Geneva American Legion Winnek Post # 396 History
1919 - 2023
The Geneva American Legion Post 396 was founded 6 September 1919 and named in honor of local Geneva National Guard soldier 1st Lt. Edward F. Winnek from Geneva, New York
Edward Winnek joined Geneva's Company B, National Guard Infantry Unit in 1909. In 1911 he was promoted to coproral and then to Sgt. two years later.
Edward Winnek was commisioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 1915 and then promoted to 1st Lieutenant in the spring of 1917.
The Geneva National Guard unit was activated for World War One in the spring of 1917 and they were transported by train to Camp Wadsworth in Spartanburg South Carolina for training prior to being shipped overseas to France.
Company B shipped overseas in May of 1918 as part of the U.S. Army's 27th Division. The 27th Division of the American Expenditionary Force was tasked to break through the Hidenburg Line.
The Hidenburg Line was an extemely heavily fortified defensive line the Germany Army had created in France.
On 29 September 1918 the attack on the Hidenburg Line began. Lt. Edward Winnek was killed in action that day leading his troops in battle.
The Geneva American Legion Winnek Post 396 held their first meeting at the Geneva National Guard Armory on Main Street in downtown Geneva.
In 1927 we moved over to Milton Street to where now the Knights of Columbus home is located.
After World War II was over the membership at the Geneva American Legion soared to over 1,000 veterans plus in its rank. With the Milton Street home now being too small, four members of the Post donated $10,000.00 each to buy the current home located at 1115 Lochland Road in 1955.
The post home the past 64 years has seen the addition of a olympic size heated outdoor swim pool with bath houses and consession stand. A huge pavilion and children playground has been built by our Sons of the American unit along with a 200 seat banquet hall.
Our 13 acres of plush green grass overlooking the majestic Seneca Lake has numerous picnic areas for members to cook out at during the summer months.
Our annual fireworks and carnival festival on 3 July each year brings to our home and grounds thousands of locals and visitors each year for the very best in fireworks, food and drinks any where.
In addition to supporting the American Legion Five Pillars this post home has supported the local Geneva Community donating well over a $1,000,000.00 to local charites such as; Geneva Police and Fire Departments, Local food banks, boys and girls clubs,Little League Baseball, Boys and Girl Scouts, Local veterans in need of assistance for heat and food assistance along with countless other groups.
In December of 2021 the post membership voted on selling the current post home located at 1115 Lochland Road and move into a brand new building contructed by Chrisannatha Construction located at 1011 Route 5 & 20 in the Town of Seneca.
The decission to sell was not an easy one due to memories and long history on Lochland Road not to mentiont the lake view and property. However membership voted yes to the sale and moved due to a major decrease in membership and extremely high cost of maintaining a 150 year old building that was suffering from old age and worn out everything.
The building committee consist of Commander Dale Mosher, PC Dan Hurdle, PC Rena Nessler, Larry Ledgerwood, Gerry Colf, and Steve Carpenter. Our Auxilairy members on committee were President Brenda Verdehem, Joyce Wheeler with SAL members consisiting of Ken Harris, Jim Bucklin and SAL Commander Drew Spencer
The post moved out on 1 May 2022 from Lochland Road and had our grand opening of new post home on 17 September 2023 in which NYS Senator Pam Helming was present along with many American Legion and local digintaries.