American Legion Hut & Merci Car

Constructed in 1922, the Richard L. Kitchens Post in Helena is one of the oldest American Legion buildings in Arkansas. According to present officers of the Post, the Helena building was the first in the country to be called a “hut”.For over fifty years the American Legion hut in Helena has served veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean conflict and the war in Vietnam. Constructed by and for American Legion members, it stands as a monument to twentieth century American military veterans. Today the hut is used as a reception site for weddings and community events (open to the public by appointment only).

An antique boxcar from the Merci Train is located on the hut’s grounds. It was one of 49 cars sent to the United States following World War I from the nation of France to show France’s gratitude for the American lives lost to save French soil. Each boxcar was filled with hundreds of gifts and sent to each of the 48 states that existed at that time with the 49th boxcar split between the Territory of Hawaii and the District of Columbia. Some of the gifts from the boxcar are located at the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock.