Although last to formally organize, it was the 10th largest Grange in Somerset County by 1907 with over 240 Members

 

East Somerset Pomona Patrons of Husbandry No. 452 Hartland Grange Hall – Seekins Street – c1912

 

The Hartland Chapter of the Patrons of Husbandry Grange officially chartered in 1905 as East Somerset Pomona No. 452. Their first meetings were held at the Agricultural Hall at the East Somerset Agricultural Society Fairgrounds on Outer Main Street before moving them soon after to the basement of the Opera House on Academy Street.

 

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

 

Numerous small but growing issues quickly began to arise at their Opera House venue. Their quickly expanding membership, including many folks from out of town, had no means of stabling their horses and carriages nearby with the building’s limited lot. Ceremonies could be difficult to perform with the building’s furnace being located in the center of the room and scheduling conflicts with performances being held on the stage upstairs occurred quite often.

Eventually, these and other growing concerns led them to seek out a dedicated venue of their own and in 1906 a committee was formed to select a suitable lot where a new hall could be built. The committee presented its findings at a 1907 meeting and the group voted to purchase a lot owned by Ella Chase on the recently built Seekins Street.

As noted in a 1907 Pittsfield Advertiser article, “This lot will meet the requirements of the Grange fully. The lot has a frontage of about 9 rods on the street and about 8 rods deep having an abundance of room for hall sheds and stables. While not being on a principle street, it is quite centrally located.”

 

With their new lot secured, plans for the new hall began although substantial funds still needed to be raised to begin the building process.

Pittsfield Advertiser – April 8, 1908

 

By May of 1909, further funding, building details and a contractor for its construction had been secured.

Pittsfield Advertiser – May 9, 1909

 

The new Grange Hall would finally be completed and opened by September of 1910 with announcements made in local newspaper articles.

Pittsfield Advertiser – September 6, 1910

 

Pittsfield Advertiser – October 10, 1910

 

The Hartland Grange shared their new hall, seen below to the right, with several local civic groups who held meetings and events there including the Knights of the Maccabees, Modern Woodmen of America No. 14,245, Knights of Pythias No. 141 and Sisters of Pythias No. 29.

Commercial Street – c1915  (Photo courtesy of Maggie Smith)

 

In February of 1923, the Hartland Grange suffered a terrible loss when their decade old Grange Hall was destroyed by fire. The loss was estimated at over $12,000 including all the contents of the building with only $3,000 of Grange Insurance. It marked the beginning of an epic year of disasters in Hartland followed by the Great Flood of 1923 in late April and the destruction of Hartland Academy by fire in December.

Hartland Grange Hall Fire Article – Pittsfield Advertiser – February 1923

 

A new Grange Hall was eventually built at the same location however we are still searching for information concerning its construction time frame and details. Period newspaper articles note Grange Members used the Methodist Church for some of their meetings and events as well as attending meetings at other area Granges in St Albans and Palmyra until their new hall was built.

 

While the Grange had no restrictions for membership application, it did provide its new members with expected “obligations of membership”.

1925 National Grange Initiate Book  (Photo courtesy of Donald McDougal)

 

A ceremony was held in 1944 to celebrate the “Burning of the Mortgage”.

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

 

The local chapter of Lions Club International also held many 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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

Hartland Grange Officers at their Grange Hall for a Pittsfield Advertiser article on their upcoming 42nd Anniversary Celebration in 1947.

P. of H. Hartland Grange No. 452 Officers – 1947  (Original Photo courtesy of Royce Woodman)

 

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 provided by the Hartland Lions Club.