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On May 22, 1941 the first center for uniformed men was opened on Wabash Street in Indianapolis. It was called The Army, Navy, and Marine Service Club and was located in a converted freight house under the auspices of the Indianapolis Parks Board. The Works Project Administration supplied the labor to convert the building, and the community donated the furnishings. Mrs. Dorothy F. Buschmann became the first full time director for the Center on September 1, 1941.

By November 1, 1941 an average of 2,000 men a week visited the Club. The Club included: game rooms, a library, and a writing room. The Club was staffed with young women called "Cadettes" three days a week. Also, a "pantry shelf" served dinner on Sunday and snacks seven days a week.

Soon it was obvious that one center would not be enough. The Union Station Canteen was opened on December 22, 1941 followed by the Illinois Street Center on July 8, 1942. The facilities were incorporated into the Indianapolis Service Men's Centers in late July 1942. Subsequent to this incorporation the Senate Avenue Center was opened. The Robert Park Center was added last in the spring of 1943.

By December 31, 1947 all United Service Organizations clubs and facilities were closed, and the organization was given an honorable discharge by President Harry S. Truman.

USO Bulletin
Dec. 1941

USO Policy on prices to servicemen, p.1
2 June 1942

USO Policy on prices to servicemen, p.2
2 June 1942

Dorothy F. Buschmann

Yank, the Army Weekly
17 Sept. 1943

USO memorandum

USO booklet

Wabash St. Center, Dec. 1943

USO luncheon program

Navy Day Program
27 Oct. 1944

Gov. Henry Schricker, et al.

Cadettes Regiment 1

USO Memorandum

USO Pamphlet

Pages 8 and 9 from the USO Pamphlet

Last pages of the USO pamphlet

Pantry Shelf Staff


USO flyer

SMC in the Victory Parade

Interior of the Wabash St. Center

Radio script, p.1
11 June 1942

Radio script, p. 2
11 June 1942

Wabash St. Center, 1941

Union Station Canteen

Illinois St. Center

Senate Ave. Center

Robert Parks Branch

All images are provided for the personal use of patrons and researchers and may not be incorporated into publications, websites, or exhibits without written permission of the Indiana State Library or other appropriate copyright holder.

Text Sources:

All information came from L470, Indianapolis U.S.O Council Records, Box 3, Folder 7, and S37, Katherine Watson Collection. This collection is available in the Manuscript Section of the Indiana State Library.