Montgomery - Plant - Dudley
Post 10 History
Wausau became the tenth Post in the State of Wisconsin to receive its Charter to the American Legion on July 12, 1919. Lieutenant Frank Talbot Montgomery, a Wausau native who, on October 3, 1918, was mortally wounded from shell fragments in the Argonne Forest during World War I, was bestowed the honor of having the Post named after him. Frank Talbot Montgomery is buried at Pine Grove Cemetery.
From 1919 to 1922, Post meetings were held at various locations throughout Wausau, as the Legion did not own a clubhouse. In 1922, the Legion leased a clubroom at the local Eagles Lodge in which they held their meetings. One of the more interesting activities of the early times of the Post occurred in January 1924. During the monthly meeting, a committee of three members was appointed for the purpose of investigating and disposing of, as they saw fit, the activities of a Ku-Klux-Klan organizer who allegedly was promoting an un-American organization in Wausau. The committee was further authorized to request the departure from Wausau of this organizer if they deemed it necessary.
The year 1928 was a very special one for the Legion as they moved from the Eagles Lodge into a new clubhouse in the 300 block of Jefferson Street. The building, owned by the Wisconsin Electric Company, was leased to the Post for $1.00 per month. The Legion has enjoyed many bright moments in its history, but perhaps none brighter than the 1928 gathering in Wausau for the annual State Legion Convention. The convention was made memorable by the appearance of the President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge. President Coolidge addressed both Legionnaires and area citizens at Marathon Park before an estimated crowd of 32,000. This convention, the tenth to be held in Wisconsin, was deemed “the best” by Legion representatives from throughout the State.
On September 6, 1928, the Legion decided to build a public golf course and assigned members Ben Alexander, Ben Friedl, and Frank Okoneski to oversee the operation. Stock in the Golf Club was sold to members, with the Post holding common stock and individuals holding preferred stock. A Golf Stock Corporation was founded and each year they elected three directors. Through the sale of stock, a bank loan, and the assistance of local businesses, the golf course opened in the fall of 1929 with a stag party for Post members.
In an effort to raise revenue for the Post, the Legion organized a band in the 1920’s and an orchestra in the 1930’s. The band and orchestra consisted entirely of Legion members who played at community dances and weddings. The revenue generated by the band and orchestra produced the impetus for the Post to incorporate in 1935. Revenue generating events also included the planning and presentation of plays at the Grand Theater, minstrel shows, dances, and movies. The Legion also attempted to gather revenue by becoming involved in the promotion of boxing events. For some unknown reason, after the Legion received a boxing charter to promote fights, the venture never materialized.
In September 1930, the Montgomery Post of the American Legion along with Burns VFW Post made full and complete arrangements for the burial of an unknown man who had taken his life. He is buried at Pine Grove Cemetery. The Legion vacated its Jefferson Street clubhouse in favor of temporary quarters in the basement of the Metz Restaurant in January of 1941. With the start of World War II, the Legion became active in assisting members of the military who were engaged in the fighting. The Legion collected and sent 10,852 phonograph records, six gross of sewing kits and hundreds of playing cards to the troops. The Legion moved from its temporary quarters in October of 1946 when it purchased the Moose Hall building in the 300 block of Washington Street. The Hall contained a bar on the first floor and meeting rooms on the second floor.
In an effort to show support to local Legion Posts, Hardware Mutuals Insurance of Stevens Point presented the Legion with a hardbound, complete file of the Stars and Stripes armed forces newspaper that had been printed in France. The dates of the newspapers were from February 8, 1918 to June 13, 1919.
Shortly after World War II, the Post name was changed from Montgomery Post 10 to Montgomery-Plant Post 10, in honor of, Donald Duddleston Plant, a Wausau native, who lost his life during the attacks at Pearl Harbor. Private First Class Plant, who was assigned to the Army Air Corps 46th Pursuit Squadron at Wheeler Field at Wahiawa, Hawaii, died instantly of injuries received from enemy aircraft machine gun fire on the morning of December 7, 1941. Donald Plant was the first Wausau casualty of WW II and is buried at Restlawn Cemetery.
