by Thom Van Vleck
I have reserved the Rieger Armory for the 2011 USAWA Nationals and I couldn’t be more pleased with the location. It is a classic building built in 1938 that has a lot of character and history (I know what you are thinking….that means it’s OLD, but it has been very well kept up and has been the location of hundreds of major functions here in Kirksville over the years).
It is named for Col. James Rieger who is a local war hero. He served in WWI and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the French Croix de Guerre, and the Purple Heart as well as numerous other medals for leading the 138th Regiment in a brutal attack that caused the German defenses to fall back all across the front lines. He was nicknamed the “Hero of the Argonne” and one of his men famously said in an interview that went national, “…there wasn’t one of us that wouldn’t go to Hell for him”. The War Department donated a German Howitzer captured in WWI to Kirksville that is in Rotary Park and Col. Rieger was later tapped to return to France at one point to locate and document American soldiers buried there. He was given pieces of a stained glass window from a bombed out French Church that was incorporated in the First Baptist Church here in Kirksville as a token of appreciation.
Just as importantly, it is a great place to have a weightlifting meet. Centrally located in town, you can see Truman State’s campus and the town square from Rieger. It has a large indoor area that used to house the National Guard artillery unit in town (now a Combat Engineer unit). It also has a large kitchen with plenty of tables and chairs for our banquet and a stage for a first class awards ceremony! I hope everyone will try and make this. More info to come so stay tuned! It is located at 500 S. Elson St. in Kirksville.