Sunday, July 4, 2010

Help Preserve the Londonderry, New Hampshire Grange Hall

Our Londonderry Grange Hall No. 44 was built in 1909, and it still has the original cedar shingles on its exterior.  By clicking the link below, and voting in the Pepsi Refresh Project you can help the Londonderry Grange win the contest for the $50,000 to resheath the hall in new cedar shingles, and add renovations such as running water and a bathroom.  Although our Grange Hall is used for cultural events, concerts, Scout meetings, parties, and art shows, so you can see that adding running water would certainly help make it a more convenient venue!

Go to Pepsi’s Project Refresh site and vote for Preserve a Historic New England Grange Hall.  You can click the “Vote for this idea” button in the box below. If you haven’t registered, simply enter your basic information, email address, and password, and you’ll be able to vote immediately.

To help boost votes, you can tell your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or other popular social networking sites by clicking the Share/Save button below. Voting ends on July 31, 2010, so be sure to get your votes in! Each person can vote once per day, everyday, so take a minute to do something good for Londonderry!

The Grange No. 44 built their hall in Londonderry on Mammoth Road, on the corner of Pillsbury Road, in 1909. It is listed in the New Hampshire Registry of Historic Places. This picturesque building has been the site of many wedding receptions, concerts, and meetings over the years. In the 1940’s my mom’s cousin, Betty Hitchings, had her wedding reception there. Boy Scouts still hold weekly meetings, even though the building still lacks bathroom facilities. Recently I attended an art fair in the old building, which attracted many people from out of town. Folks from in town and from away marveled at the original interior décor they had never seen before, even though they had driven by the old building many times.

This year the Grange No. 44, which still has 36 members, started a restoration project to renovate and re-side the cedar building. In Londonderry, well known Grange Master Hank Peterson and long time Historical Society members Marilyn Ham are actively raising $20,000 to cover the cost of re-shingling the building. Don't wait to see if the Londonderry Grange No. 44 wins the Pepsi contest! Donations may be sent in care of Gladys Woodin, 580 Charles Bancroft Highway, Litchfield, NH 03052.

The National Grange Order of Patrons of Husbandry began as an agricultural organization in 1867. Their peak membership was over one million members in the early 20th century. Men, women and children were all allowed to become members, and entire families participated in types of activities, not only agricultural pursuits. Today there are still over 300,000 members of the Grange. In many small towns it was the only social organization available, and many built Grange Halls for their exclusive use. Over time, many of these halls became the center of entertainment, especially in rural areas, and are still rented out for many community uses.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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