Eagle Grange to become museum site
MONTGOMERY – Twenty two members of the Pennsylvania Eagle Grange are in the process of turning the Eagle Grange into a state museum.
The announcement was made by Elizabeth Downey to the public during a tour of the building on Saturday, September 6.
The Eagle Grange is Pennsylvania’s first Grange and was chartered in 1873. It was built in 1871 two years before the state Grange. Downey who serves on a state level submitted a grant this year to incorporate a museum for the state. However, an increase of funding is needed as well as more members. “We would like to get more activities going here,” said Downey who serves on the executive board. A committee has been established to work with the state to make the museum happen.
“There are lots of historical artifacts and maps that can be seen here and groups can come and host meetings here at the Grange,” Downey said.
The National Grange was formed in 1867 and organized by Oliver Hudson Kelley. Today the Grange supports all areas of concern for legislative policies communicating a need for a broad based agricultural economy.
“Legislation is very important at this level,” Downey announced. “We can write a resolution and send it to the state to debate at the annual state grange conferences. From there it can go to a national level.” For example the delivery of rural mail routes was initiated through Grange resolutions on a local level. Farming prices affected by the railroads also played an important role for farmers.
Downey also made it clear that anyone is welcome to use or join the Grange. “You do not have to be a member,” she added. In the 40’s there were close to 600 people who would come together to celebrate various issues.
A tour was given upstairs where meetings and executive positions with rituals are held twice a month. Each position has its own place station with officers. This would be the Pomona Grange which operates on a county level. The Community Grange is the foundation to serve the needs of family and community. The Eagle Grange serves in both capacities.
The Grange is focused on community service and honorary positions are given for a steward, a gate keeper, a chaplain and the vice-president. In place are some old manuals that get revised on a national level. Patriotism and faith in God play an important role. “Looking out for the community is big here,” Downey told the group.
The Grange can currently be used by many types of organizations including weddings, dinners, birthday parties, reunions and more. “People from the community can rent the building for a small fee,” replied Downey.
Recently the Montgomery American Legion donated funds to replace all of the old windows. Brady and Clinton Townships each contributed $3500 in grant funds to help maintain the building and replace the roof.
“More than anything it’s the camaraderie that keeps the Grange going,” stated Karen Williamson, Treasurer.