Helena in Phillips County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
The American Legion Hut
Richard L. Kitchens Post No. 41 of the American Legion
World War I veterans founded the American Legion, a charitable organization, in 1919. That year, Helena's veterans founded Richard L. Kitchens Post No. 41. The name honors a local veteran who died of pneumonia while serving in France in 1918.
On April 17, 1923, the Richard L. Kitchens Post moved into its permanent home. Members called it the "Hut" because it was fashioned after the log huts Doughboys built in the woods of France during World War I. It is believed to be the first of the log "Huts" constructed by American Legion posts across the nation.
Built with Donated Services and Materials
A number of Legionnaires and others donated time and materials to the make the Hut a reality. H.H. Walters designed the building. Local contractor E.T. Walker oversaw construction. Robert Gordon, Jr. and the John J Hornor estate donated hundreds of cypress logs. Superior Oak Flooring Company of West Helena contributed red-oak floorboards. Helena Gas and Electric Company provided the electric fixtures. The local Legion Auxiliary labored long hours to raise funds for the furniture and player piano.
Modern, Spacious and Comfortable
The Hut's rustic cypress log exterior belied its modern interior. Conveniences included electricity, an up-to-date kitchen and indoor plumbing. The large assembly room featured a high ceiling, exposed cypress log beams, and a large stone fireplace.
Dances, Meetings and Movies
For many years, the Hut was Helena's gathering place. It was the venue for high school dances, Memorial Day programs, movie showings, entertainments and community gatherings of all types. The Hut is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Top left: Richard L. Kitchens
Bottom left: This photograph was taken on April 18, 1923, the day after the Hut's grand opening.
Far right: Many older Helena residents have fond memories of high school dances at the Hut.
Left, Helena native Billy Laugherty leads his band.
Erected 2012 by City of Helena.
Location. 34° 31.68′ N, 90° 35.289′ W. Marker is in Helena, Arkansas, in Phillips County. Marker is on Porter Street east of Pecan Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 406 Porter Street, Helena AR 72342, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The T-33 Shooting Star (here, next to this marker); Arkansas' Mercí Car (within shouting distance of this marker); The Irish Immigrant (within shouting distance of this marker); Patrick Cleburne in Helena (within shouting distance of this marker); General Patrick Cleburne (within shouting distance of this marker); Phillips County's Confederate Soldiers (within shouting distance of this marker); Seven Confederate Generals (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Civil War Comes to Arkansas (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Helena.
Also see . . . Wikipedia article on the Richard L. Kitchens Post No. 41. (Submitted on September 5, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • Notable Buildings • War, World I •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 5, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 5, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 93 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 5, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.