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Around The Grange
Home on the Grange in Monroe: Harmony Grange

By Lorie McCollum, Monroe Courier (2/25/11)

  MARCH 1, 2011 --

“Don’t be a stranger, be a Granger” is the motto of the Harmony Grange in Monroe.

“When you join Harmony Grange, you are joining a group of people who really want to get to know you, and this is why to me ‘Don’t be a stranger, be a Granger’ defines what the Grange is,” said George Ward, Grange Master.

Ward said Monroe residents and non-residents may join the organization, officially known as Harmony Grange No. 92, Patrons of Husbandry.

“Children can become members of the Junior Grange when they are 5 years old,” Ward said. “There is the Youth Grange for those ages 14 to 35, and then there is just the grange for those who are older. We offer programs for the entire family, and dues are only $25 per year.”

The grange building is a familiar sight to many people in town, although many may not know much about the organization that is based there. The large white building is at the intersection of Route 110 and Route 111, off Hurd Avenue.

Ward, a retired Shelton resident, was a member of the Far Mill Grange No. 130 in Huntington before joining the Monroe grange.

“Far Mill Grange’s membership was declining and we heard that membership in the Monroe grange was also declining,” he said. “Members of the Far Mill Grange decided to join Monroe Harmony in 2004 so we could continue to do social work in the community. I became master of the Monroe grange at this time.”

The grange promotes local agriculture and sponsors activities to benefit the community. Its building also is used for meetings of the Trumbull grange and is rented to a local church group for events.

The next meeting of Monroe Harmony Grange No. 92, at 2 Shelton Road, is Thursday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public.


Like a family

Besides its monthly meetings, the Monroe grange hosts an annual tag sale in May, an agricultural fair in August, community service awards in the fall, and a holiday event in December, according to Gail Mas, Harmony Grange steward.

“Our agricultural fair in August is one event we hold that attracts a lot of farmers and gardeners, not only from Connecticut but from other states as well,” Mas said.

Mas said she spent a lot of her youth at the Monroe grange. “I attended many grange events with my family,” she said. “I became a grange member 12 years ago because I wanted to keep busy while doing something worthwhile. We grange members treat each other like family.”

The grange hall was built in 1933, as noted in a cornerstone on the building. Many of its early members were active farmers and their families, Ward said, and the focus of the grange was to highlight the importance of agriculture, support the farming community, and build camaraderie among farmers.

There were a lot more grange organizations and members in this region at that time, Ward said. In fact, granges were common in rural communities and important meeting places for the community.

“Presently we have 28 people, and we encourage more people to join the grange,” he said. “We are always open to suggestions, and ways we can better serve the community.”

To learn more about Monroe Harmony Grange, call 203-929-3171.



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