April is Grange Month! Building Rural and Small Town America for over 150 years!
The Mission Statement of the National Grange is: “The Grange strengthens individuals, families and communities through grassroots action, service, education, advocacy and agriculture awareness.” We do our best to follow this statement, and be a welcome member of the Walterville Community.
Their Vision Statement is equally as strong, and again, we work diligently to let this be a guide to our activities and efforts: “It will commit to the development of the potential in families, youth and adults of all ages through dynamic programs and experiences that educate, engage and enrich lives.”
Please take a few moments to explore our website and see if you don’t agree that we do our best to be a ‘relevant, caring and involved part of the community’
Walterville Grange History
The Walterville Grange was officially organized as the 416th chartered Grange in the State of Oregon, by District State Organizer P. H. Emery, on April 16th, 1910. The Grange was installed, instituted, officers installed and 34 charter members initiated. John Peatros was the first Master and John Holmes was the first Secretary.
The boundaries of the Grange were established from the S. J. Goddard place on the East to Hendricks Bridge on the West – on both side of the river and crossed on a ferry if driving, or by rowboat if they walked. Meetings were held twice a month in the evenings except in the winter when all day meetings were held on Saturdays.
Each farmer in the area hauled his cream to town each week by team. The Grange had visions of a cannery located in the Springfield vicinity. When plans for a cheese factory failed, interest in the Grange waned and became dormant in 1914.
In 1932, the Grange was reorganized under the supervision of Frank Harlow, the District Organizer. The Walterville name, number and seal were returned to the new Grange by the State Grange. On organization night there were 25 charter members. O. L. Clements was chosen to be Master.
The first meeting was held in the lower room of the Odd Fellows Hall directly south of the Walterville Presbyterian Church. This hall burned in July, 1932 just after the Grange had purchased lumber for building an anteroom. The meetings were then held in the Rebekah Hall. Plans for a new Grange Hall were abandoned when the Millican Hall (old school house) was remodeled and available. The Grange entered into maintenance agreement with other community organizations. The Grange used furniture that had been donated by a Grange at Vida that had disbanded but there was no altar and one was made by Jack Zabriskie. Some meetings were held in Leaburg to stimulate interest in that community. Projects included: Community Service Plan, River Control Group, Fire District Commission, Safety Council work, Church Sundays, Summer Picnics, Fairs and others.
In 1938, the first County Fair booth was entered under the direction of Master C. F. Grant. This was a high point of the year because all of the Granges of Lane County worked hard to present a fine agricultural display for the fair. Walterville Grange has had a booth at the fair every year since then.
In 1950, the Grange decided to hold it’s first fair in September of that year. It was held at the Rinehart chicken/turkey farm. There were concession stands in the buildings and also outside. After a couple of years, the Fair moved to the Grange Hall. The Grange has had a fair every year since then.
In 1958, Walterville Grange members started work on the creation of a Walterville-Thurston Fire District (now McKenzie Fire and Rescue). The work was done with the cooperation of other members of the community and in 1960 a measure was placed on the ballot and passed to provide $30,000 to purchase a building site and a fire engine. The first station was constructed in September, 1961 and an $18,000 engine was purchased. Granger’s served as members of the Board of Directors and as volunteer firemen.
Walterville Grange has sponsored the local Boy Scout Troop since 1963.
In 1988, the Easter Egg hunt was born. These began when Grangers colored twelve dozen eggs and hid them at a local park. An enthusiastic group of children took part in the hunt. In 1991, the hunt was held at the hall.
Also in 1988 the Grange started sponsoring a parade in Walterville on Community Fair Day. Now known as the “Walterville Community Fair”. Twenty local organizations have taken part including the Fire Department, Boy Scouts,4H Clubs and of course the Grange.
IN 2005, McKenzie Mobile Meals was created under the auspice of June Carlson. Brenda Holthaus and Rowena Miller helped June in making the meals along with members of the community.
In 2009, a Scholarship Fund was established in honor of Marjorie Alba Colpitts. She was a lifetime member of the Walterville Grange and a beloved school teacher. Grange member Jeff Dehne was one of her pupils.
Members of the Walterville Grange are active In both Pomona and State serving as Officers and Directors.
The building we currently occupy, sits on land that was purchased many years ago by one of our state’s most notable pioneers, a gentleman named George Millican. His mother was a descendant of the Scott clan of Scotland, and his father was an Englishman. George embraced the pioneer spirit by driving cattle, mining gold, and homesteading land on the McKenzie river.
He later donated some of his land to his brother Robert to build a school for their growing community. When the school closed down, George’s son Walter, who Walterville is named after, donated the building and land to the Grange and the Welcome Rebekah Lodge on the condition that it would be used as a place where the community came together.
Current Walterville Grange Officers & Staff
President: Paula Herrick
Vice-President: Dick Putnam
Lecturer: Brenda Holthaus
Steward: Vernon Herrick
Assistant Steward: Jeff Dehne
Lady Assistant Steward: Rowena Miller
Chaplin: Wanda Putnam
Treasurer: Liz Dehne
Secretary: Vinita Bishop
Gatekeeper: Herb Gazeley
Ceres: Gwen Gazely
Pomona: Gloria Suter
Flora: Denise Bishop
Exec. Committee: J.R. Herrick
Exec. Committee: Sherry Jones
Exec. Committee: Tyler Manthei