Historic Huron Grange Hall Listed on Landmark Society’s Five to Revive

    By on November 18, 2015

    On October 26, 2015, The Landmark Society of Western New York shared the organization’s 2015 Five to Revive list with the public. Initiated three years ago, the goal of the Five to Revive program is to bring attention to particular historic sites, aiming to foster a renewed interest and to encourage prospective investment and rehabilitation strategies for the structures. The potential for finding new uses for historic buildings is also built into the framework of the Five to Revive program. This year’s listing introduced a new thematic component – that of fraternal organization meeting halls – which included Wayne County’s historic Huron Grange Hall.

    Owned by the Town of Huron in Wayne County, the Huron Grange Hall is located on North Huron Road. The Town of Huron purchased the hall from the New York State Grange in 1991 for $1.00. Carol Flint, Huron Historian at the time, initiated this purchase. Flint also made tremendous efforts to raise funds to rehabilitate the building. Exterior painting, a new roof, and clearing of vegetative overgrowth spruced up the building and site. Now, nearly 25 years later, time has again taken its toll on the building. The Grange Hall is in need of interior repairs, as well as exterior work, and refurbishing of interior furnishings. Currently, the only use of the Grange is by the Huron Presbyterian Church as a venue for the church’s annual rummage sale.

    Oliver Hudson Kelley, employed in the 1860s by the United States Department of Agriculture, made a trip through the farms of the South where he found a lack of good agricultural practices. In 1867, Kelly was instrumental forming the fraternal organization of the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry. The Grange was devoted to educational events and social gatherings for local farm families. The Huron Grange was chartered in 1874. The Grange Hall was built in 1884. In 1904, the Huron Juvenile Grange (Junior Grange) was established – the first in New York State. 1945-46 saw peak membership of 256 Huron Grange members. By 1990, membership in the Huron Grange had dropped to 51 members.

    Other buildings included in the 2015 Five to Revive listing are: the former Wollensack Optical Company on Hudson Avenue in Rochester, the Lockwood-Alhart Cobblestone House and Retail Plaza on Culver Road in Rochester, the Cattaragus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, and the Main Street/North Clinton Avenue Retail District in Rochester. In addition to the Huron Grange, other Fraternal Meeting Halls include the Former I.O.O.F. (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) Hall and Commercial Block (1890) in Stafford, Genesee County, and the Carter Memorial G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Hall (1906) in the Village of Nunda, Livingston County. The Landmark Society of Western New York is one of the oldest and most active preservation organizations in America, serving nine Western New York counties. Formed in 1937, the Landmark Society continues to protect the unique architectural heritage of our region and promote preservation and planning principles that foster healthy and sustainable communities. The Landmark Society is supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

    For more information or discussion about the Landmark Society’s Five to Revive listing of the Huron Grange Hall, or thoughts on revitalizing and reusing this tremendous asset of Huron History, please contact the Town of Huron Historian, Rosa Fox by email at rfox@townofhuron.org. Please visit the website of the Landmark Society of Western New York State at landmarksociety.org. Also visit the Historic Huron, NY Facebook page for additional links to articles on the Five to Revive program. Remember – it takes the people of the community to revitalize and preserve the historic sites and stories of the community.

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