The national Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, also simply styled the grange, is a fraternal organization for American farmers that encouraged farm families to band together for their common economic and political good.
Founded in 1867 after the Civil War, it is the oldest surviving agricultural organization in America, though now much diminished from over one million members it had in its peak in the 1890s through the 1950s.
In addition to serving as a center for many farming communities, the grange was a effective special interest group for farmers and their agendas, including fighting railroad monopolies and pushing for rural mail deliveries.
Indeed the word grange itself comes from a Latin word for grain, and is related to a granary or more generically, a farm.
In 2005, the grange had a membership of 300,000 with organizations in 3,600 communities in 37 states. They occupy a building in downtown Washington, D.C., an 11 story building they had built in 1960. Many small rural communities in the United States still have a Grange Hall standing on Main Street.
The Patron of Husbandry organized a lodge in Ticonderoga on Feb. 24, 1908, and for some time held their meetings in the I.O.O.F temple. Arthur DeLano was the first master. In 1911 their place of meeting was changed to The Shattuck Block. In a few years , the organization seemed to go on the rocks and permission was asked to use the church hall in Streetroad and in 1919 this hall became the home of Grange No. 1130.
For several years many interesting and entertaining evenings were spent under the capable leadership of Master Thomas Cook and his wife. A Home Economics Comm. was adopted by the Grange. Their duties were to work for the betterment of the community in to aid the needy.
It was through the efforts of The Home Economics Comm. in 1930 that a side walk was built along the main street in Streetroad and that an electric light was placed at each street intersection. We should not neglect to say that the hearty co-operation of the Highway Commissioner at that time, Mr. R.J.Smith had much to do with the success of the project.
Then came the day that it was decided that more room was needed and in 1934 the majority set out to erect a modern building with a greater capacity and more freedom for entertaining. The result was a pleasant, comfortable building which was dedicated in 1935. Here Farm Bureau, Dairymen's League meetings and eighth grade graduations were held besides the regular Grange meetings, card parties and social gatherings.
This new building burned to the ground with all its contents on April 6, 1943. Plumbing repairs were made the day before as a dance was planned for the coming Friday night. It is thought that defective wiring was the cause of the fire. The loss was estimated at $7,500, of which $5,000 was covered by insurance.
In November 1943 the rebuilding was started by Armand Morin. The new hall was completed in 1945, built of cement block, and still stands. Dances were held every Saturday night and suppers for the public were very popular.
This series of articles is compliments of Ticonderoga Heritage Museum, located in the 1888 building at the entrance of Bicentennial Park.