Club 55 to open Super Bowl Sunday
January 30, 2013
American Legion Post 55 member Ray
Harris put the finishing touches on the
new sign now outside the Legion Hall on
After months of work cleaning, scrubbing,
painting and remodeling, an old venue is opening
Sunday with a brand new look and feel, as
Bonners Ferry American Legion Post 55 assumes
management of their lounge, now renamed Club 55,
for the first time in more than 30 years.
Club 55 will reopen to the public at 2 p.m.
Sunday, February 3, just in time to air Super
Bowl XLVIII on their big new 60-inch television.
When you go in, be ready for some big changes.
not a bar anymore, it's not a saloon," said
Post 55 Commander Terry Spence, wearing a dusty,
paint stained T-shirt. "It's a lounge. We wanted
to make it a place where adults in the community
could come to socialize."
Legion members seriously considered putting the
Bonners Ferry landmark up for sale last year,
but their sense of history and service to the
community won out, and since before
Thanksgiving, an all-volunteer crew, mostly
and their families, spent hour upon laborious
hour in preparation for Sunday's opening.
"We're not that young anymore," Spence said. "A
lot of our members are veterans from World War
II and Korea and they don't get around too well
anymore. But they still came and helped, doing
what they could."
Local businesses helped out a lot, too, Boundary
Tractor/Yamaha, Boundary Electric, Beck's
Furniture, Home Depot and Trader's Building
Supply all pitched in, and quite a few folks,
wondering what was going on, stopped in as well,
saw a task needing done, and pitched in to help.
"We had people who aren't even from here,
veterans mostly, stop in and help for an hour or
two," Spence said. "People from the community
just walked in to lend a hand. We had veterans
on canes and in wheelchairs in here working. We
are sincerely grateful to everyone."
That bodes well, because the 151 members of
American Legion Post 55 want Club 55 to be
something they, and the community, can be proud
"We have a lot of ideas, a lot of goals," said
retired Navy Master Chief Ken Toline, who will
manage Club 55. "There's a lot of potential
here. I'd like to see us host Saturday night
dances, have a ladies night, community dinners
upstairs. Doing all that takes people to help,
and we're open to ideas."
new Club 55, with interior design by Brenda
Toline, is brighter, more open. A
copper-sheathed fire places in the back corner
offers a warm and inviting place to sit.
One veteran from out of the area who happened to
be in town wandered in one day, stayed to help
out for a while, and before leaving asked if an
old turnbuckle from the grand old USS
Constitution would be something that would fit
the decor. Assuredly, he was told, and he said
he'd donate it to Legion Post 55. As soon as it
arrives, it will be put on display.
Where old ceiling fans that no longer worked
once hung to swirl the smoke now hang tasteful
chandeliers ... there will no longer be any
smoke to swirl.
"We will be a non-smoking facility," Spence
said. "It will have a distinct military feel,
and more of a community feel. That's who we're
here for, the community, and this is what makes
much of what we do in the community possible."
One old veteran, now too frail to help but still
proud of his Legion post, stopped in a few days
ago to see how the work was progressing. He had
tears in his eyes as he surveyed the
While most think of Veteran's Day services and
Memorial Day parades when thinking of the
American Legion, they quietly do much more,
supporting scholarships for the high school
Distinguished Young Women program, sending local
students to Boise to attend Boys State and Girls
State each year.
"This is where all that comes from," Spence
said, sweeping his hand across a room strewn
with ladders and saw horses, work lights, drop
cloths and make-shift tables covered with tools
and paint cans. "We're here to serve veterans of
our nation's services and to serve our
community. And everything we do here all goes
right back into the community."
Legion Post 55 Commander Terry Spence,
Captain, U.S. Air Force, retired.
Sunday's opening will be a "soft" opening; the
Legion is planning a grand opening in the
spring, likely around May 27, Memorial Day,
though the date hasn't officially been set.
And there's still a lot of work to be done
before Super Bowl Sunday; they've designated
this Thursday as clean-up day, and invite
everyone in the community to pitch in and help.
Club 55, offering a full bar, beer, wine and a
pleasant, relaxing atmosphere and located at
6416 Kootenai Street in downtown Bonners Ferry,
will be open from 2 p.m. to midnight each Friday
through Monday, though the hours may change down
the road to better fit the needs of customers.
While all veterans are, of course, welcome, Club
55 is open to the general public aged 21 or
To find out more, call (208) 610-8407.
American Legion Post 55 meets on the second
Thursday of each month in the lounge, with a
soup supper at 6 p.m. and business meeting at 7
p.m., and new members are always welcome. To
find out more, visit
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