The Grange

 

The Loudon Grange started life as a Methodist meeting house in Loudon Village down on the Soucook River. For a while in the mid 19th century it served as the home of the Loudon Academy. For a while it was in private hands and
then in 1899 it was taken over by the Patrons of Husbandry, or the Grange, a group that had been founded in 1867 to advance methods of agriculture, as well as to promote the social and economic needs of farmers in the United States of
America. The Grange served dinners and put on entertainments and functioned splendidly as a community center that didn’t involve religion. But like most good things the Grange ran afoul of the monopolistic policies of big business, especially the railroads who had control of moving farmers’ crops to market. Eventually the
Grange was turned over to the American Legion who continued to have dances and other events like school graduations and boy scout ceremonies, but most especially (and belovedly) weekly bingo nights. Finally the building, which was hard to heat and bigger than needed for its users, was given to the town.

Steve Fifield heard that the town was planning to demolish the building and asked the Cabots if they would help save it. So instead of demolition the building was disassembled and stored in a rented trailer for several years until 2021 when it was re-erected on a new foundation which now holds a well- equipped natural dye studio. The plan is to finish the clock tower and belfry with a cupola and a weathervane during 2024. Plastering of the interior will happen gradually
over several years, which will give visitors to the building the change to see how our forefathers were able to build large structures with impressive spans and heights before the invention of the internal combustion engine and the development of modern hydraulics.