Grange History NEW

History of America’s Community Grange

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
  • William Saunders
  • Aaron B. Grosh
  • William M. Ireland
  • John R. Thompson
  • Francis McDowell
  • John Trimble
  • Caroline Hall, assistant 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.

History of the Willamette Grange

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 and the second oldest continuously active Grange in Oregon.   Willamette Grange was chartered as part of the Oregon State Grange in 1873, and is an organization promoting community, agricultural and forestry knowledge, and rural concerns.

History of the Willamette Grange Hall

From the beginning Grange halls were built to accommodate the assembly of Grangers. They were designed with the Grange ceremonial activities needs which included a stage, various podiums, and general assembly seating.  Customarily there was a kitchen included in building designs for potlucks and to feed members many who had traveled some distance to attend.

The Willamette Community and Grange Hall is the third Hall of Willamette Grange #52. The first two Halls were located on Greenberry Road near where Tyee Winery is located today.  Both Halls were destroyed by fires. The second Hall fire was in 1921. The land for the Hall today was donated and the third Hall was completed in 1923. 

Building Projects

Willamette Community and Grange Hall had significant design flaws that were exacerbated by a large snow fall event in 1953, the under-engineered rafters for the span of the upstairs of the Hall.  The walls had too much flex. The electrical and plumbing systems were aged and severely under capacity for a building this size. 

List of Repairs and upgrades:

  • Restore Portico
  • Roof/Truss repairs
  • Electrical – increase capacity, rewire Hall
  • Foundation – assess cracks, stability
  • Septic – update pumps, alarm, vault
  • Repair/restore chimneys
  • Asbestos – kitchen and chimney tape
  • Water treatment – Iron, filter and softener
  • Build new pumphouse/garage
  • Insulation – Down and upstairs
  • Drywall – Down and upstairs, paint