Just over a century ago on July 21, 1919, Blooming Prairie became the first American Legion Post in Steele County to receive a charter from the national organization. But is it the county’s oldest post?
There were 15 charter members of the Blooming Prairie Post. Among them were Hans Hansen, Irving Ille, Richard Brainerd, and Frank Rysavy. These four men had all served in Company I of the Minnesota National Guard. The latter three had served with Otto Lund in 1917 and 1918.
Although Blooming Prairie was the first chartered post, Owatonna’s Post 77 is arguably older.
On May 4, 1919, a group of World War I veterans met at the Armory in Owatonna. There they created a group called The Steele County Former Service Men. This group eventually became Post 77.
Owatonna applied for a charter on August 9, 1919 and received one on August 16, 1919, almost four weeks after Blooming Prairie receive its charter. Although Owatonna (Post 77) might have organized first, Blooming Prairie (Post 52) still has numerical precedence.