By; Louise Shallenberger
" History of Waverly, N.Y. " by Capt. C. Albertson
The first National Protective Legion Lodge was organized in Waverly on October 16, 1890 with forty one charter members. A preliminary certificate authorizing the Association to commence business was granted by the Insurance department of the State of New York on March 27, 1891. On the 17th of August following the incorporators having made affidavit, that at least two hundred eligible persons had applied for membership and that the total amount of certificates issued by the association was not less then the $ 400,000 the certificate having been issued upon the application of Edwin E. Rogers, M. Quigley, A.K. Gore, F.E. Lyford, P.L. Lang, F.A. Sawyer Dr. W.N. Hinton, H.C. Brewster, and F.W. Merriam.
Built in 1903 at a cost of $ 50.000, it once was the center of many important activities in the Village of Waverly. There followed a period in recent years, when the building stood empty, but once again the rooms are being refurnished and rented for offices - even a restaurant. ( 1979 )
Once the site of Waverly's post office ( 1903 - 1937 ) the NPL building also was home to The Waverly Sun, Lawyers, businessmen, the Masons and a health club - all were there once.
Perhaps the most interesting part of it's history, however, is the organization that built it in the first place. Beginning in 1890 and formed as an insurance company, the Legion was also a fraternal organization. It gradually expanded to Sayre and Towanda until there were Legions in fifteen states. It had grown by 1904 to a membership of more than 80,000.
A monthly payment guaranteed members cash dividends and disability payments and the national headquarters building was erected in Waverly, a printing press was installed in the basement and 130,000 copies of the 16 page " Light of the Legion " were sent out every month.
In spite of assets of over one million, the Legion was unable to make all it's payments and the company gradually declined. Monthly contributions ranged from as little as a dollar to four dollars, but disability payments were set at $ 15.00 per week. When dividends had to be scaled down, the Legion eventually went out of business.
Note; In 1999 it was determined that the building was unsound. The future of it is being determined.
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Ernie Miles...... This page was updated Wednesday, 26-Mar-2008 06:47:04 PDT.