The Canton Grange - No. 110
The Canton Grange No. 110 formed on February 20, 1875, with 34 members. It was a member of the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, founded in Washington, DC, in 1867, and was one of many Granges formed in rural, suburban, and urban communities at that time. An agricultural fraternity, the organization “advanced methods of agriculture and promoted the social and economic needs of farmers in the United States.” The Grange held faith, hope, charity, and fidelity as its values. It allowed full membership beginning at age 14, and women were equal members of the Grange from its inception.
In 1897, the members of the Canton Grange bought the 23 Turner Street property—formerly known as the Tenement House Lot—from Charles F. Oldham, and built their own hall at a cost of $3,000. According to the Canton and Dixfield Registry dated 1905, the Canton Grange membership grew to 220 members and was “one of the most successful and prosperous in the county.”
The Canton Grange disbanded around 1960, although the National Grange organization still exists today. Whitney Lodge No. 167 purchased the Canton Grange building in 1968. Whitney Lodge was formed on March 9, 1872, as part of the Grand Lodge of Maine, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. Freemasons or Masons are fraternal organizations that trace their origins to the stonemasons of the 14th century. Masons are “an organized society of men symbolically applying the principles of operative Masonry and architecture to the science and art of character building." The Grange dispersed the monies from the sale of their building to other organizations in Canton. During their tenure in the building, the Masons made repairs to the building including elevating the structure, installing new sills, and remodeling the kitchen.
Over the summer, C.N. Brown, an energy provider and owner of the Big Apple stores, purchased the building from the Masons and gifted it to the Canton Historical Society— and efforts to move the building began!
If you are interested in joining the Canton Historical Society, membership is free between now and the end of the year. Simply send your name and e-mail (or postal) address to CHS, PO Box 605, Canton, ME 04221.
“What Was Ain’t What Is: A Picture History of Canton, Maine,” by Norman A. Vashaw; Whitney Lodge #167, A.F. & A. M. Canton, Maine Facebook page; Maine Registry of Deeds; https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/populism-and-agrarian-discontent/resources/grange-movement-1875; http://www.mastermason.com/wilmettepark/intro.html; https://archive.org/stream/cantondixfieldre00mitch/cantondixfieldre00mitch_djvu.txt; https://www.nationalgrange.org/about-us/.
Story by Liz Rothrock