History of the Bradley County Veterans Museum Building
The building housing the Veterans Museum was built in 1922 by World War I veterans. The building known as the “The American Legion Hut” served as the meeting place for American Legion Martin-Tate Post 82. It was also the site for all kinds of civic activities in Bradley County including; the operation center for activities related to housing and feeding hundreds of people escaping the devastating Southeastern flood of 1927, first aid and defense-related courses to include air raid protection during WWII, after the original wooden YMCA burned the “Hut,” was used as the YMCA until construction of a new building was completed, activities involving search and rescue operations and other tasks related to the 1949 tornado that killed 55 and injured hundreds more, dances and other events for young and old from 1922 until the 1990’s, and numerous other civic related activities.
By the year 2000 the building was in need of considerable repair or being torn down. In 2001 members of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disable American Veterans met and began plans to form an organization to renovate and operate the building as the Bradley County Veterans Museum. The project consisted of 10 phases beginning January 1, 2003; foundation repair, roof replacement, outside walls, window replacement, inside carpentry, floor replacement, interior wall and partition construction, electrical work, plumbing installation, and concrete work. The building renovation was completed in November, 2005, a 1440 square feet addition was added in 2016. Baker-York Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4564 met in a building on North Martin Street until that building was torn down when Martin Street was enlarged by the State.
Southeast Arkansas Community Based Education Center (SEACBEC) Computer Assisted Design (CAD) students assisted the veterans by providing building and lot plans and the Environmental and Spatial Technology class (EAST) planned and developed the original website. Three University of Arkansas Little Rock (UALR) Information Science students planned, developed, and implemented a new, updated website for the Museum in 2019.
The Museum Building includes an office for the Bradley County Veterans Service Officer (VSO) to assist veterans with claims and other items related to the Veterans Administration (VA). Operating hours for the VSO are Monday and Tuesday from 8:00 AM-4:00 PM.In addition to operating and maintaining the Veterans Museum, the Veteran’s organizations sponsor annual Veterans Day and Memorial Day programs, Boys and Girls State Programs and middle and high school essay/oratorical contests and other programs in conjunction with state veteran’s organizations
American Legion Martin-Tate Post 82, Baker-York Post 4564, Bradley County Genealogy Society, Captain Robert Abernethy Chapter of the Daughters of American Revolution (DAR), and Bradley County Veterans, Inc. meet monthly at the Museum with the exception of June (Pink Tomato Festival) and December (Christmas).
Bradley County Veterans, Inc.” was established as a 501 (c) (3) veteran’s organization with the State of Arkansas and the Internal Revenue Service with the purpose of renovating the building, and operating and maintaining it as a Museum and sponsoring annual Veterans Day and Memorial Day programs for the County and other civic related activities as directed by the Bradley County Veterans, Inc. Board made up of members of the veterans groups and two citizens appointed by the Bradley County Judge.