The Grange was a farmer’s organization that held social events in their hall. Their official name was “The Patrons of Husbandry,” but local chapters were simply known as the “Grange.” There was a supervisory Grange in Washington, D.C. It was a popular movement from 1867 to 1906, depending on the state. Delaware still has a Grange downstate in Dover than has a webpage showing photos of many people looking like farmers. I still see the Grange mentioned in old movies when the hero moseys on down the trail to the square dance at the Grange where he meets his favorite gal, Sal.
When we first moved to Delaware in the 1960s, there was a historic Grange in the middle of divided Concord Pike, right where shopping areas were being developed. At the time, there was a great hue and cry that the historic old hall would be destroyed, but the developers assured everyone that it would be preserved by moving it to a vacant location on the side of Concord Pike near the Tallyville Post Office. They would pay for the move, chump change to get a land deal passed.
I had not seen or thought of the Grange until I recently mentioned it to a member of the senior center. He assured me it was still there, which surprised me because I go that way almost every day.
So, today I explored the area to see it for myself. It was on a short street behind a Christian Science church, but on the opposite side of where I remember it being moved. Was it moved a second time?
It is a plain, two-story, boxy wood building, freshly painted white. The sign saying “Grange” over the front door is gone, but it must be stored somewhere. Its boxy style probably saved it. It can be used for many things, and moving it a short distance is more economical than building something similar from scratch. No one seems concerned about its historical significance anymore. Several marked parking spaces are on the side and back, and there seems to be a real estate company in there, but no one was inside.
We don’t have many Christian Scientists in Delaware, so I haven’t found anyone at the church, either, who could tell me more about the building. The doors were locked, but peering in the window it looks like someone is usually there.
I’ll keep trying. I must have picked a bad time.