American Legion Hut and Merci Car

Constructed in 1922, the Richard L. Kitchens Post in Helena is one of the oldest American Legion buildings in Arkansas. According to present officers of the Post, the Helena building was the first in the country to be called a “hut.” For more than 50 fifty years the American Legion hut in Helena has served veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean conflict and the war in Vietnam. Constructed by and for American Legion members, it stands as a monument to 20th century American military veterans. Today the hut is used as a reception site for weddings and community events. An antique boxcar from the Merci Train is located on the hut's grounds. It was one of 49 cars sent to the United States following World War I from France to show gratitude for the American lives lost to save French soil. Each boxcar was filled with hundreds of gifts and sent to each of the 48 states that existed at that time, with the 49th boxcar split between the Territory of Hawaii and the District of Columbia. Some of the gifts from the boxcar are located at the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock.

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406 Porter Street, Helena-West Helena, Arkansas