Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Rockford Community Grange will be celebrating its 100-Year anniversary with an open house. The community is invited to come tour the old Grange, find out about other community partners, join in a potluck dinner and stay for an old-time country dance.
Doors open at 3 p.m. From 3-6 p.m. community organizations, farmers and businesses will have informational tables for the public to check out. 4-H members will have some of their animals for a petting zoo.
At 6 p.m. there will be a community potluck open to anyone. Hood River Valley area Granges will be supplying delicious desserts.
At 7:30 p.m. the Folklore Society will be putting on the Second Saturday country dance, featuring The Mill Creek String Band. This is a family dance, no experience necessary, with dances taught on site.
Rockford revitalized in 2006 with many new faces coming forward to save the building and pick up the good works of the Order.
Besides keeping the historic Grange building maintained, Rockford members’ current focus is on local food security and supporting local small farmers.
They accomplish this by sponsoring the Country Living Classes, teaching people basic skills such as growing gardens, preserving and cooking food, small livestock raising, composting and many more classes all listed with the Community Education directory.
Rockford also has a long history of supporting other community endeavors, such as contributing to 4-H, Adopt-a-Dog/The Hukari Animal Shelter, Dogs for the Deaf, FFA, Gorge Grown Food Network, History Museum, to name a few.
History of the Grange
Rockford Community Grange received its charter in 1913. Before it was called Rockford, it was called Westside and Park Grange. When Rockford was built it was the largest Grange in the State.
The early members of the Grange worked with the Bonneville Power Administration to bring electric service to the then rural area of the Hood River Valley. One of those members, Lucile Wyers has been a Grange member for well over 70 years. Rockford also donated a barn on its property to have a fire truck available to the Westside community. Later members helped to build the Westside Fire Department’s station there. With aging members and dwindling membership, Westside Fire District purchased the Rockford Grange in 2005.
Rockford has hosted many weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries, memorial services, community meetings, Barrett School reunion, graduation parties, Food co-ops, and even large family dinners over the years.
For many years Rockford was the home of the WyEast Whirlers Square Dance Club, and home of the “best NW dance floor” made with Birds-eye maple. The stalwart dancers, Gene and Bonnie Wright, Bob Tallman, Russ and Myrtle White, Larry and Laura Young and Gladys and Bill Castle worked hard keeping the building maintained, improving it by putting in new, modern bathrooms.
Today, there are several dance clubs who dance at Rockford. The Plus Dancers, Round Dancers and the Folklore Society Contra Dancing.
- Rockford Community Grange is located at 4250 Barrett Dr., at the corner of Markham Rd., and next door to the Westside Fire Department.
- For more information please call Linda Short at 541.490.9287.
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Scenes from graduation of the class of 2017 at Hood River Valley High School Enlarge