Willamette Grange #52 is located between Corvallis and Monroe in Benton County and is one of five active Granges in Benton County, alongside Hope, Fairmount, Marys River and Summit Granges. It is the oldest active Grange in Benton County. Willamette Grange was chartered as part of the Oregon State Grange in 1873, and is an organization promoting agriculture, forestry, & rural residents.
About the Grange
From the National Grange website:
The Grange is a family, community organization with its roots in agriculture. Founded in 1867, the Grange was formed as a national organization with a local focus. Our members are given the opportunity to learn and grow to their full potential as citizens and leaders.
The family is the base of the organization with full membership beginning at age 14. Women have been equal members since the inception of the Grange. We have a Junior Grange program for children age 5 to 14, that has helped the youngest members of the family learn about community values and citizenship for more than 100 years. Our Grange Youth program develops the leadership skills of our young adults and young married couples.
The foundation of the organization is the Community Grange, which can be found in rural, suburban and urban communities. Faith, hope, charity, and fidelity are the basic lessons of the Community Grange. To learn more, see the Declaration of Purposes.
The Grange has four levels, Community, County or District, State, and National to ensure that the membership’s voice is heard at the appropriate place. Our membership sets the direction and activities for their Community Grange in true grassroots fashion, and those decisions seep up to the national level. Nonpartisan legislative advocacy, educational programs, service projects, and social interaction and networking are just a few of the ways local Granges serve their communities and members.
Over 150 years, the organization continues to grow, chartering several new Granges in 2011 in communities across the United States. The most recent addition to the Grange family is Sandy Valley Grange #19 in Nevada.
On December 4, 1867 in a small Washington, D.C., building that housed the office of William Saunders, Superintendent of Propagating Gardens in the Department of Agriculture, the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, more commonly known as the Grange, was born. Here, sitting around a plain wooden table, a group of seven earnest men, planned what was destined to become a vital force in preserving and expanding American democracy. They were all men of vision-they had faith in God, in their fellow man and the future. The Seven Founders of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry were:
Oliver H. Kelley
Aaron B. Grosh
William M. Ireland
John R. Thompson
John Trimble, assisted by Caroline Hall, who was later named an honorary 8th founder of the Grange.
Their names are inscribed on a Birthplace Marker located near the site of the original building on the south side of 4th Street SW, near Madison Street on the mall in Washington DC The marker was officially dedicated on Sept. 9, 1951, and is the only private monument on the mall.
The Grange in Oregon
The first Grange was organized in Oregon in 1873. Each Grange is assigned a number when organized. Willamette Grange is #52. The last Grange established in Oregon is #960. Not all Granges survive. There are 162 active granges on Oregon, 2000 nationwide in 38 states.
Willamette Grange #52 is the second oldest active Grange in Oregon. The Grange is a community and not all Granges have Grange Halls. Willamette Grange has had three!
The first Grange Hall was built in 1873 near Tyee, and burned in 1899. The second Grange Hall was built in 1899 on a site nearby and it burned in 1922. The third, current, Grange Hall was built in 1922 on land donated by McCauley Porter, and has managed to not burn, although in 1956 there was a fire in the electrical panel.
Willamette Grange membership was strong from inception, then dwindled to just a handful of active members. Membership at Willamette Grange is now on the rise.