Northborough Grange seeks to reintroduce itself to community
By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Northborough – For 122 years before it closed its doors in 2007, Northborough Grange, a local chapter of the National Grange, was an active part of the town's culture. It was known for its dinners and dances, as well as its involvement in community activities. In its heyday, the Grange boasted nearly 100 members who attended events at the organization's hall on School Street. But with the changing times, membership fell off, the group disbanded and the building was sold.
Now, some former members are hoping to re-establish this community-oriented organization as part of a nationwide initiative to make Granges vital again.
The National Grange was founded in 1867 to provide a social and legislative action organization for farmers; however over the years the organization has evolved to encompass community service and action. As the Grange prepares for its 150 anniversary in 2017, the National Grange and Massachusetts State Grange are committed to reorganizing Granges across the country.
National Grange President Ed Luttrell said the Massachusetts State Grange has done a great job identifying communities in which Granges have deep history and that many feel should once again be part of the landscape.
“When the Granges struggled or closed in these towns, they left a void. Granges offer a place for the entire family to learn and laugh together,” Luttrell said. “As life gets busier, hometowns like Northborough need the Grange today more than ever.”
Christopher Szkutak is a fourth-generation member of the Northborough Grange.
“I'se seen the positive impact it can have on a town, and I know it can be that way again,” he said. “There's sometimes a misconception that's it's only for farmers.? But it's not just for them – it's also for people who are interested in where food comes from and who believe agriculture is important. It's also very community-service minded.”
“There are all sorts of activities for every member of the family,” he added. “It's way for everyone to have fun, as well as giving back to the community.”
The Grange also has programs for members ages 14 to 35 that promote leadership training and scholarships for college.
Anyone 14 and older can be an official member of the Grange. There is also a Junior Grange program for children ages 5 to 14.
A meeting will be held Wednesday, April 3, at 7:30 pm at the First Parish Church, 40 Church St., for those who are interested in learning more about the Northborough Grange.
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