The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., April 14, 1939, page 1


     Grange history of Hood River county, which goes back many years, into the past century, will be revealed at the big county-wide Grange birthday celebration, to be held at Odell Grange hall, Thursday, April 20, beginning at 8 p.m. The occasion will be the silver anniversary, or 25th birthday, of Odell Grange.
     Inasmuch as two other Granges in Hood River county are exactly the same age, all other Granges of Hood River county have been invited to be guests of the Odell Grange and to participate in the coming festivities.
     A group of speakers will relate the history of the present four Granges, Odell, Rockford, Pine Grove and Parkdale, and also the little-known and almost forgotten history of a group of Granges which blossomed and prospered in the county half a century ago.
     Old-time songs appropriate to the occasion will be interspersed in the program by the Odell Male quartette, comprising Forrest Moe, Algie Weinheimer, Spencer Smith and Horace Gilkerson, with Sheridan Delepine, violinists, and Miss Alice Owen at the piano. Several other features are on the program.
     The meeting will be open to all Grangers and their friends. All former and old-time Grangers are especially urged to be present.

The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., April 28, 1939, page 1

Influence Of patrons Of Husbandry Goes Back To The Early Days Of Hood River Valley

     A panoramic view of the historical highlights of the Grange, as it has functioned in Hood River valley in the past two generations, was unfolded before a large audience of Grangers and ex-Grangers in the Odell Grange hall on the evening of April 20. Members of all Granges of Hood River county and a group of Mosier Grangers were present.
     The location was the joint observance of the 25th birthday anniversary of three of the four subordinate Granges which are active in Hood River county at the present time. These three Granges are Parkdale, No. 500; Rockford, No. 501, and Odell, No. 508. These are three of the 16 Granges that were organized in Oregon in the late winter and spring of 1914; thus making each of them 25 years old in recent months.
      Pine Grove Grange, No. 356, was organized in December, 1905, and thus being 33 years old, joined in the observance of this silver anniversary of the birth of its three younger sister Granges of the valley.
     Hood River Pomona Grange, the county unit of the Grange fraternity, being in the twenty-fifth year of its work, was included in the celebration.
     The program was arranged and directed by G.A. Weber, lecturer of Odell Grange, which sponsored the celebration.
     Extensive historical research was necessary to resurrected the facts relative to the formation and function of a group of subordinate Granges that existed in Hood River valley a half century ago. At that time the valley was a part of Wasco county. Days of delving into the records of the Oregon State Grange, at its headquarters in Portland , and the interviewing of nearly one hundred pioneer Grangers of the valley, was necessary to unfold the historical facts that were presented at this meeting. By thus bringing to light the little-known and almost forgotten facts of all the Granges that ever existed in what is now known as Hood River valley, G.A. Weber managed to arrange and present a program such as has never been seen or heard in the county.
     The records reveal that a total of 11 subordinate Granges have been organized in this valley. Including the Pomona Grange, which is a county unit, the number of Granges, the number of Granges organized in the county totals 12. Of these, seven of the subordinate Granges have long since joined the dust of the pioneers who comprised their membership. Out of the membership of the first Grange organized in the valley a half century ago, there is living, as has thus far been determined, only one resident of the county, vis., Charles Ehrck, who is in his 87th year. The only other known survivor of that pioneer Grange is Mrs. Edward Rand, who, as Miss Luella Turner, of a pioneer family, was the first secretary of that first Grange. She is spending her sunset days with her grandchildren in Multnomah county.
      The coming of A.I. Mason to Hood River valley in the early years of this century gave impetus to the organization of a group of six Granges in the valley in the period from December, 1905, to February, 1907. The first of these was Pine Grove Grange, No. 356. It was he who circulated a petition among his neighbors that led to the formation of that Grange in December, 1905. During the first two years of his existence, A.I. Mason served as master of this Grange, and meetings were held in homes, school-house and a fruit warehouse, until its commodious two-story hall was built at Van Horn hall was built at Van Horn station of the Mount Hood Railroad, built about the same time. Pine Grove Grange has led an active career during the 33 years since its organization, and bids fair to maintain indefinitely its position as the eldest survivor of the 11 Granges that functioned in the valley from time to time.
     A.I. Mason's active leadership in the launching of Pine Grove Grange in the section of the valley that has always been known as the East Side, was likewise responsible for the organization of Franklin Grange, No. 367, in what is generally referred to as the West Side of the valley. This Grange also erected a large, substantial Grange hall in Methodist lane, a half mile north of the present Barrett school-house. The front half of the hall still stands on its heavy stone foundation, and forms a commodious residence. The rear half, moved back a hundred feet, now forms a roomy barn.
     As master of Pine Grove Granges, Mason attended the annual state Grange meeting in May, 1906, and his dynamic personality was responsible for bringing Hood River valley the annual session of the Oregon State Grange in May, 1907, the only time that this feat has ever been accomplished in the 68 years the Grange activity in Oregon. Flushed with this accomplishment, he decided that it would make a better impression on the State Grange if subordinate Granges in other strategic points in the valley where in operation.
     Accordingly, one of the best organizing Grange deputies was invited to the valley, and his efforts came into fruition in February, 1907, when four more Granges were organized within a period of eight days. These Granges were located at Oak Grove, East Barrett, Odell and Mount Hood, with an average charter list of nearly 60 members each. The six strong Granges dotted the Hood River valley map when the State Grange met at Hood River in 1907.
     Various causes reduced the numbers to one Grange, vis., Pine Grove, within a period of four years.
     In the autumn and winter of 1913 and 1914, another Grange deputy laid the groundwork for the formation of the present Granges at Parkdale, Barrett and Odell, and these three Granges have been functioning continuously during the 25 years intervening. All three of these are housed in substantial, commodious halls which, during the quarter of a century, have been the center of much of the community life of their respective neighborhoods. In 1916, a Grange was organized at Dee, but the entrance of the United States into the World war, engulfed the young leaders of that Grange, and it ceased to function in its second year.
     At the joint silver anniversary celebration at Odell last Thursday, many interesting facts and incidents were related to the large audience by a group of speakers, among whom were John Mohr, J.M. Taylor, Fred Miller, John Lassen, Harry Routson, O.L. Walter, Mont Hawthorne, M.D. Odell and John R. Edgar.
     The Odell male quartet, comprised of Algie Weinheimer, Spencer Smith, Horace Gilkerson and Forrest Moe, sang two groups of old-time songs, to the delight of the audience. A pleasing feature of the program was the playing of two violin solos by Sheridan Delepine, with Miss Alice Owen, principal of the Odell grade school, at the piano.
     Mosier Grange was represented at the meeting by almost a score of its members and the chaplain of that Grange, T. Morgensen, addressed the audience briefly and read an original poem, entitled: "The Passing of the Pioneers."
     The closing feature was the lighting of the candles on the five, decorated Grange birthday cakes, representing the present four subordinate Granges and Pomona, and the grouping of the large audience for a photographic preservation of the event, while the illuminated cakes were shining forth. Ladies of the Odell Grange Home Economics committee served a score of cakes and many gallons of coffee during the social hour which followed the anniversary meeting.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer