One Year Later: Westphal American Legion Finds Temporary Home at Crystal VFW Post 494
The sights and sounds of progress are on full display at the corner of Bottineau Boulevard and 36th Avenue in Robbinsdale.
Construction crews are building an apartment complex called Parker Station Flats, but if you look closely, there’s a reminder of what stood on this spot for more than 70 years — the Westphal American Legion Post 251, which closed one year ago this week after the property owner sold to a developer.
“It was heartbreaking to see us finally closing and getting out of that area,” said Tom Juergens, who has served as the Westphal Legion Commander for 20 years.
Kathy Gustafson, meanwhile, serves as the Westphal auxiliary president.
“The club was very important to our members because that was their home, that was where they felt comfortable in coming,” Gustafson said.
While the building may be gone, Post 251 is still alive thanks to a partnership with the Crystal VFW Post 494.
“We came to them and they said, ‘Our doors are open to you, all members are welcome. You can use our meeting rooms, you’re 100 percent welcome,’” Juergens said. “And they’ve done nothing but give us great praise and help.”
“The VFW has been just tremendous to us,” Gustafson added. “We couldn’t ask for nicer people, a nicer place to meet.”
Hoping for a more permanent solution
Using the space at the Crystal VFW is a good solution for now, but the goal is to find a more permanent solution.
“We want to stay in Robbinsdale or Crystal because that’s what our charter is,” Gustafson said.
However, Juergens says their efforts to find a permanent home haven’t yielded much success.
“We’ve been looking for a new place to go, but real estate is hard to find, and if you do find some place they want gold for it,” Juergens said.
So for the time being, they’ll continue calling the Crystal VFW their home. But ultimately, they say it’s important for Post 251 to have a building to call their own once again.
“If anyone can help us out with a spot to lease or some kind of assistance, we certainly would appreciate it very much,” Gustafson said.