Mr. George F. Johnson 1857-1948
Friend and benefactor of the American Legion in whose honor the Department of New York held the 1938
Department Convention in “his home town” of Endicott, New York
Our namesake of the George F. Johnson
American Legion Post 1700
GEORGE F. JOHNSON AMERICAN LEGION ~ POST 1700
The American Legion Post 1700 would not be here if it weren't for one man, our namesake, George F. Johnson. For without him, Endicott, NY would not be the same nor would Johnson City. Their origins were solely the results of the establishment of the Endicott ~ Johnson factories and tanneries. Endicott was founded in 1891 and incorporated as a village in 1906. Mr. Johnson had by 1938 (the year of the Department Convention held in Endicott, NY) built three clubhouses, Binghamton - Post 80, Johnson City - Post 758 and Endicott - Post 82. George F. also gave money to fund the Broome County Legion Relief Fund with the interest that was used to assist war veterans who were in need and had given more than one million dollars to the Legion. Mr. Johnson was a Legion loyal supporter and was always ready to stand by in any emergency.
George F. as they called him many years ago also gave this community, athletic fields, baseball diamonds, football gridirons, tennis courts, roller and ice skating rinks, an 18-hole golf course, and a dance pavilion where many of the leading orchestras at the time had played. We are also privilege to have many Carousels and their playgrounds that are still free of charge; not failing to mention the two completely equipped fire stations that are still here today. Even though the factories and tanneries have been long gone from the Triple Cities; memories still linger of what was the booming town with the old saying, ”Which Way EJ” on the tongues of the immigrants pouring into our little village many, many years ago; making this area a Melting Pot of Nationalities. It is visibly marked or “Carved in Stone” so to speak of the many EJ workers who answered the call in WWII as seen on one of the monuments in our Veterans Park constructed in their Honor.
In 1938, when Endicott hosted the 20th Department Convention, he himself said of the American Legion upon Welcoming the Legion to Endicott that the Legionnaires were and I quote “OUR BOYS", and that if they lived to be 100 they would still be "Our Boys" of the American Legion, who did their share and more than their share during the World War. Whether in Camps or in service abroad he also said, " You are now the greatest Organization in the United States and will always be such. Meaning, you will have the most influence for good and that this will grow." From the founding of The American Legion in Paris in 1919, to be of service to veterans and their families; we in the 21st Century are still continuing with their vision, 90 years later, and STILL SERVING.
Now years later, we here at George F Johnson American Legion Post 1700 (that wasn't even thought of at that time) are still growing. Post 1700 has grown from meetings that were originally held in the West Endicott Fire Station on Page Avenue to a building that was a one time restaurant, “Matt’s Lunch”, to a beautiful Post and American Legion “Family” of almost 700 members. Now in 2012, we are in our 65 year of being the “George F. Johnson American Legion Post 1700” of “Veterans Serving Veterans” We are very proud to be the namesake of this great man, whose heart and hands built a great industry and place to live and be proud to call our hometown, Endicott, NY.
Since then, we have suffered through many more conflicts. Our members are from the elite group of men &women who have served in our United States Armed Forces during WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, Lebanon, Grenada, The Gulf War, “Operation Iraqi Freedom” to name a few; our most recent conflicts with our troops & members having served or are serving in “Operation Enduring Freedom” in both Iraq & Afghanistan where thousands upon thousands of our troops are still serving our country in the name of freedom. Giving the Iraqis and Afghanis a chance for what we have taken for granted; but not for the lives of the many service people who have gone before us defending what we hold dear to our hearts, FREEDOM. Our veterans range from 20 years of age to 80+ years from WWII to the present conflict still raging in the name of Freedom. We here in Endicott can visibly see that, “Freedom Isn’t Free” at our Veterans Memorial Park.
Our debt and gratitude goes to the many veterans of whom given their lives in order for we Americans to enjoy the freedoms that we know as Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Information for this article gathered from the: Official Program and Souvenir from the American Legion 20th Annual Convention Department of New York ~ Aug 11-13 1938- Endicott, NY.