Observed within a few blocks of each other, two volunteers and a planting. The first one is a small agave planted in a hole in the sidewalk. A valiant effort indeed. Given Caltrans and/or Sonoma County’s neglect of these areas, it may survive a while. The second one looks like volunteer tomatoes springing up at a storm drain. I hope that’s what they are! Third is a humble little California poppy growing in a crack between the curb and sidewalk. Symbolic of California today?
The Sonoma Valley Grange was chartered in 1924. Grange members were able to buy buy their own hall, from Selig Rosenthal of Rosenthal’s Resort, in 1934. Speculation has it the building, located on Hwy 12 adjacent to the Acacia Grove mobile home park, had been a dance hall, possibly a speak-easy during Prohibition. (Please click the link to read more about Rosenthal.)
The Grange prospered and the building was added on to. Events such as a semiannual flea market, pancake breakfast, and Christmas parties were popular. The Grange participated in the institution’s traditional lobbying of elected officials in favor of farmers and community wellbeing in general. Women were prominent in the leadership, serving as presidents, secretaries, and treasurers. Eunice Peterson, a charter member and past master (president) of the Sonoma Valley Grange, was the first woman to serve on the Sonoma-Marin Fair board in 1940 and 1941 and ran for state assembly in 1938.
The Grange was incorporated in 1948.
Younger folks did join in the early 2000s, starting a strong period of growth for the Grange.
The old Hall needed a lot of work. In 2016 donations were in hand to start building new restrooms and a new, commercial kitchen.
Political and legal turmoil starting in 2012 forced some major changes and challenges, leading to the formation of a new entity, The Springs Community Hall.
After more years of legal wrangling between the State Grange and the National Grange, then the State Grange and the local, former Granges, it’s been decided that the hall will again be an official Grange. Not much has really changed. Whatever its name the hall and the volunteers who run it are committed to serving their community, as always.
The newest Sonoma Valley Grange will be inviting the community to become members, volunteers, and officers, very soon. Stay tuned!