Central Hall Is Central

Central Hall Today

In 1893 the Maine State Grange conducted its Twentieth Annual Session on December 19, 20, 21 at Central Hall in Dover. In his opening address, then State Master M. B. Hunt said, “The present is but the result of a long succession of the ages.” Over one hundred years later the succession is certainly longer, but the present is still so defined—by the succession of the ages.

There were some 95 Subordinate Granges throughout the state at that time. By way of comparison there were 155 listed in the 2009 roster—an interesting statistic to those who think the “Grange is dying.” Reading the Journal of Proceedings (minutes) of the three day event is certainly interesting—many of the challenges were not much different than today.  We cannot deny that our history is part of us and we are part of our history.

Perhaps because of my involvement with the Grange, I find it somewhat easy to picture those delegates assembling… walking across the road from the Blethen House where no doubt many stayed. I can see them making decisions that would become important parts of the “succession of the ages” and create a new present. 

Thanks to the work of the “Friends of Central Hall” many folks are recollecting other events and occasions and perhaps discovering how appropriate the name “Central” is. For many years, Central Hall was “central” to the lives and times of many. If you’ve missed the opportunity to be nostalgic, visit Central Hall on Saturday, March 6 from 10 am until 2 pm. Organizers are promising  a slideshow with historic photos, a time-line of exhibits of activities from the 1880s through the present, speakers  sharing more recent memories, guided tours (including the basement), and lots more.

At the close of the session over one hundred years ago, the body adopted the following resolution:  “ Resolved, that the members of the State Grange, now about to close, tender their sincere thanks to the citizens of Dover and Foxcroft for their very generous hospitality and attention during this session. “

George Bernard Shaw said, “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past but by the responsibility for our future.”  So I can’t help but wonder. Will the Maine State Grange meet at Central Hall again in the future?

“Your Household Guide”

While picking up and poking around I found a fascinating book in the Valley Grange Museum. It’s called Your Household Guide and contains “1001 helpful household hints… selected from several hundred Walsworth Bros. Home Recipe Books throughout the nation.” The cover imprint indicates it was sponsored by Shirley Grange No. 413.

These hints are now over fifty years old, but some are timeless. Others are amusing. I thought I’d reproduce a few here for your entertainment and possible use.

Do not grease the sides of a cake pan. How would you like to climb a greased pole?

When bread is baking, a small dish of water in the oven will help to keep the crust from getting hard.

When painting indoors, slip a pair of old socks over your shoes. If paint drops on the floor, just “skate” it up.

Turn printed washables inside out on the line to prevent fading.

Buttons sewn on with dental floss will stay on longer.

Put a small piece of soap in your sewing basket. Stick needles and pins in it and they will run through cloth more easily.

Spinach may be the broom of the stomach, but sauerkraut is the vacuum cleaner. (more…)