Hope Grange History

On April 11, 1888 The National Grange, Patrons of Husbandry received request from a group of citizens from Hope, Maine to form a Subordinate Grange and Hope Grange #299 was born. In the early years they rented a hall over the Hope General Store for $5 a month, met on Saturdays during the day and the ladies always put on a noon time feast at the school house next door. They did their own degree work and installations were a much looked forward to public event. On April 20,1918 they decided to discontinue the day meetings and meet every three weeks on Monday evenings.

It seems that woman's lib came to Hope Grange long before the term became popular. In 1918 they had al/ lady officers except for two men at Treasurer and Gatekeeper. Estelle Bartlett was Master. They must have given this subject a lot of thought as there is a report that their April 22, 1922 literary program topic was "Who ~as the hardest time, the woman at home or the man at the office?"

In 1928 Raymond Ludwig was Master and, on January 28th of that year, the Grange purchased its officers sashes and regalia. They also changed their meeting time again during that year, deciding on Saturday day meetings for November through April and Monday evening meetings May through October.

They burned wood for heat at the old hall and on November 15, 1930-they talked about the high prices they were paying for their wood. It seems they had just bought the winters supply and it cost them a warping $10 a cord all fitted.

In 1933 they decided to modernize and have electric lights installed in their hall. When the first light bill was presented at the May 22, 1933 meeting the grand total came to 37 cents. It is also on record at about this time that a Lecturer's program discussion centered on the question "Is the radio a luxury or a necessity?"

During World War Two the women kept Hope Grange going. They held Penny Carnivals, Beano Sessions and had a sewing circle. Their community service project was benefit work for the Red Cross. They loved to get together and swap news from the local service men.

In 1949 Past Master Raymond Ludwig owned the Hope General Store and decided to sell the property to John Salisbury. Hope Grange moved into the old Hope School House which stood where the Hope Town Office is now located. The old school house consisted of two rooms with a removable curtain between them. For Grange meetings the curtain was taken down and the stations and regalia carried up from the cellar, put in place for the meeting, and returned to the cellar after each session. All this lifting got tiresome quite fast and on February 5, 1951 Hope Grange voted to build their own Grange Hall. Ralph Wentworth, who owned what is now Hope Orchards, donated the land, the Grange borrowed $2000 to buy materials and the work began. Three Grange brothers whose work was carpentry, Elmer True, Frank Morse and Don Brownel headed up the all volunteer crew and Hope Grange Hall became a reality.

The Grangers worked with great diligence to pay back the money they had borrowed, putting on many public suppers at the fantastically high price of $1 for a \l' meal. Our late Sister Ethel Libby, who was Chaplain of Hope Grange for eighteen years, is on record as remembering that the mortgage, was burned in 1960.

Hope Grange is still actively meeting the first and third Monday of the month April through December at that good old Grange Hall at the junction of Rts. 105 and 235. During the winter months we meet once a month at a members home. We have a 6:00 supper followed by a 7:00 meeting and our motto is: "There's hope for Hope, hope on persevere ever!"

Revised by:
Sherrill Snowdeal,
Master Hope Grange #299
March 1, 2002

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