Archive for Wednesday, March 8, 2000

Grange hall listed on National Register of Historic Places

March 8, 2000

The history of Vinland was recognized when the Vinland Grange Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places last month.

Built in 1884, the two-story building was a busy place during Vinland's heyday housing a variety of businesses and the second-floor Grange meeting hall.

Long-time Vinlanders remember the building as a grocery store, a cream station, a barber shop, a bank and a temporary church and school. However, the building was named for its Grange history. The Grange is a fraternal organization for agriculture families.

"The Grange was an organization that provided insurance and group purchasing power, much like farmer's co-ops now," said John Jackson, president of the Santa Fe Trail Historical Society.

The Vinland Grange disbanded in 1985, and the Santa Fe Trail Historical Society took over the care of the building at that time.

The building has been used occasionally since then for area art meetings and art displays. However, it needs a new roof and other repairs to make it more usable.

Because of its historic designation, the historical society will now be able to apply for federal grants to fund repairs.

"We've not been of the position to receive grant funding until this came on the register," Jackson said. "It will give us an opportunity to apply for grants, but getting a grant is not an automatic."

The building was listed Feb. 10 by the Department of the Interior's National Park Service. The park service operates and oversees the register. To be listed, a property must be on the state register and a detailed historical documentation must be completed.

Charles Doudna, a board member and former president of the historical society, said he got much of the building's history from Herschel and Anne Hemphill, who grew up in Vinland.

"We thought of it as the bank," Anne, a Vinland and Baldwin historian, said of the lower floor of the building. She can also remember meeting at the building for church youth group.

Once restored, Anne would like to see the building used once again as a meeting place, "although there will probably not be another Grange."

Besides the opportunity for grant money, the historical society receives funds from membership dues, from recycling aluminum cans collected at the Baldwin depot, from the souvenir shop at the depot and from Douglas County.

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