History of Gardner Grange # 68
Gardner Grange was founded on
Kelly had a farm in
Dumbauld and Spurgeon organized 400 more Granges in
Gardner Grange was the 68th
Grange to be formed in
In an entry from these early record books Mrs. Kristina Johnson Sect. Reported members would answer roll call at the next meeting, by answering; for the brothers, “How to get rid of moles” and for the sisters, “How I can fruits and vegetables.” on the next page. It is reported as to how some of the members answered. Several ladies spoke of canning everything from pickles, tomatoes, and peaches. It was done mostly by water bath methods, none mentioned the use of pressure canners. The men’s answers for getting rid of moles in your yard, ranged from methods very scientific, to one brother answering “Get a Dog!”
In those days they were addressing some of the same problems we still address today. Such as; “How do we get new members.” Have a Feast was the solution. Thus the Oyster soup feeds started.
A Grange store was opened in 1882. It isn’t known where it was. It would have been a Feed and General Store with farm implements and groceries . It is believed that that first building burned. Later another “Grange Store” Stood at the corner of Park and Center across from the post office. It was a two story building with the store on the first floor and meeting room on he second floor.
Other than the churches the Grange was the center of community activities, in the 1880s and 90s. The earliest Newspaper “The Gardner Graphic” reports, dances, special speakers, ice cream socials, oyster soup feeds, literary programs, and pie suppers, all held at the Grange Hall.
By 1920 the Grange was beginning to decline.
Some of the other granges in and around the rural
Clatawa Grange closed in 1931 and the members joined Gardner
Grange. Clatawa Grange met in the
Gardner Grange laid almost dormant during the depression years and WWII. There are no records for the depression years. Records dating form 1939 through 1948 state the Grange met about three times a year. By 1947 things were beginning to flourish again. Under the leadership of Master C. Roy Gay, Gardner Grange began to meet twice monthly. Margaret Gay remembers;
Two membership teams were formed. The red
team and the blue team, there was a contest to see which team could sign the
most members over short period of time. I think is was
reported that the blue team won. The next report of “Names proposed for
membership” was very long. In the 1950s it made a big come back. Since that
time, Gardner Grange has contributed greatly to the community of
Being during the baby boom years everyone
was having babies by, 1955 some of them were getting old enough that Gardner
Juvenile (Junior) Grange #91 was formed. Linda Kincaide
Rothwell remembers; “We met in the basement of the building, on the NW side of
In the Subordinate Grange minutes it was reported that “The Juveniles met with only two light bulbs.” A motion was made and seconded. that, “The Grange buy some light bulbs for our Juvenile Grange. Motion carried.” Later there was a Resolution passed at Nationals Grange that the word “Juvenile” was not the proper word because it is associated with Juvenile Delinquents. “Be it resolved that The Juvenile Grange now be known as The ‘Junior Grange’” This was passed and or around 1962. Gardner Junior Grange also moved out of the basement about that time, to a room that had been an apartment, upstairs next to the big hall. I loved and looked forward to those meetings, as a 5 year old I could not wait to be Ceres and carry the flag. That day came and I felt like that was the most important job in the meeting. I stood just as tall as I could as I carried the Flag around the room and stood holding it as the other kids repeated the Pledge of Allegiance. This was followed by the Juvenile Pledge. Which talked about avoiding tobacco and intoxicating drink and NOT talking Gods name in vain. All of which we promised on our honor. It meant a lot to me and stayed with me".
A benefit show was held in the City
Auditorium for polio .This was held on
Gardner Grange worked with the State Highway
Commission, the Historical marker on 56hw west of town, was placed at that
time, landscaping was also done on the “Road Side Park” there were picnic
tables built be Grange members. This project was never completed,
there were plans to have shelter houses and even restrooms. Most of these
activities happened in the 55-56 Grange year, We
received recognition from WIBW in
For many years Gardner Grange met at the corner of Main and Elm streets, in a meeting hall above the Gardner Variety store (now a Dr’s office) In 1971 Gardner Grange approached the Johnson County Fair Board,. about the possibility of placing a Building on the Fair grounds for our use during the year and their use during fair. Three or four tractor pulling contests, were held per year for the next few years to fund this building project. The project was finished in 1973. For a number of years the Grange served meals at the fair, out of our Grange kitchen. This was discontinued later, due to aging members, and not enough younger members to help (we were all working during the day) We found it easier to have a booth in the commercial building for many years we quilted and sold chances on the quilt for a $1 donation. In 2000 our women made a beautiful lavender and white bear paw quilt. The proceeds were given to the WW2 Memorial Fund in DC. Last year was the last year for the quilt both however.
Grange meetings have always consisted of opening with prayer, the open Bible, Presentation of the American Flag. Opening Song, from “The Grange Song Book” business meeting, literary programs in charge of the Lecturer. A program might consist of a musical numbers, readings, speakers, slide presentations, Hobby Nights. Gardner Grange continues to meet on the 1st Monday of each month at our hall on the fair grounds.
and submitted by Linda Rothwell of