The Farmington Grange is celebrating its 150th anniversary with an open house on April 20. Rebecca Richard/Franklin Journal

FARMINGTON — In commemoration of its 150-year anniversary, the Farmington Grange is set to host an open house event at 6 p.m. April 20.

Located at 124 Bridge St., West Farmington, the Grange will celebrate its history with an evening of entertainment.

Bonnie Clark, a representative of the Farmington Grange said the grange has a rich history deeply intertwined with the community. “It’s a history of all the granges really.”

According to the Maine Grange website, the Farmington Grange was established in 1874, making it one of Maine’s earliest Granges. The Grange movement in Maine began six months after the establishment of the first Subordinate Grange, marked by the founding of the Maine State Grange in April 1874. Over the years, the Grange network expanded, and Farmington No. 12 [N. Farmington] in West Farmington emerged as one of six granges established in April 1874 that continues to operate to this day.

Clark shared insight into the organization’s historical significance, tracing its origins to a cooperative venture aimed at supporting and educating farmers. “The grange included both men and women in the membership,” Clark said.” They were important to the women’s suffrage movement. It was kind of a co-op for farmers, to help farmers, and to educate farmers. Although it was not just for the farmers, but to help improve life for all rural residents.

“A lot of it was to help them buy and negotiate cooperatively. They used to have insurance. They used to have farm stores. The granges were the social hub of a lot of towns and cities until the last century.”.


Clark said the organization supported prohibition and Rural Free Delivery [mail] legislatively, while also advocating for local education systems and increased investment in the University of Maine. During the Progressive era, the Grange supported changes like letting people vote directly in primaries, having recall elections, using initiatives and referendums, giving women the right to vote, and stopping big companies from having too much control.

Reflecting on the entertainment planned for the event, Clark said, “For years, the Moose Creek Cloggers have danced in our hall. They’ll be showcasing their talent at our open house.”

The Moose Creek Cloggers will perform at the open house to celebrate the Farmington Grange’s 150th anniversary. Submitted photo

Clogging is a form of dance where the dancer’s shoes create rhythmic beats by striking the floor or each other with the heel, toe, or both. “They are always looking for people who are interested in dancing with them. It’s a small group right now but they are looking to welcome new members if they would like to dance with them,” Clark added.

Attendees can also look forward to a pie social following the entertainment. “Pie, ice cream, coffee for people who attend the open house,” Clark said.

“The purpose of the Grange has changed over the years,” Clark said. “The goal is to try keep going by evolving with the times, without changing too much too fast.”

Clark underscored the organization’s ongoing commitment to serving the community’s diverse needs. “Now the Grange is used mostly for community service,” she said. “We help people who do fundraising, or if someone has lost their home to a fire.”


Clark said the grange has a commercial kitchen downstairs available for rent. The main hall has a stage with a hardwood floor, which she said is great for dancing.

“We rent it to a lot of different groups: yoga, parties, family reunions, homeschoolers, and concerts,” Clark said. “There used to be Contra dances every month before Covid. Back 50 years ago, there would be a lot of shows, hundreds of people would come to the grange hall for social events.”

She said another community event the Grange does is the dictionary project. The members give free dictionaries to every third grader in Farmington each year.

Clark concluded that the Farmington Grange’s 150th anniversary demonstrates its lasting impact on the Grange movement in Maine.

For more information about the event, contact Bonnie Clark of the Farmington Grange at 207-778-1416.

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