History

HISTORY OF THE GRANGE

AGRICULTURAL ROOTS

The Grange movement has its roots in the agricultural tradition and lifestyle of this country, and is our oldest national agricultural organization. With the decline in family farming, however, in many areas the Grange has evolved into a community service organization, including non-farm rural families and communities. The Grange still retains and fosters many of the same values and principles associated with the agrarian spirit.

WHAT IS THE GRANGE?

The Left Hand Grange No. 9 is part of a larger network of 1,542 grange units in the US, involving over 143,000 members. In Colorado, there are 40 active Grange units, with 1,253 members, where the Left Hand Grange is the oldest in the state. The word “grange” comes from the Latin word for grain (i.e. granary or farm, in general.) The name “Grange’ was chosen for the organization because English farm estates, each a complete community, were called Granges.

THE GRANGE MOVEMENT

Knowledge about the Grange movement is becoming less known to an increasingly urban population, and people are often curious about what the Grange is. While the Grange was founded as a fraternal organization, many of the Grange Halls today, including Left Hand Grange No. 9, operate more informally, in a manner similar to other service organizations that might be more familiar. Without an air of secrecy and ritual, Left Hand Grange No. 9 seeks to cultivate a strong community spirit and enhance local culture.

RICH HISTORY

Throughout the years, the Left Hand Grange No. 9 has played an active role in preserving the agricultural heritage of the area and honoring the spirit of those who came before us to settle this place.

1873-1874

An agricultural family fraternity

The Left Hand Grange No. 9 was organized at the Batchelder School House southwest of Niwot on December 20, 1873. The Left Hand Grange No. 9 received its charter on Jan 24, 1874.

1888

Early members

The National Grange organization, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., was founded following the Civil War, at a time when farm families were more dispersed and prone to isolation.

1905

New Opportunities

Nelson Hall was built by John Nelson in 1905. It provided opportunities for social interaction and education, as well as strong political advocacy for farm and ranch issues, such as high shipping rates charged by the railroad monopolies to send farm products back East.

1910

Old Town Niwot

The post office stood next to Nelson Hall, and across the street was a drugstore where the town doctor dispensed drugs and advice. Next to the drugstore were a pool hall and barber shop, favorite social gathering places after ballgames and band concerts. The Livingston Hotel stood in the middle of the block, its front porch extending all the way to the street. It catered to travelers as well as several local citizens and oilfield personnel working in the oil fields to the west of town. Source: Niwot Historical Society

1930

Mainstreet

Niwot’s Second Avenue in 1930, looking west from the Franklin Street intersection.

1945

Grange Hall

Now known as the Grange Hall, Nelson Hall was purchased by Left Hand Grange No. 9 from the Nelson estate in 1945.

1950

Square Dance Competitions

Square dance competitions were as popular as horseshoe pitching contests between local grange teams from the 1930s through the 1950s. Couples with familiar names like Johnson, Conilogue, and Hornbaker made up the Left Hand Grange team in 1950. Their trophies are still on display in the grange trophy case.

1959

In Color

One of the first color photos of The Left Hand Grange Hall.

2009-2020

A Community Landmark

In 2009, the hall underwent substantial renovation to solve drainage problems and foundation decay. The renovation included rebuilding exterior walls and modernization of the interior spaces. The lower floor is now fully accessible. The renovation was strongly supported by the entire Niwot community and donations to the Left Hand Grange. Community and business leaders in Niwot consider the Grange a great community asset.

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