The History of Ono Grange
By Merla F. Clark
The Grange organization was formed in the late 1860s to improve the economic and social positions of the nations farm populations. The Grange provided services to rural areas, including economic development, education and legislation to assure a strong and viable rural population.
The first meeting of the Ono Grange #445 was held in a rented building on Buell Road in Ono on April 2, 1930. The first master was James J. Barr Sr. and the first secretary was Lena Driscoll. The charter members were: James Bar Sr., Mrs. Martin Driscoll, Olive Miller, David Miller, Marshall Gill, Richard Edmonds, Bob Jordan, W. Kingsbury, May Kingsbury, C.M. Murphy, Joseph N. Moon, Pauline Stevens, Eugenia Graham, Sydnie Jones, Nelly Murphy, Mrs. Addie B. Graves, Charles Plumb, Mabel Fowler, Frankie Fowler, and Mrs. Julia Edmonds.
The By-laws were adopted August 6, 1930 and the first orders of Business were to find a hall for meetings and rent or buy a piano. In February 1934 negotiations began with David Boyer of Ono to buy the lot next to the hotel and blacksmith shop where the current Grange Hall resides. Inn May 1934 Mr. Boyer donated the lot and was granted a life membership in the Grange.
Construction began immediately and by May 25, 1934 a platform was erected as the first stage. During the period of a platform only, rails were added, and dances and political debates were held that become quite popular. During this period the cutting, dressing and hauling of poles for the building framework was in progress from the hill above the Edmonds and Driscoll farms. Some of those that worked on the cutting and hauling crew were Bernard Alberg, Scott Fairley, Lee Foster, Martin Driscoll, Richard Edmonds, and Mose Grant. The board and batten siding lumber was purchased from Thatcher Lumber Company in Redding. The hall was completed and dedicated by the State Grange Master in 1937.
The Grange was and is important as a social network for the Gas Point, Igo and Ono areas. There is a long history of community service associated with the Grange, ranging from providing the local 4-H Club a meeting place, a point for USDA commodities distribution, and a place for the community to come together for memorial services, weddings, etc. There are long-standing traditions including the Old Timers? Dinner, Santa Claus? Ride-in, pancake breakfasts, quilt shows, and a place for local groups to hold fundraisers.
The Grange first had electricity installed in 1940 when Vern Williams operated a power plant on Eagle Creek. Some furnishings have been in the Grange since practically the beginning. One of the first electric refrigerators is still there and in operating condition.
There is a large, wooden cupboard purchased from Mrs. Huelseman for three dollars in 1938. In the 1940s the Grange borrowed money from its members to pay for walls inside the hall. These walls now have more than four hundred historical photographs on public display. The oak flooring was laid by members in the 1950s and the benches came from the old Redding Greyhound station. The kitchen was remodeled in 2000 by members under the lead of Jim Gray and John Francis. The mural behind the stage was painted in 2008 by member, Lisa Baechtle, and the handicap ramp was added in 2009.