Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hickory Tree Grange Hall in Amherst - Part 1

HICKORY TREE GRANGE HALL – Located on Milan Ave., the building
was purchased in 1925 by the grange. Many hours of hard work went into
preparing the hall for a meeting place for the organization. It was wired for
electricity and piped for water.
As you probably noticed, I don't write too much about Amherst on this blog – mainly because I don't know too much about the history of that fine city, nor do I visit it very often.

I do head to Amherst once a week for a workout with my personal trainer. But with North Lake Street closed for weeks (because of the work being done to the railroad bridge), I've had to find another way through that area – and one route takes me right by the old Hickory Tree Grange located on Milan Avenue.

I've wondered for a long time about the Grange, and about the history of that building as well. That's why I was happy to find the article below and am posting it here. It was written by June Alexander and ran in the Lorain Journal on Friday, July 2, 1954.

Here's Part 1 of 2.


Grange Founded Under Hickory Tree Is Named After Meeting Place

AMHERST – The old stone school house on Milan Ave. now the home of Hickory Tree Grange is undergoing a remodeling program with a room being added to the rear.

This building, a landmark in Amherst, was purchased by the Grange in 1925. At that time the members of the Grange, men and women, spent many hours in preparing the building for a meeting place for the Patrons of Husbandry. The hall was cleaned thoroughly, wired for electricity and piped for water and an ante-room and kitchen added to the back. It is this room, which is currently being extended to include the kitchen while the present kitchen is to be used as an ante-room.

Organized in 1874
Hickory Tree Grange was organized under a large hickory tree in front of the home of the late Elmer Cotton. The tree, the historic mark of Hickory Tree Grange, was cut down to make way for road improvements leading to Amherst and Elyria. Mr. Cotton at that time had two very find gavels made from the wood of the tree. These were presented to the Grange as a symbol of its beginning.

The National Grange had been incorporated in 1873 and John Ficht of Fremont was the nearest deputy. He was asked to meet with a group at a little red brick school west of Elyria and N. J. Cotton was chosen as master.

Shortly after organizing, Hickory Tree Grange combined forces with Carlisle Grange, also a new grange, in a grocery store venture with John King, Carlisle's master as its manager. The business prospered for a few years until a difference of opinion broke up the "company" and Hickory Tree Grange became dormant until 1896.

Mr. Cotton who spearheaded the original organization roused enthusiasm among the members and Hickory Tree Grange once more became an active group. The reorganization meeting was held at the little red school house on Jaeger Rd., two miles north of Amherst. Later that year the group moved to the K.O.T.M. Hall as the membership had grown to 171.

Encourage Pest Hunts
Among the early activities of the organization was the killing of sparrows which were becoming pests. The Grange sponsored a contest and cash prizes were awared. The selling of farm commodities became a feature and business thrived at each meeting. 1906 was a good year, according to an early history, for many socials, oyster suppers and ice cream socials were held at the hall and at private homes of the members.

In 1910 the group went on record as favoring parcel post and rural police on a local level and "The League of Nations." Much correspondence was sent to senators and congressmen expressing the group's approval of these measures.

Tomorrow: Part 2 

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