The National Organization of the American Legion marks its birthday from March 15th, 1919. On March 15, 1919 the famous “Paris Caucus” was held. From it came the framework for the American Legion. Back in the United States, a second caucus was held on home soil in St.Louis on May 8, 1919 with 1,100 delegates attending. The actions of the Paris Caucus were confirmed. Minneapolis was chosen as the site for the First National Convention to be held.
American Legion William Bloys Post 2 was the second American Legion Post organized in Arizona. The Tempe Post was issued a tentative charter on July 11, 1919 and granted a permanent charter on October 29, 1920 (Although long-time members claim the charter was issued Feb 22, 1920). The date on the original charter matches this claim. William Bloys Post 2 acknowledges and celebrates the February date without fail.Post 2 was named for William Bloy, a young man from Tempe who died from influenza while on active duty in the U.S. Army. The first post commander was Ben Robbins. Among the charter members was decorated WWI veteran Bob Finch.
Our Legionaires met in whatever halls were available until Post 2 acquired property at 15 E 5th Street in Tempe (5th and Mill). This made Post 2 the first American Legion Post in Arizona to own its own home.This building was home to hundreds of Legionnaires over the next 52 years. The ruins of an old saloon had stood on the site. It was claimed when it was purchased, that the saloon had been rebuilt. But according to records, it is more likely a new masonry structure layered with stucco replaced the walls. The building was a reflection of the times appearing as a Spanish Colonial style. A “Freedom Bell” was mounted in a small opening in the parapet wall after WWII. William Bloys Post 2 was formally incorporated on August 12, 1935.
The building was purchased by the City of Tempe in 1981 and demolished in 1982. American Legion William Bloys Post and Unit 2 moved to a newly constructed home built by the members at 2125 S Industrial Park Drive, Tempe, Arizona.
The Tempe “Freedom Bell” was transferred to the new building. The “Freedom Bell” was housed in a special turret for ringing in the name of freedom during July 4th’s bell ringing ceremony.
Since moving in 1982, William Bloys Post 2 and affiliated organizations have continued the many years of service to Community, State, Nation – and God.