What is a Grange?
Kathleen CassadayAltona Grange, at 39th and Nelson Rd. is a remnant of a once flourishing agricultural movement called the "Patrons of Husbandry" and was established by a Minnesota farmer in 1867. Granges were started as an attempt to organize farmers against price fixing by the railroads, high interest rates on bank loans and also to increase efficiency of farming techniques.
A primary issue for Colorado grange members was protection of water rights for agricultural use and their concerns about the state legislature giving away the control of Colorado rivers and streams. In 1876, the State Board of Agriculture was formed with seven of its eight seats held by grange members.
The Altona Grange (#127) was established in 1891 and is one of 492 granges in Colorado. The number reflects the order of establishment in the state. Land was purchased for the grange hall at 39th and Nelson in 1895.
In 1945, a basement was dug to the North of the existing building; the hall was moved and placed over the basement. The renovation added room for kitchen and dining facilities. On an ironic note, rifle practice was held at the grange for several years.
Altona is one of the oldest active granges in the state. Some dormant granges in the Niwot area include Haystack Mountain, and Washington. Hygiene’s dormant granges are Hygiene and Longs Peak. Further information about the Altona Grange and the Colorado Grange movement is available through oral histories and books found at the Carnegie Branch Library.
The next issue of the newsletter contains an article on the geology of the region