Crystal Lake American Legion

William Chandler Peterson Post #171

Crystal Lake's American Legion post is named after Lieutenant William Chandler Peterson, a Crystal Lake native, who was killed in action during World War I.  Click here to learn more about Lt. William Chandler Peterson. 

The Crystal Lake American Legion Post #171 was chartered in September, 1919.  The following individuals (listed alphabetically) are charter members of the organization:

Arvid Berg, John F. Bjorklund, Frank Brockrogge, Harry A. Dean Jr., George Harrison, James D. Howell, Elton T. Huffman, Harry D. Hull, Emil B. Johnson, Carl Jurs, Guy D. Knapp, Carl H. Landgren, Actor Larson, Gordon L. Lowell, Charles Lungren, Fredolph Lungren, Walkinshaw C. Marshall, G.E. McCollum, W.H. McCollum, Peter G. Metropulos, William Metropulos, Leighton C. Meyer, Fred B. Morgan, Arthur W. Oehmke, Oscar A. Pearson, Milton F. Peterson, C.S. Pingry, Lyle V. Rogers, Fred E. Rose, Roy S. Schneider, and Lee H. Works.

A framed copy of the original Charter is in the archives of the Crystal Lake Historical Society.  The Charter looks like this:


The first commander of the post was Dr. Harry D. Hull, who was a beloved, respected local physician.  At the age of 50, Dr. Hull volunteered for service in World War I, serving as a Captain in the Medical Corps.

The following album contains photos of the Crystal Lake American Legion commanders. 


The Modern Electric Home - 323 W. Crystal Lake Ave.

Ten years after the Crystal Lake American Legion Post #171 was established, the members decided they needed a big fundraiser.  They contacted various tradesmen from among their ranks and the community, and built a "Modern Electric Home."  Raffle shares (chances) were sold.  Net proceeds were about $6,000.

The Modern Electric Home was completed in the Spring of 1929.  Between Memorial Day and Labor Day of that year, over 67,000 individuals toured the house to marvel at its modern conveniences.  The home boasted all the electric conveniences available to homeowners at the time.  Fixtures included: a plentiful amount of base plug outlets, a telephone, a refrigerator, a dishwasher, and sufficient lighting.

A major addition was added to the house in Spring, 2012.

(Before addition)

Legion Home

In August, 1946, the American Legion Post #171 decided to purchase the former Randall property at the corner of Woodstock and Oak Streets.  The house was described as, "one of the finest in the community and is large and spacious.  It will provide a meeting place, club rooms and space for other needs." 

In 1954, a large addition was added to the American Legion home, at a cost of approximately $60,000.  The addition was built onto the northwest side of the original house.  It was described as, "a big hall with a stage, modern kitchen, other facilities which will seat from 400-450 persons."  The hall, in addition to serving Legion needs, was available for rental to the public.

In 1998, the Legion home was purchased by the Crystal Lake Park District, remodeled, and converted into a full-service banquet facility known as "Park Place."

Other Legion Projects

For over 90 years, the William Chandler Peterson American Legion Post #171 has been very active in the community.  Other projects the post has been involved with:

  • Donating land for the public library
  • Donating flagpoles and flags at community parks
  • Teaching flag etiquette to scouts and other groups
  • Sponsoring local baseball teams and drum-and-bugle corps
  • Placing flags on veterans' graves in Crystal Lake Cemeteries each Memorial Day
  • Organizing the annual Memorial Day Parade
  • Providing proper disposal of American flags
  • Programs for hospitalized veterans
  • Scholarships to local high school students
  • Major contributor to Civil War Soldier Statue restoration

American Legion Post #171 Firing Squad (1949-1950)

Squadron Commander Richard H. Woodson
Asst. Squadron Commander C.R. Kempfert
Buglar Raymond Runge
Color Guards: Harold Hubbard and Arthur Handrock
Color Bearers: A. Curtis Dufield, Arthur Kach
Members: Charles Gumprecht, William Andrews, Harold Kach, C. Metropulos,                Charles Schuman, John Skalany Jr., and Leland White