Meeting are held against this beautiful backdrop, hand painted. Whimsical props add some fun. Tammi Chandler photo

NORTH JAY — The large, white, stately building at the corner of Route 4 and Route 17 in North Jay is a familiar sight to anyone traveling north or south on Route 4. It is the home of North Jay Grange #10 and was also the home of the last Grange Store in the country, before it closed in 1974.  After the store closed, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Anyone who visited the Grange Store when it was open has some fond memories.

While grange membership and grange halls are slowly dwindling the North Jay Grange is still holding on, much due to the efforts of Marilyn Morse, lecturer, as she and other volunteers arrange Indoor/outdoor (weather permitting) sales that keep the grange hall open.

Morse remembers the grange store with fondness. As a child, she remembers her parents buying everything from school shoes to meat, vegetables, ice cream and all important (to a child) penny candy. Her parents, the late Stanley and Barbara Morse of their Morse Hill Road Farm, traded eggs for groceries.

Like many good things, the rise and proliferation of chain grocery stores spelled the end for the North Jay Grange # 10 store. However, This and a few other Granges around the state have kept their doors open using ingenuity and plain hard work.

“I remember coming here with Grammie (Stella Grant) and there was a bit of everything here. She would go out back to buy grain for her goats, pigs, and chickens,” said Tammi Chandler of Livermore. “My mother used to tell me about Grammie using the flowered and printed grain sacks to make curtains and bedspreads for her.”

According to Grange State Historian Stan Howe, the origins of the Grange in Maine extend back to the Farmer’s Clubs, which were organized in the 1850s. Each club debated agricultural and household issues while both men and women had their separate gatherings. The clubs began to decline after the Civil War and were soon merged into another movement that would attract many of Maine’s rural population.


The Grange (officially known as the Patrons of Husbandry) was organized in Washington, D.C. in 1867. It grew slowly during its early years but arrived in Maine by 1873. The following year, the Maine State Grange was organized in Lewiston. By the end of 1874, there were sixty-four Granges and approximately 2000 members. From the beginning, there was great interest in cooperative activities including offering insurance, advocating railroad and banking regulation, and promoting group purchasing. In 1876, the Order had grown to over 228 Granges with about 12,000 members.

North Jay Grange No. 10, founded in 1874 was the tenth Grange in Maine. The first grange building was built in 1889 but destroyed by fire in 1895 and rebuilt the same year. Later, the first floor was remodeled to accommodate a grange store. Originally located at another location, the Grange organization had operated a store since 1882, but ceased operation in 1974. On October 23, 1974, the North Jay Grange building  was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.     Grange Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 1 p.m.  Indoor/outdoor sales are held in the old grange store the first and third Saturday from April to November, (weather permitting).

Last year, in May of 2022, North Jay Grange #10 became part of the Maine High Peaks Barn Quilt trail with the installation of a wooden quilt square from High Peaks Maine member Ian Reinhold. (The Maine Barn Quilt Trail is a growing network of over 40 barn quilts located in Franklin and Somerset County.  Find out more about the trail at

Going upstairs in the hall is like a trip back in time, the meeting room is set up with all the workings for a meeting. A huge Bible sits on a lectern, in the middle of the room, and is well lit by two walls of large old-fashioned windows, allowing for plenty of natural light. As one steps in through the doors, the eye is drawn to a painted drape.

Farming in Maine is attracting younger people and families, who want to see where their food comes from, potatoes, corn, carrots, all the way to meat, eggs and other staples. Perhaps those younger farmers will begin to see the value in an organization that was tailor-made for them. Just in case anyone wants to check out the grange was of life, here is the meeting schedule for 2023:

North Jay Grange #10, 2023 Schedule: Meetings are at 1 p.m.


June 13, Tues., Elections (Gardening)

July 11, Tues., Celebrate 149 yrs. North Jay Grange #10 – New members.

Aug. 8, Tues., Meeting – Preserving veggies -Making jellies.

Sept. 12, Tues., Meeting – Bring fall and winter ideas.

Oct. 10, Tues., Fall Harvesting.

Nov. 14, Tues., Thanksgiving Program.

Dec. 12, Tues., Holiday Program and Happy New Year.

For more information about North Jay Grange #10, or to volunteer, or maybe become a member, call 207-208-9225.

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