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Local American Legion post downsizing

March 11, 2006|By PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - For each of the past five years, an average of 100 Morris Frock American Legion Post 42 members, most of whom were World War II veterans, have died.

Their deaths mean fewer members to fill the halls of the post's 405 Northern Ave. building, which members have called home for about the past 50 years, Post Commander Frank Getz said Friday.

Members voted in August 2005 to sell the large building and move to a smaller, more manageable facility. On Thursday, the post moved one step further and agreed upon a Realtor, The Glocker Group, to handle the building's sale.

"We're not closing. We're downsizing," Getz said. "The building is too big for the amount of people we have participating."

The post has lost 350 members since March 2005, Getz said.

"We're still lagging in membership renewals," he said. There are 1,911 members now.

"We don't want to put a number out there yet," Gary Glocker, commercial real estate agent with The Glocker Group, said Friday. "Pricing will be firmed up in the next few days."

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Glocker said that the building has been around since about the 1940s and used to be Hagerstown Country Club.

It's a two-story building with 40,000 square feet that sits upon 7 1/2 acres of land, Glocker said.

"It'll be interesting to see who we get for it," he said.

Glocker said there are nice picnic grounds and parking on the lot. It might be a good site for a convention center, a reception hall or an education facility, but the possibilities are endless, he said.

Getz said that Post 42 needs to stay within Hagerstown's city limits to maintain its charter.

He said members have not zeroed in on a new location, but will not look into buying older buildings or buildings that require too much work. He said Post 42 will continue normal operations in the meantime.

"We will have activities no matter where we are. We want our members to continue to come in," Getz said. "We don't have a place to go yet and there are a lot of decisions we need to make."

Post 42 was named after Morris Frock, the first Washington County man killed in World War I, according to the post's Web site.

It was established in 1919 and was one of the first posts in the United States, Getz said. The American Legion itself was formed in response to World War I and maintaining camaraderie among the troops, according to the Post 42 Web site.

Post 42 had been in a downtown building on Antietam Street before it moved to the Northern Avenue site, Getz said.

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