Lethbridge Legion Hall
In this month of Remembrance we look at the 1st Legion Building which was located on 1st Avenue and 9th Street. In 1892 the Federal Government purchased the land from the Alberta Railway & Irrigation Company on which the Legion building was to be built. The architect was Thomas Fuller a Dominion of Canada architect. The purpose of the new Lethbridge Dominion Public Building was to house immigration and agriculture offices, a courthouse, and the land titles office.
Following the First World War, the veterans returned home and established the Great War Veterans Association and used the Legion building temporarily as their meeting place. Although the City of Lethbridge took over the building in 1919, the Prince of Wales gave his consent for the veterans to continue using the building during his visit to Lethbridge. They set about making improvements by painting the interior and added a bowling green and volleyball court to the landscape. Here they could meet, play cards, darts or have a meal together sharing their experiences with one another.
In 1949, an addition expanded the building which was named the Memorial Hall. Many of the veterans volunteered to help with the construction. There were two setbacks for the old building: a flood and a fire. The latter occurred in 1958 and destroyed a good portion of the building.
It wasn’t long before the Lethbridge Legion Branch - now called the General Stewart Branch – increased its membership and outgrew the premises. A move to larger headquarters took place in 1977 to the newly renovated former Loblaws store on Mayor Magrath Drive. The original Legion building was demolished in 1978. Today despite, a smaller building and a decline in Legion membership, the Legion is still a vibrant organization for military and citizens alike.
Take some time to commemorate southwestern Alberta military history in Discovery Hall permanent exhibit at the Galt Museum & Archives. Visit http://www.galtmuseum.com/visitors.htm for more information.