The Legion opted to move from its location on Washington Street when it voted to build a new Memorial Hall on the property of the Legion Golf Club in 1954. The cost of the building and furnishings were to be paid by the Post, the Golf Club, and private sources. The Post was to contribute $15,000 for furnishings, private sources would donate another $15,000, and the Golf Club would contribute $30,000. The Legion Golf Course Inc. and the Post worked out a process wherein the Golf Club would sell the land where the Memorial Hall was built on to the Post for $1.00 and other considerations. The Legion moved into the new Memorial Hall in 1956.
In 1957, the Post, upon recommendation of the House Committee of the Golf Club, approved the hiring of its first club manager. Through the continuing effort of the Post, the Golf Club Corporation, under its own authority, dissolved itself in June of 1957. As a result, the Legion formed the foundation of its present structure for the operation of the Clubhouse and Golf Course. The Post developed an Operations Committee, which would oversee three subcommittees of Finance, House, and Greens. These committees would be responsible for the overall management of the Clubhouse and Golf Course
The next significant action by the Legion was a major remodeling of the Clubhouse in 1987. The $153,000 project included the addition of restrooms, pro shop, club manager and adjutant offices, and two meeting rooms. The lower level of the Clubhouse also saw the addition of restrooms, showers, and golf storage areas. The project was completed in 1988. An expenditure of $100,000 was undertaken in 1993 when a completely new irrigation system was added at the golf course.
On June 24th, 2008, the Post swore in Tamara Suchy as the first female commander in its 89-year history. Tamara served in the U.S. Navy from 1988 to 1992 and was a postal clerk on the USS Yellowstone, which was stationed in the Middle East during the Persian Gulf War.
Since 1960 the Post has sponsored an American Legion Baseball team which never officially had a team nickname. This changed in 2008 when the Hammerblow Corporation, which in known for their famous “Bulldog” trailer hitch, donated uniforms and scholarships to the baseball team. Henceforth the team was nicknamed the Post 10 Bulldogs.
A flagpole, which is dedicated to Past Commander Chuck Hills, was installed in front of the Clubhouse in October 2010. The Wausau Fire Department and the City of Wausau donated this refurbished flagpole, which originally served the Grand Avenue fire station for many years.
In the spring of 2011, the clubhouse underwent a $300,000 remodeling project. The building had been in a state of disrepair for sometime and a loan was secured from Marathon Savings Bank. Major projects included a new bridge at hole #9, a new insulated roof, new carpeting in the bar area, new floor tiles in the main meeting hall, and a basement ramp weather enclosure. Minor projects included installation of a wheelchair ramp and an eight-tap beer system at the bar, updated electrical wiring, a new hot water heater, and tree removal around clubhouse building.
After many recent years of financial hardships with the American Legion Golf Course, Bar and Restaurant, the Post 10 Executive Board made the difficult decision to close the business for good on October 20, 2012. It was unclear at the time of what the future held, but in the spring of the year 2013 the Post started negotiations with the Dudley Corporation on the possible buyout of the business.
In March 2013, Tribute Holdings LLC (a new subsidiary of the Dudley Corporation) reopened the business and hired the newly formed Wausau Golf Corporation LLC to manage it. The business was renamed Bunker’s Bar and Tribute Golf Course. Negotiations between the Post and the Dudley Corporation continued through the summer of 2013 with the acquisition finalized on November 15, 2013. The Post was able to pay of its debts it had accumulated throughout the years and was still able hold it’s meetings at the clubhouse at Bunker’s for the foreseeable future.
In January 2015, the Post’s membership voted in favor to add the name Dudley to its charter in honor of the four Dudley brothers. The brothers Jay, Bob, Lauren, and Dick all served in the U.S. Navy during WWII. Jay Dudley was a F3 Wildcat fighter pilot who died tragically in an aircraft training accident in San Diego on July 9, 1942. Bob Dudley was a Naval Aviation Instructor who trained many WWII pilots at Corpus Christi, TX. Lauren Dudley was an F6 Hellcat fighter pilot in the Pacific and involved in the raids over Tokyo, Japan. Richard Dudley was a gunner on a Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber that flew 138 combat missions. When his ship, the USS Gambier Bay, was sunk in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, he spent 57 hours in the waters of the South Pacific before being rescued. Richard Dudley, who generously stepped forward in saving the Post from certain bankruptcy, passed away on August 27, 2013.