What’s a Grange and Why Aren’t there more in Iowa and Illinois?
You've heard people say they grew up in a town with only one traffic light. Well, I can beat that. I grew up in a place where my whole county only had one traffic light. Milledgeville, Il, in Carroll County, had 1,100 people (or 1,200 depending on which way you came into town).
It was always a farming town and The Grange was a hub of the community. We'd go there for Boy Scout meetings or sometimes they'd have fundraising dinners. Bake sales and other events.
We went there all the time, but I never knew what a Grange was for until now.
What is The Grange?
According to NationalGrange.org, The National Grange is a "nonpartisan, nonprofit fraternal organization, is the oldest agricultural and rural community service organization.
Their main objective was to solidify the rural community. In its nearly 150 years the Grange has been a leader in the fight to bring "prosperity and opportunity to farmers and rural Americans."
Plus, if you live in the country and get mail delivered daily, you can thank The National Grange.
Currently, there are about 140,000 members across the United States.
Where Did The Granges Go?
The Grange started after the Civil War when agriculture was devastated and the need to come together was at a high point. Farmers needed to pull together to fight for policies. The decline in the number of farmers contributes to the low number of Granges these days.
My old Grange building is used by The Milledgeville Men's Club and hosts random high school graduation parties from time to time. I'm happy it's still a gathering point for the community.
Where Are All The Granges?
The closest Grange to the Quad Cities is the Bloomington Grange #2057 in Moscow, Ia. Within 100 miles of the QCA there are only a handful of Granges
- Troy Grove Grange #1852 in Troy, Il
- Leaf River Grange #1812 in Leaf River, Il
- Pleasant Point Grange #2222 in Manchester, Ia
- Hopewell Grange #1747 in Washington, Il
- Union Grange #811 in Rockford, Il
- Perryville Grange #1805 in Belvidere, Il