legionnaires in attendance.
The August 19 edition announced the beginning of plans by the county council for a picnic to be held at Lake Comar on Saturday, September 11 that would be open to the public. Initial plans called for a golf tournament, games, an exhibition kittenball (a early name for softball) game and professional stage entertainment. An emphasis was to be made on “family recreation for all war veterans and their friends, with special emphasis laid on entertainment for the children” as printed in the article.
Lake Comar was a well-known lake and recreational area nine miles north and one mile east of Ames that was popular through the ‘20s and ‘30s. More information on Lake Comar can be found at http://www.ameshistory.org/exhibits/tribune/12/wf_1233.htm.
The September 1 issue of the paper gave the program for the day’s activities and the September 7 issue continued with the publicity for the September 11 event. Apparently that publicity as well as the publicity in other towns was successful as the September 12 issue of the paper reported that 5,000 people had attended the event with approximately 3,000 staying for the evening’s entertainment.
Apparently the event met with the approval of the Story County population, since the attendance at the 1933 “Legion Fun Day”, as it was named in the July 3 issue, was estimated at 8,000. That event featured a baseball game between the Ames Merchants and Story City, another kittenball game, boxing and wrestling bouts, the Highland Park drum and bugle corps and the Story City Junior band. In addition each of the 11 posts sponsored a specific part of the entertainment.
The next year, 1934, saw an even larger crowd attend. The July 2, 1934 paper estimated the crowd at 10,000 with the park management stating that was the largest crowd ever gathered in the park. The program for the 1934 picnic is included in the photo gallery.
The account of the Story County picnics ends here until more information can be found from the archives of the Ames newspaper.