Ramona Grange has two reasons to celebrate: April is National Grange Month and Ramona Grange is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
To mark both, Ramona Grange supporters plan an Open House for Saturday, April 21, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Grange Hall, 215 Seventh St. All are invited.
One of the older buildings in Ramona, Grange Hall is nearly 100 years old. The building, originally on Main street, was moved to Seventh Street in the 1920s. The white wood siding and sloped roof are representative of the building style of the early 20th century.
Entering through the front door, visitors find themselves in a small, waiting area. The main hall is blocked by an interior door with a peephole in it. In years past, the Gate Keeper would stand behind the door. If the member or visitor didn’t know the password, he or she was not admitted to the hall.
“This custom is no longer in use at the Ramona Grange, but the door is still there,” said grange member Dora Friedli.
A grange is a farm, said Friedli, explaining that the term is taken from the word grain. The grange association is designed to further the interests of farmers and ranchers and to bring together producers and consumers without intervention from middlemen.
The Grange was organized in 1867 to facilitate the flow of food between the south and the north after the Civil War.
Most of the farms and ranches in Ramona and San Diego County are small. Vineyards, organic vegetable farms, and egg ranches are examples. Ramona Grange supports these smaller farmers, said Friedli.
“Our mission statement is ‘Promoting agriculture, one backyard at a time,’” she said.
On display in the hall during Open House will be pictures, articles, and letters. One of the more interesting is a letter from Ramona Grange to the White House, protesting the internment of Japanese farmers during World War II, noted Friedli.
Former Grange members and their families are invited to bring pictures and stories of past Grange activities to share.
Everyone is invited to bring their families and join the celebration. Refreshments will be served.
For more information contact Friedli at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sandra Wolfe at 760-871-5814.