A pavilion to remember
BAYPORT — It’s been 100 years since South Stillwater changed its name to Bayport.
City Councilor Michele Hanson wanted to mark the name-change centennial with a project in a park, and she walked into Bayport American Legion Post 491 asking for a donation.
“Heck,” said Commander Corey Quick, “it’s also Post 491’s centennial. Let’s go in together on the project.”
The city and Post 491 are splitting 50/50 the $120,000 cost to construct a pavilion in the Village Green, just two blocks up the main drag from the post home, next to Andersen Elementary School. The park is the location of Bayport’s weekly farmers market.
“I think it’s something that park really needed,” said Hanson, who is the mayor-elect. “It just has a picnic table, and that’s it.”
The City Council did a survey, and 62 percent of residents said they favored the pavilion.
Post 491 is named in honor of Hesley Jensen, a local man who was killed in World War I in 1918. Post 491 received its temporary charter on Jan. 13, 1922, and its permanent charter on Nov. 8, 1922.
The first official meeting was held Nov. 22, 1922.
The post held a centennial dinner on Nov. 12, 2022, and before the dinner, Bayport Legionnaires and city officials joined together for a groundbreaking on the new pavilion.
Quick thanked Hanson for her vision.
“We wouldn’t be here without the work Michele Hanson has done,” he said. “She came to ask for help with Bayport’s 100th, and we said we wanted to throw in with her.”
Since the two joined forces, a few other century organizations in Bayport have been added to the list. Quick said they are Bayport American Legion Auxiliary Unit 491 and Boy Scout Troop 113.
He said 100 years ago the people of Bayport made it through World War I and were looking to get on with their lives. Prohibition was in effect, too.
“They were living in a time when there were people around who recalled the Civil War,” Quick said.
He said it is a good sign of a strong community when the city works well with local service organizations.
The WWI veterans formed the post to serve the veterans.
“We still are serving veterans down at the Legion,” he said.
The post moved into its current building at 263 Third St. N. in 1964.
South Stillwater was incorporated as a village in 1881. The railroad combined three settlements into one in 1873. Hanson said that the residents grew weary of bearing the Stillwater name, along with the confusion it caused, and the name Bayport won a vote in 1922.
The post newsletter is called The Buck Passer, and these days, it is mailed quarterly and posted to the post website: bayportlegion.org.
The first post commander was Army veteran Robert Selb. The post has sponsored Boy Scout Troop 113 since 1929. The post organizes the annual Bayport Memorial Day Parade. Among its current members is Brig. General Sandy Best, the first female general in the Minnesota Army National Guard.