Richard L. Kitchens Post No. 41 of the American Legion
World War I veterans founded the American Legion, a charitable organization, in 1919. That year, Helena's veterans founded Richard L. Kitchens Post No. 41. The name honors a local veteran who died of pneumonia while serving in France in 1918.
On April 17, 1923, the Richard L. Kitchens Post moved into
its permanent home. Members called it the "Hut" because it
was fashioned after the log huts Doughboys built in the
woods of France during World War I. It is believed to be
the first of the log "Huts" constructed by American Legion
posts across the nation.
Built with Donated Services and Materials
A number of Legionnaires and others donated time and
materials to the make the Hut a reality. H.H. Walters
designed the building. Local contractor E.T. Walker
oversaw construction. Robert Gordon, Jr. and the John J
Hornor estate donated hundreds of cypress logs.
Superior Oak Flooring Company of West Helena
contributed red-oak floorboards. Helena Gas and Electric
Company provided the electric fixtures. The local Legion
Auxiliary labored long hours to raise funds for the furniture
and player piano.
Modern, Spacious and Comfortable
The Hut's rustic cypress log exterior belied its modern
interior. Conveniences included electricity, an up-to-date
kitchen and indoor plumbing. The large assembly room
featured a high ceiling, exposed cypress log beams, and a
large stone fireplace.
A balcony above the fireplace doubled
as a bandstand. Furnishings included a player piano and
Dances, Meetings and Movies
For many years, the Hut was Helena's gathering place. It
was the venue for high school dances, Memorial Day
programs, movie showings, entertainments and community
gatherings of all types. The Hut is listed in the National
Register of Historic Places.
Top left: Richard L. Kitchens
Bottom left: This photograph was taken on April 18, 1923, the day after the Hut's grand opening.
Far right: Many older Helena residents have fond memories of high school dances at the Hut.
Left, Helena native Billy Laugherty leads his band.