WOODSTOCK – Bethel Historical Society Director Stan Howe discussed grange history at a meeting of the Woodstock Historical Society recently.

He noted farming was tough work and people often felt isolated before the grange came into being and provided many services to farmers.

Grange buildings often had cooperative stores on the first floor, meeting rooms on the second and kitchens were on the hot third floors. The grange was originally organized partly to bring the North and South together after the Civil War.

Howe showed slides of the National, New England and State Granges as well as many local granges. He noted many state grange masters also had careers in politics. Granges often provided insurance, organized libraries and included Junior Granges.

During the business meeting President Olive Risko gave a research report. Curator Larry Billings showed a letter from President George Bush and said one of the president’s favorite speech topics is “civility.”

Vicki Billings provided refreshments. Evelyn Bean and Gil Whitman attended. Arnnella Burnham asked people to bring old treasures for a “Show and Tell” program on Saturday, April 8.

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