by Lisa Tome
Instead of presenting the annual Grange family of the year award for 2017, members of the Calvert Grange opted to throw a big birthday party instead.
The event featured a covered dish dinner, a history presentation of both the local and national Grange, and a display of Grange memorabilia. The event was well attended by many and some were fourth generation Grange members. It is the 64th year for the local Grange and the 150th birthday for the National organization.
The Calvert Grange #424 was chartered in the early 1950s. The 32 Charter members include many local well known agriculture families - Walton and Mildred Mason, Leon Love, and several members of the Gifford, England, and Creswell families and others. Surviving charter members include Grove and Arline Miller.
Cynthia Rossetti researched the National Grange, pulling out portions of the history that she found interesting and sharing those. The National Grange was established shortly after the Civil War in 1867, and really got off the ground a year later. The original focus of the Grange was to help families recover after the war and to help farmers from the north and south share technology. Between 1873 and 1875, Grange membership tripled. Farming was the largest industry in the late 1880s.
Locally, the first Grange in Maryland was in Colora. There was another Calvert Grange prior to the current one which started in 1873. The local Grange has been involved with scouts, 4-H, the Cecil County Fair, and helped institute RFD (Rural Free Delivery) of the mail. Grange members also worked to get a traffic signal in Calvert.
The land for the current Grange, which was built by the community, was donated to the Grange by Grove Miller's mother.
The building construction began in 1962. The Grange used to host Friday night dinners where as many as 500 pieces of homemade pie were served. Grange members made all those pies. Grange members Charles and Betty Moore won a $5,000 national prize for community service in the 1960s.