Chimacum Grange marks century of service

CHIMACUM — The Chimacum Grange will celebrate a century of service to the agricultural community this weekend with a pancake breakfast and music at its historic white building on Rhody Drive.

In conjunction with the Farm Tour, Jefferson County residents will have a chance to mingle and reminisce during the Centennial Pancake Breakfast from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday.

For $12 adults will be served buckwheat pancakes (Nash’s wheat and Finnriver buckwheat), blueberry syrup (Finnriver blueberries), pork breakfast patty (Egg & I pork), real maple syrup, organic cantaloupe, coffee, tea and water.

The children’s menu includes pig face pancakes, blueberry and maple syrup, cantaloupe and water for $7.

Advance tickets are on sale at the Chimacum Corner Farmstand, 9122 Rhody Drive, cash or checks only. Seating is limited to 200. Organizers expect it to sell out.

The last call for breakfast will be at 11:30 a.m.

In addition to the food, Wild Phil and the Buffalo Gals will provide live music and raffles are planned of CSA (community supported agriculture) baskets from several area farms, and local food and drink-themed baskets.

“The grange has served the local farming community since it received its charter on March 22, 1918,” said Katie McCoy, advisory board member.

“The building was constructed in 1932. Stories say a carpenter from Seattle rode his bicycle to town and, with the help of volunteers, completed the work in 15 days. He was paid $50.”

When the grange received its charter, the organization was a place for farmers to meet and socialize. It also gave political support to land use issues. The grange received several awards over the century, recognized early on for its blue-ribbon State Fair Grange displays and square dances.

George Huntingford, once the oldest living member of the Chimacum Grange, recently died at the age of 101. The third-generation Chimacum Valley resident and former Jefferson County commissioner, joined the grange in 1944. He was a farmer who raised Guernsey and Holstein cows.

“The Chimacum Farmer’s Market started here in 2006, and moved to the Chimacum Corner Farmstand in 2010 because it became so popular,” McCoy said. “Because of a lack of interest, the grange closed for two years, reopening in 2006.”

Today, its leaders want to revive the grange community and bring in new people.

“We need new members and active officers. There’s an election in November and we’re hoping for some new ideas,” McCoy said.

Current officers are Diane Johnson, president; Al Latham, treasurer; and James Fritz, program director.

Latham said grange dues are $50 per year,”but we keep just $6 of it. The rest goes to pay for Washington state and National Grange benefits and our nonprofit status.”

The building needed some repairs recently and the community stepped up to help.

The Jefferson County Association of Realtors, the Jefferson County Home Builders Association, Carl’s Building Supply and Coker Designs have worked on the structure, replacing the front door, painting it, making repairs and replacing all the old tables.

McCoy said Port Townsend resident Richard Taylor, executive director of Jefferson Land Trust, paid to have the grange’s piano tuned and purchased a forest green velour stage curtain that was installed on a new professional stage track.

Tia Taylor, grange coordinator, said that the building is a rental venue. Rental fees will help pay for maintenance.

“It has seating for 82 people upstairs with a full performance stage and 40 downstairs for a conference or meeting,” Taylor said. “There’s a non-certified kitchen downstairs. Outside, there’s parking for 40 cars.”

The Chimacum Grange meets the second Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. More information on membership or facility rental can be found at www.chimacumgrange.org.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]

<strong>Jeannie McMacken</strong>/Peninsula Daily News
                                The Chimacum Grange celebrates 100 years of service to the agriculture community with a pancake breakfast Sunday. Feeding the pig bank held by grange Treasurer Al Latham is Katy McCoy, member of the advisory council. Grange events coordinator Tia Taylor, left, and Program Director James Fritz are hoping to raise money to help offset the cost of operating the building, constructed in 1932.

Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News The Chimacum Grange celebrates 100 years of service to the agriculture community with a pancake breakfast Sunday. Feeding the pig bank held by grange Treasurer Al Latham is Katy McCoy, member of the advisory council. Grange events coordinator Tia Taylor, left, and Program Director James Fritz are hoping to raise money to help offset the cost of operating the building, constructed in 1932.

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