Looking toward Whitefield’s Bicentennial Celebration in 2009, Charlie Miller is hoping there might be some town money for a couple of improvements at Arlington Grange.
He recently sent a letter to the board of selectmen asking for “any help” they might provide.
Miller, who is grange master, has seen membership shrink in recent years, with some folks moving away or joining granges in neighboring towns.
Needed next are a new back door at the top of the ramp and new steps at the main entrance. The latter project is scheduled for next spring. For the door, the organization has received estimates of $750.
“We just finished paying for the (replacement) windows this past month,” said Miller of the three-year $4000 loan from the Maine State Grange. “We put in the new wheelchair ramp early in the summer. Bill Bunting was responsible for getting carpenters to do it.”
Lately, there have been only three grange members preparing the monthly suppers. Then, five or six Jefferson and Whitefield women offered to help. “It’s been hard to do it, just the three of us,” Miller said.
“We’re very thankful because without their help, we’d have no money to get by,” said the grange master.
Miller has belonged to Arlington Grange for 50 years and is due for his 50-year pin at an upcoming ceremony. He has been grange master before, and recently was elected to the post when a predecessor died while in office.
Nothing would please the great-grandfather more than having more Whitefield people participate in the grange, especially “new members with talent. We’re all getting old,” he said.
The annual membership fee is $15.
The grange sprang from Farmer’s Clubs in the mid-19th century and, according to the Maine State Grange website, served as “an adult education resource for rural Mainers.”
Early on the grange supported educational reform, including increased funding for the
“Fellowship” is another reason to join, Miller said. Over the years the grange has modeled the value of belonging to an organization that brings people together “for good times, constructive activities, and honest, hard-working community building,” according to the website.
Arlington Grange, which stands at the top of Grand Army Hill (Rt. 126) in North Whitefield, will hold its last 2008 meeting at the grange building in November. Winter meetings will take place at the Millers’ home on Cooper Rd.
For the upcoming baked bean supper on Sat., Oct. 18, Miller will be making the cole slaw; his wife Fran, who is now in a wheelchair, has pulled back from the marathon casserole making of past years, but will be making a main dish and a dessert with Charlie’s help, and member Gladys Glidden will help staff the kitchen and prepare food for the tables as well. The cost is $8, with supper served between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.