L E G I O N V I L L E
A Brief History
Legionville is a program of the Minnesota Department of The American Legion through a non-profit educational corporation. Known as Legionville School Safety Patrol
Training Center, Inc., its primary function is to train Minnesota boys and girls in the procedures of school-safety patrol work at intersections and in bus patrol work.
The idea of the School Patrol originated with Sister Carmela of the Cathedral School in Saint Paul on February 21, 1921 when the first patrolmen were stationed at the
intersection of Kellogg Boulevard and Summit Avenue in Saint Paul. Adopted citywide by the City of Saint Paul in 1922 as a part of the program of the School System and the Saint Paul Police
Department, it was also adopted as a statewide program by the Minnesota Highway Patrol.
Earle Brown, the first Chief of the Minnesota Highway Patrol, felt that a uniform program of training and support should be created in the State and came to the Minnesota
American Legion in 1935 requesting such assistance. In 1936, under a cooperative program, The American Legion started a statewide training program held at the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds in
Brainerd, with two years at Camp Ripley, using these facilities until 1956. The Training Center was staffed by members of the Minnesota Highway Patrol, qualified Legionnaires and support staff.
In 1948, the Minnesota American Legion set up a committee to raise funds to construct a permanent training center for the School Patrol and, with the funds raised, the
original 560 acre site on North Long Lake was purchased. A later addition of land raised the total to 610 acres with 1500 feet of shoreline beach. The property contained some buildings,
including a large barn which was converted to an all-purpose unit of classrooms, office, canteen, first aid room, a large theater and a recreational area on the second floor. A modern dining
hall, seven dormitories, caretaker's house and two cabins for staff have been built creating the modern Legionville School Safety Patrol Training Center, Inc.
From the first program in 1936 of two weeks and 157 patrolmen, the enrollment has progressed to more than 1500 each season with the training center having a session capacity
of 196. All sessions are now co-ed.
Each youngster, between the ages of 10 - 13, attends and is sponsored by an organization in his home town. The typical patrolman is a student entering fifth or
sixth grader. The patrolman is selected to represent his school at Legionville by the School Patrol Advisor of his school and other school and local personnel. They are expected to help
train other patrol members when they return to their schools.
Legionville is a function of The American Legion, Department of Minnesota. However, the local Posts and Auxiliary Units contribute heavily to the
program and handle many of the details making each year a smooth operation across the state. In addition to sending patrolmen to the Training Center, many Posts and Auxiliary Units make direct
contributions to Legionville for maintaining the Center and adding needed equipment. This enables the weekly fee to the Center to remain at a low level.