Tualatin’s Winona Grange by the lake welcomes the community to its 125th birthday open house Saturday, April 30. The program begins at 10 a.m. with brief glimpses into the Grange’s long and colorful history. The celebration features free garden seeds and generous scoops of free ice cream and toppings. Former members and descendants of members are particularly invited to attend.
Mayor Frank Bubenik will share a proclamation followed by highlights of local Grange history. State Grange President Susan Noah will also be present to recognize the milestone. All will then enjoy free ice cream sundaes served by Tualatin High School teens who are active with Stand Up, Tualatin Together’s youth resiliency advocates. Free vegetable, flower and herb seed packets will be available for the taking, thanks to donations from Bi-Mart and Wilco.
Advice on planting will also be available. Winona Grange is known for its seed distribution project. This year the Grange distributed more than 22.000 packets to community gardens and food banks throughout the Northwest. In addition, the Grange supports the Tualatin School House Pantry with fresh produce and non-perishables, awards scholarships, and provides clothing and supplies to the Portland Community Transition School.
Tualatin’s Grange, founded in 1895, is the oldest social service organization in the city. Initially, meetings were held in the school and upstairs over a store. The present building was erected by volunteers in 1940. Nationally the Grange was organized in 1867. Originally formed to bring isolated farm families together, Grange members became forces in bringing electricity, mail delivery, and now broadband to rural areas. The organization is recognized for its effective lobbying against the high rates railroads charged to transport grain and other crops to market.
Throughout Oregon, local Granges like Tualatin’s served as community centers where family members of all ages could gather for community education and social activities like ice cream socials, a practice that continues today. The Grange hall presently rents space for dances, concerts, church services, business meetings and hobby groups such as the Portland Puzzle Exchange, the Portland Lace Society and the Valley View Riders. An informal group of ukulele players “jam” weekly. Members conduct Grange business the second Saturday of each month at 11 a.m., and all are welcome to attend.
Tualatin’s Winona Grange was named for the eldest daughter of J. R. C. Thompson, who died at a young age. The address is 8340 SW Seneca Street. See winonagrange271.org for membership information, a calendar of events and rental details.
Covid forced the postponement of the 125th-anniversary event originally scheduled in 2020.