The historic Victor Grange in Fairfield has been insulated and can now hold events in the winter months. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

FAIRFIELD — A historic building on Oakland Road is poised to become a more attractive location for community events following a 10-year effort to insulate the building.

In the past, the Victor Grange couldn’t keep out the cold in the winter months, but the extra padding means it now can hold events year-round, according to Barbara Bailey, grange lecturer, a traditional title that means program director.

And that layer of insulation has opened up a world of possibilities for the grange.

Bailey said the plan is to continue with regular events such as a monthly grange meeting and coffee hours and potlucks, but add in other events and rent the space to groups in the area. There are already Alcoholics Anonymous meetings now being held there and gatherings for a brain injury and stroke support group.

Looking ahead, Bailey said grange organizers are considering hosting a holiday event next month, but that is still up in the air. Next year they are hoping to resume some of the exercise and art classes the grange hosted before the pandemic.

They’re being careful about scheduling by holding multiple meetings on the same day so that they can contain heating costs and not heat the hall just for one group, Bailey said.

There’s also talk of turning the building into an emergency shelter for people who lose power and heat during a storm.

The grange is primed to be rented out by community groups, but Bailey said not everyone knows it’s an option.

Windows at the historic Victor Grange in Fairfield reflect a nearby building on Monday. The grange has been insulated and now can host events through the winter months. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“I think we just have a golden opportunity to use it and spread our wings, we’ve just got to get people to realize it’s there,” she said.

Insulation is just the latest milestone for the building. Earlier this year, a paved parking lot was added next to the building, which is at 144 Oakland Road.

The building itself is more than 100 years old and has required numerous renovations over the years, including replacing the foundation and windows, rebuilding the front entrance and replacing two furnaces.

 

“We’ve done a lot, and it’s a heck of a good building, and we really want to just continue to do stuff,” Bailey said. “I think this is all showing that we’re giving back to the community. We don’t want it to sit there empty.”

The grange was originally formed as a society for farmers in the area to discuss events and to educate and help each other. Now it serves multiple purposes, including providing a social space for seniors and offering exercise classes and space to work on crafts. The pandemic interrupted their activities for a while, but people were eager to return, Bailey said.

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