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Guilford's Broad Brook Grange

by Patty Bullock

The Grange was the place where people had wedding receptions, potluck suppers, and square dances. Years ago, people were not as mobile as today; so the regular Grange meeting was a big family event.

During gas rationing, some of the local families, like the Houghtons, would hitch up a team of horses to take a large group of people to the Grange. A chance to see your friends new baby, you nephew home on furlough, and all the new brides to the community was not to be missed. Some of the Grange members even walked.

The admission was $.75 for the gentlemen and the ladies could bake a cake and have a chance to kick up their heels to the tune of a three piece orchestra. The cost of the orchestra was $9. A great mixer was the Paul Jones fox trot. The ladies formed an inner circle going clockwise; the gentlemen the outer circle going counter-clockwise. When the music stopped you turned and danced with the lady facing you. This happened four or five times in the course of a long number. These dances were held at least once a month; with three rounds dances followed by three square dances. With several one-room schoolhouses, all the young men hoped for the chance to bring one of the new teachers as his date.

In June, all the local children, from birth to eighth grade were invited to the Grange for a free meal. They decorated wagons, carriages, and made small floats for the parade that followed the meal. You could plan on a strawberry supper in the spring, and a chicken pot pie supper in the fall.

The Grange was a very active part of the community; and in the early sixties began The Guilford History. This obviously required a lot of input from the community and the results of all the hard work and research were published in 1961.

Many copies were sold and the money gleaned from this enterprise was used to set up a scholarship fund. I’m proud to say, our eldest son was the proud recipient of this scholarship in 1984. A large group of people, coming together with the anticipation of just having fun, often accomplish amazing feats.