1956 VFW Post 1760 building
Photo by the Mesa Tribune, 1956.
VFW Post 1760 Mesa history
A piece of Mesa history, Mesa Tribune, March 1956

Following VFW Post 1760’s extensive renovation this spring, post officers went through old post records. As a result, we found some remarkably well-preserved documents from our early days as a VFW post. For example, a copy of the Mesa Tribune, a paper that is no longer in circulation,* tells of a key moment in Post 1760 history.

Front page 1956:

On March 17, 1956, the Mesa Tribune featured this news item at the bottom of their front page. Consider that the whole paper was eight pages that day. This story read:

MORTGAGE PAID — Members of the Mesa Veterans of Foreign Wars post, pictured above, have invited the public to ceremonies tonight that will include the burning of the mortgage on the above building. Dinner will be served from 5 to 8 p.m., followed by entertainment, burning rites and dancing.

VFW Will Burn Mortgage

Mesa’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post will celebrate its mortgage burning ceremonies tonight with a dance, a buffet supper and a program of entertainment.

The public has been invited to attend the festivities which start at 5 p.m. with the supper.

During the evening, the up-and-down historic career since its inception in 1929 as Geronimo Post 1760, will be outlined.

It is currently named Dode Morris Post 1760. The name was changed in 1936 to honor Joseph Smith Morris, nicknamed “Dode”, who was the first Mesa soldier to lose his life in World War I. Morris was killed in action on Oct. 21, 1918.

The mortgage burning rites will climax the post’s building program which started in 1949 when the present site was purchased from the Baptist church.

Construction of the building at 1st Ave. and S. Macdonald St. began in 1951. Previously the post meeting place had been in the basement of the Passey-Gurtler building on W. Main St.

VFW Post 1760 history lessons:

First, debt was viewed differently at the time. Getting clear title, paying off your mortgage, was a very significant event, traditionally marked by burning the official mortgage document. Consider the timeline: purchase the site in 1949 — burn the mortgage in 1956. That is only 7 years from start to finish!

Second, the VFW post and its members mattered enough in Mesa to be a front page story in the local daily paper. True, we shared the page with a picture of an Eagle Scout ceremony, and a story of the upcoming Mesa High School Jackrabbit band concert. That shows the VFW was well regarded as an integral part of the community’s civil life.

VFW Post 1760 members after World War II showed great vision. Their focus on gaining their own permanent building, free and clear, paid off. Today’s post members continue to enjoy the fruits of that foresight.

* The Mesa Tribune newspaper was in circulation as a locally owned publication from the beginning of the 20th century until 1977, when it was bought up along with other local papers. In 1997, these papers were combined into one, renamed in 1999 the East Valley TribuneToday, the East Valley Tribune is a print weekly and an online publication. The Mesa Tribune reemerged primarily as an online publication.