The Wethersfield Grange Patrons of Husbandry was a local branch of the National and State movement that was established after the Civil War. On December 4, 1867 the National Grange of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry was founded in Washington D.C. The Grange is a political and social association for the advancement of agriculture. The National Grange advocated against railroad monopolies, for rural mail delivery and fair agricultural prices.
The local Grange was founded by C. Eugene Adams and William Warner in Mr. Adams; barn on the Broad Street Green with a conversation about the difficulty of being a local farmer. With the help of J.H. Hale of Glastonbury, a member of the State Grange, the Wethersfield Grange was organized on March 6, 1890 at the Old Academy. The Old Academy was the meeting location for eight years until James H. Rabbitt built the Grange Hall for $3,824 in 1898. Grange Hall still stands today and is marked by dark lettering on the front door.
The local Grange took on many activities: dances, plays, fairs, lectures, etc. One of the lectures in late 1890 was entitled “How Can We Benefit Our Schools?” where a vote was taken to urge town officials to build a new high school that would enhance the students’ education. As a result the Governor Thomas Welles School (now the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center) was built in 1894 and the high school students moved out of the Old Academy and into the spacious Governor Welles School at 200 Main Street.
The Grange bonded together over social and political issues and created a lively atmosphere for a sleepy Wethersfield. While the local Grange Hall has closed their doors to this fraternal farming organization, the historic building opened in 2003 as home to Ascot Catering, a catering business filling the neighborhood with delicious aromas. Other town Granges still persist along with the State and National Granges. If you would like to find out more about the Connecticut State Grange: http://ctstategrange.com or the National Grange: http://www.nationalgrange.org/.