BLUE HILL — The American Legion’s Duffy-Wescott Post 85 has sold its “Legion Beach” property in Blue Hill to raise money to preserve its historic building at 13 Tenney Hill, according to Butler Smythe, the post’s finance officer.
The Tenney Hill building is the former Blue Hill Academy.
According to a copy of the property transfer, Duffy-Wescott Post 85 sold its beach property to The Cynthia Ann Becton 1986 Revocable Trust. Smythe said Becton is an abutter.
The American could not reach Becton for comment.
The 12-acre parcel is located off the East Blue Hill Road.
“Because of its location and the adjacent property on the road, regular use had fallen off, with the post’s membership and related activities making little use of it in recent years,” Smythe stated in a press release.
Meanwhile, the post needed to raise funds to make vital repairs to its Tenney Hill building.
“The ability of the post’s all-volunteer military-related 501(c)19 veteran organization to plan, raise funds and conduct the efforts needed for refurbishment are problematic,” Smythe stated. “Low dues, dwindling membership, a financially challenged membership, and other related factors, added to the challenges for the building.
“We know that the Post and the Town of Blue Hill should preserve this iconic landmark, while also making the most of the funds we have and the resources we can muster to make that possible.”
“The Blue Hill Academy building has served as a schoolhouse, American Legion meeting place and has supported various other temporary activities since it was built in 1833,” said Smythe. “Duffy-Wescott Post 85 took ownership of the property from the previous trustees on May 10, 1944. Not much has changed, except the passage of time for an old brick structure, with increasing bills and building needs which challenged the post as it struggled to meet the most basic of administrative functions. Physical deterioration is a real visual and physical issue for the building and has been for some time.”
Not all of the funds raised from the sale will go toward building preservation, Smythe said. Some funds will be used to make the Duffy-Wescott Post sustainable as an organization.
The plan is also to increase membership and continue regular fundraising efforts. In recent years, the post has hosted an annual lobster bake.
Smythe said the post also envisions the historic property as more of a “community use building” once repairs are made.
But, just because funds are available to make the improvements doesn’t mean they’ll happen soon.
Smythe said a big problem is going to be finding people qualified to work on the building.
“We need to find someone who can do brickwork,” he said. “The bricks are actually structural. We have to deal with lead, among other things.”
The American Legion is a service organization for those who have served federal active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces since Dec. 7, 1941. Those who have been honorably discharged or are still serving can join.
The post has a website with information about membership, events and history: http://www.duffy-wescottpost85.org/.
Correction: An earlier version of this article contained an error. The Legion Beach property is located in Blue Hill.