Clarksville VFW Hall facelift begins
Gracie Wyatt, Richard Cottrell and Joanne Hammuck have all donated time to help remodel the VFW building on Front Street in Clarksville.
Many people who passed the Clarksville VFW Hall in the past may not have even noticed it.
The non-descript red building on Clarksville’s historic Front Street had been used since 1982 by Veterans of Foreign War Post 4610 for funeral gatherings, receptions and VFW meetings. It is also open during Clarksville’s celebrations, including Applefest in October and Eagle Days in January.
It was started by David Wyatt, a former VFW member, according to his surviving wife, Gracie Wyatt.
The post served well for many years but the small building and the one next door used for storage began to deteriorate.
Earlier this year, Clarksville antique shop and historic home owner Richard Cottrell decided the buildings needed a new look.
In a letter he sent to potential donors, Cottrell said he was starting the “Clarksville VFW Facelift Project.”
Cottrell noted that the VFW and its auxiliary had a small and aging membership that needed assistance to fix the buildings.
“It hit me that the buildings needed some help,” Cottrell said. “I told Joanne (Hammuck) about my idea and she said ‘God Bless You,’ ” Cottrell said.
“We don’t charge anything to use the building,” Auxiliary Treasurer Hammuck said. “It’s used a lot and we held an appreciation dinner there for the people who donated,” to the project.
Donors gave about $6,000. Labor on the project was mostly donated and materials were bought from local companies at a discount, Cottrell said.
Phase one of the project was the facelift of the building’s front and a portion of the one next door.
Grey paint replaced the red and the VFW sign was enlarged and centered. New thermopane windows and a new door replaced the old.
Mike Rhinehard painted the outside, Mike Brewer painted the sign and they only charged for materials. Mike Lindsay fixed the furnace and Danny Sheallor refurbished the roof.
New brick-like siding was placed on a portion of the building next door and Cottrell lended a hand throughout. He and the VFW members will replace the bathrooms in the existing building this winter
“If more money comes in, we’re hoping to do a little kitchen in the existing building,” Cottrell said. “We’d like to replace the floor and paint. We also need a new back door and to clean the alley up,” behind the building.
Phase two will include new windows for the second building and a repainted facade. Cottrell figures with all the donated work and discounted materials, it will take about another $6,000 to complete the project.
“A lot of people were negative and said it couldn’t be done,” Cottrell said. “That just made me work harder.”
The project “shows somebody cares for us and we appreciate everything that’s been done for us,” Wyatt said.
Hammuck handles all donations through the VFW, “every dime of which goes to the project,” she said. To donate, you can send a check to the Clarksville VFW, P.O. Box 443, Clarksville, Mo., 63336.
Donations can also be made at LaCrosse Lumber at 301 S. First St. or at Cottrell’s Downtown Antique Mall at the corner of First and Howard streets.
“The donations are all tax-deductible,” Cottrell said.