This picture illustrates the resourcefulness of early Grangers. In 1893, Mountain View Grange, located on a picturesque bluff above the Columbia River, was scheduled to host the fifth annual Washington State Grange Session. The local planning committee realized that neither the school or the church would be big enough to accommodate this state meeting. Being a creative group, they contacted A.H. Jewett who had recently built a new barn with an extremely large hay loft that overlooked White Salmon. After quickly assessing the building with A.H. Jewett, it was decided to hold the grange session in the loft of his new barn. Mt. View Grange added several windows and a new stairway to the loft. During the grange session, the barn was decorated with wreaths and flowers, and the 1893 state session ended up a complete success. Today, a painting of that Red Barn occupies a place of honor at the Mountain View Grange Hall. (submitted photo)
As of Wednesday, March 14, 2018
More than 70 grangers and friends from across the county crowded into Goldendale Grange Hall Sunday, March 4, for a celebration of Grange Heritage in Klickitat County.
All seven, currently active granges were present; Centerville #81, Columbia(Lyle) #87, Glenwood #94, Mountain View (White Salmon #98), Alder Creek #890, Trout Lake #210 and Goldendale #49.
Although no longer active, Pleasant Valley #146, Woodbine #243, Dot #252, White Creek #1075 and Spring Creek Grange #162, were represented in the historical activities.
Grange history dates back to the early 1890s when 34 grange halls were located in Klickitat County. As roads and transportation improved these small local units consolidated into the Granges we have today.
Representatives from each participating local grange provided a written history along with pictures and other artifacts depicting their long history. Klickitat County enjoys the distinction of having many of the oldest and lowest Grange Hall numbers in the state.
It is interesting to note that four State Grange Conventions were held in Klickitat County — Goldendale 1891, White Salmon 1893, Lyle 1897 and Centerville in 1904. A note found in Columbia Grange Minutes states, “The 1894 Washington State Grange Session, was to be held in Vancouver. Columbia Grange voted on and passed a motion to notify all granges in Klickitat County that their teams of horses and wagons could be left at James Lyle’s or John Olson’s so that Grange members could take the riverboat to the Vancouver Convention.” Roads on the north side of the Columbia between Lyle and Vancouver had not yet been completed.
Klickitat County has been honored by several state officers through the years: William Olson, from Lyle, was one of the first. He was State Lecturer from 1897 to 1899. Records indicate he was the oldest surviving charter member of the State Grange in 1963 when he passed away. He had attended every session for 50 years until 1962 when failing health caused his absence. Locally he donated the land, the lumber and helped build the Columbia Grange Hall in 1889.
Ray Hill, a Goldendale native, was our last State officer, he was elected State Overseer in 1972 and became State Master in 1983. He came from a family with deep roots in the grange. In 1956, Chester Hill installed his son Ray as Master of Goldendale Grange, his granddaughter Lynn Hill as Junior Master; granddaughters Susan and Sandra and grandson Kenneth as officers of the Junior Grange and daughter-in-law Helen Hill as Lady Assistant Steward of the Goldendale Grange. This occurred in the same ceremony with Chester Hill’s youngest son, Harold, Master of East Klickitat Pomona, acting as Installing Marshall.
In typical grange fashion, the day’s festivities started with a generous potluck style meal. A grange member passing through the buffet line remarked, “this is what Grange is all about, lots of good food and good company.”
Celebrations are not complete without a cake. Cake decorator, Lanae Johnson, provided that special cake again this year. It was a chocolate raspberry cake decorated to depict the seven-sided grange symbol that even included the sheaf of wheat.
Grange members listened intently while JT Cahill recited the FFA Creed and FFA members Austin McKune, Grace Hanning, Delaney Kindler, Leslie Smith, Tiana Watson performed the opening FFA ceremony. Good luck is offered these students in their future completion.
The remainder of the day was spent munching on desserts and telling grange stories.