John Hugo Kaiser, Post 1461, Veterans of Foreign Wars was formed and chartered by veterans of World War I. They were members of Company M, 129th Infantry, 33rd Division. They left Belvidere on September 13, 1917, and arrived at Camp Logan, Texas, four days later. After some training they were sent to Camp Upton, Long Island, New York, where with Company L from Kankakee, they boarded a small ship, La Lorraine. They landed at Bordeaux, France. The 33rd Division returned from overseas duty in 1919.
The John Hugo Kaiser, Post 1461, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary was officially chartered on Sunday, May 20, 1934, with a charter membership of 102, including 61 Post members and 41 Auxiliary members.
After Post 1461 was chartered in 1934, they established quarters in Kupplers Hall, formerly above what was Sullivans Department Store at 417 South State Street. Meetings were held there for several years.
In 1937 the Post obtained more spacious quarters above the old Majestic Theatre located at 309 South State Street. The quarters were formerly occupied by the Belvidere Chamber of Commerce. The old Majestic Theatre was later purchased in 1953 by Belvidere Moose Lodge #295 and later torn down to make way for a General Telephone Company (now Verizon) building.
The area where the VFW Post 1461 is located was all woods years ago. Albert Fullagar owned land in this woods. He operated a bootlegging business at this location. When the sale of liquor became legal, he acquired a license and started a tavern. After a number of years, he sold the business to Tom Crinklaw and it was then known as the Park Tavern.
In 1939, VFW Post 1461 started negotiations to purchase the old Park Tavern on Lincoln Avenue. On August 23, 1939, the purchase from Thomas D. Crinklaw and his wife Mae and Alfred J. Crinklaw and his wife Ruby was completed. This is the location of the present Boone County Veterans Club and John Hugo Kaiser Post 1461 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Also at this time the Boone County Veterans Club was formed. Papers were prepared by Attorney Albert S. O’Sullivan to apply for a charter with the State of Illinois. This was approved and the Boone County Veterans Club received their charter dated July 5, 1939. The Club is to be governed by officers of VFW Post 1461.
In 1939 a one car garage was purchased and added onto the east end of the Club. This building was used for a kitchen to have food for the Club members. They also served full meals at all Post 1461 activities. The garage was moved in place by Jack Spencer of Spencer Excavating. Jack Spencer broke his arm in the process. This building was later used for a card room until 1948.
In 1940 the members and a contractor hand excavated a basement under the existing west section of the building, which was the old dance hall. The members installed restrooms, a kitchen and a large dining room in this basement. At this time a large foyer was added on the north side to provide access from the upstairs dance hall and also outside to the parking lot. The existing building, foyer and cement steps are still in use.
In 1948 the little building (old kitchen) that was located at the east end of the Club was moved. Madeline Graves Jones bought the building for $50. Jack Spencer was hired to move the building to the 7700 block of Appleton Road. Jack broke his arm again in the process.
In 1948 the original bar room was expanded and remodeled. More storage room was added to the south. A new office, mens restroom, ladies restroom, cloak room and more spacious bar room were also added. A new bar, bar stools and fixtures were installed.
In 1953 a new $105,000 wing was added on the east side of the existing building. The addition included a new spacious kitchen, a large dining room, storage, service bar and foyer in the basement. A large dance hall, service bar, mens restroom, ladies restroom, activities room, large cloak room, and spacious lobby and foyer were on the main floor.
More than 800 persons from the 65 posts in the Sixth District attended the formal dedication of the new wing at John Hugo Kaiser Post 1461 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Master and Mistress of Ceremonies were Clint Spackman and Glee Cannon.