Although it was last to organize in Somerset County, by 1900 it had over 200 Members and was the 10th largest Grange in the County

The Patrons of Husbandry Hartland Grange No. 452 formed in the late 1800s holding their first meetings at the Hartland Opera House-Town Hall until their expanding membership finally outgrew the venue and a dedicated Grange Hall was built in 1905 on recently built Seekins Street .

New P. of H. No. 452 Grange Hall – Seekins Street – 1905

 

Details about the Grange and the opening of their new Grange Hall were announced in a newspaper article.

October 10, 1905 Newspaper Article

 

“On Thursday, May 9th, all the roads in Hartland led to the Opera House where the Hartland Grange celebrated their Second Anniversary. They gladly welcomed friends and gave them a delighted time.”  – Pittsfield Advertiser – May 9, 1907

P. of H. Grange No. 452 – 2nd Anniversary “Party in the Rose Garden” Program – 1907

 

The new Grange Hall is seen in the background to the right in this photo taken on Commercial Street

 

Arline (Willey) Hodgkins-Ham – Degree of Flora – 1947 (Photo courtesy of Rochelle Ham Oelrich)

 

The local chapter of Lions Club International also held most of their meetings at the Grange Hall. They were first chartered on March 25, 1940 with 28 Charter Members with Dr. Paul R. Briggs serving as their first President, Halver Whitney as Secretary and Carl Randlett as Treasurer.

Their Annual Wild Game Supper was held for several years at the Grange Hall in the early 1940s and attracted upwards of 300 visitors from all over the state. After the men completed the hunt for the needed amounts of deer, bear, raccoon and birds, they and their guests gathered to savor the dozens of wild game dishes and homemade desserts prepared by women from Hartland led by Mrs. Fidella Gowen, wife of Perley Gowen. On occasion, special guest chefs assisted in the meal preparation including former Hartland resident, Chef George Mercier of The Lancey House in Pittsfield.

Their 1944 event, held in mid-November that year, was featured in this pictorial article from a 1945 preview edition of ‘Holiday Magazine’ shared with us by Hartland Historical Society members Beverly (Neal) Martin and her son, Jerry Martin. 

Holiday Magazine – Annual Game Supper Article – November 1944

 

A ceremony was held to celebrate the “Burning of the Mortgage” some 30 years after the Grange Hall was built.

Invitation to the Burning of the Mortgage – July 8, 1944  (Marguerite Hart Collection)

 

 

 

 

P. of H. Grange No. 452 Members (Photo courtesy of Rochelle Ham Oelrich)

 

P. of H. Grange No. 452 Members (Photo courtesy of Rochelle Ham Oelrich)

 

We are still working on correctly identifying the folks in the photo below.

(L-R) 1. Beulah Rowe(?) 2. Edna Nadeau 3. Priscilla Estes 4. Diane Trembly(?) 5. Grace Duncan 6. Arline (Willey) Ham 7. Elsie (Seekins) McCrillis 8. Wilfred Nadeau 9. _____  _____ 10. Leonard Trembly(?) 11. Ardis (McPherson) Coston 12. Clair Woodman 13. Francis L. Coston 14. (Man Sitting in Front) _____  _____.

By the mid 1960s, interest in Grange activities and membership had fallen sharply across the country including Maine and the Hartland chapter disbanded. The building was abandoned for several years and although it was used for several community events, it soon began deteriorating beyond reasonable repair. In the early 1970s, the building was razed and the lot cleared for a new public tennis & basketball court.