NORWAY — Norway Grange No. 45 will celebrate its 135th birthday Oct. 18 by showcasing its restored children’s stained glass window and the newly painted exterior.

“We’ve got music, refreshments. There’ll be a whole program,” said Grange secretary Ethel Lacourse. The public program will begin at 2 p.m., but Lacourse said she hopes to open the building on Whitman Street earlier so people can take their time looking at it. “I really want them to look at the hall,” she said.

Construction on the building began 100 years ago this summer. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the oldest of the few remaining Grange Halls in Oxford County. The stained glass window that is encased on the stairway landing leading up to the second-floor was restored last summer.

The hall was built for about $10,000 on a piece of land purchased for $550. Gilbert A. Russell of Portland was awarded the construction contract in June 1909 and it was paid for by fundraisers, including a moonlight dance.

The hall was dedicated Dec. 9, 1909, according to history compiled by Lacourse. 

Longtime plans to paint the exterior of the two-story Colonial Revival with its distinct hipped roof began this week, Lacourse said. There will be green-stained shingles on top and white on the first foot clapboards, she said, just like the original colors. The trim will be repainted green. Windows will be reputtied and other work completed, such as repainting the sign above the pillared porch.

“It’s big when you get started,” said Norway resident Chester Tracy of the Phil Smith painting company in Oxford as he scraped the back side of the building. It measures 34 by 80 feet. Tracy said the roof will be repainted silver and damaged shakes are being replaced on the top floor exterior.

Lacourse said the project was originally estimated at $22,000 to $23,000 with roof work included but when a third bid was added to the mix, Grange members were able to reduce the price to $17,000.

Although the Grange has raised about $7,250, and it got a $10,000 loan from the State Grange, it still needs about another $10,000 to pay off the job.

The only current source of funds for the Grange is from renting the second-floor space to Oxford Hills Music & Performing Arts Association. The performing arts group also pays for heat, electricity and water.

Another organization is expected to lease space in October for several months.

Anyone who would like to make a tax deductible donation can make the check payable to the Norway Grange 45 and send it to 16 Radcliffe St., Norway, ME 04268-5906.

[email protected]

Chester Tracy prepares the Norway Grange hall on Whitman Street for repainting this week. The building is 100 years old.

Chester Tracy prepares the Norway Grange hall on Whitman Street for painting this week. The building is 100 years old.

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