Two years ago, Edgewater resident Tom Brown stopped by the Theodore Korony American Legion Post’s 241 Longstreet Avenue building. Korony Post commander Pat Devine was there, knee deep in memorabilia and dusty furniture.
Devine recalled their conversation.
“Hey,” Brown exclaimed, pointing to an ancient photograph hanging on the building’s basement wall. “Is that the firehouse?”
Most Edgewater residents know that the Korony Post was established in 1927, named for Theodore Korony, a teenager from the neighborhood who perished during World War I.
Few Edgewater residents, however, know that the Korony Post legionnaires first met at what is now the neighborhood’s ivy-covered firehouse. What Brown spied in 2007 was a photo from the 1930s or 1940s of the firehouse and, fixed outside, a handsome Korony Post sign.
“It’s a beautiful photo,” said Devine. “You can’t miss the firehouse, smokestacks and all.”
The sign, sculpted from brass and possibly ivory, disappeared long ago. “Home of the,” it read, and below that, “Theodore Korony Post No. 253 & Auxiliary – American Legion.”
The firehouse was the Korony Post’s home until 1948, when legionnaires took over a building nearby. After seeing the photo, Brown mentioned the firehouse-Korony Post connection to a number of friends.
“You’re full of it,” they laughed.
Determined to prove his pals wrong, Brown, a member of the Bronx’s American Veterans Post 38, phoned Devine.
“He called up and told me ‘I need that photo…these guys are breaking my chops,’” Devine said.
Happy to oblige, Devine had the photo copied and framed. Last month, he presented a copy to Brown. Devine’s fellow legionnaires applauded the gesture.
“Back then, they called the firehouse ‘The Mansion,’” Korony Post member Tony Salimbene said. “The photo is our connection to the past. It reminds us how our fathers and grandfathers served.”
Brown returned his copy of the photo to the Edgewater firehouse, Devine said. The Edgewater Athletic Association meets there and Brown is an active member.
“At the time the photo was taken, the Korony Post was very strong,” said Devine. “So were the other posts in the area. Silver Beach got a post then. So did Throggs Neck.”
World War I veterans returning from Europe founded the American Legion in 1919. In 1958, Devine said, the Korony Post moved to an historic mansion. More than 30 years later, the legionnaires built a new home on Longstreet Avenue.
Today, the Korony Post meets at the New York Turner Club.