To the Editor:
I am one of the saddened members of Nobleboro Grange #369. The closing of this grange has been heart-wrenching for all who cared. We tried so many ways to keep it going – to get new members and the older members to turn out for meetings. It was not to be and the doors were closed on Dec. 23 (2009)after 108 years of existence.
Now, Meenahga Grange in Waldoboro – to whom our assets went when we merged with them – is putting Nobleboro Grange Hall for sale. This is a loss to Nobleboro that should not happen. The hall was used for all manner of community functions – not just for grange meetings. The article in the paper did not truly represent the depth of community service it has given.
Here was presented professional programs to the surrounding towns, like the Humble Farmer, for example and Muriel Havenstein in concert – and public suppers, not just for the grange. Political parties served up rallies and meals here, as did many charitable institutions. The historical society met annually here and it was here that the rained-out celebration of the restoration of the Writer’s Cabin up at Chimney Farm was held.
Birthday, anniversary and bridal showers were celebrated at the hall. Special fundraisers for ill and financially impaired citizens were offered upon these premises.
For several years, the grange hall served classes of Vacation Bible School for the First Baptist Church. For the first time anywhere in 2006, a special educational program for world harmony was filmed in the hall by LCTV called “Peace and Good Will.” It featured speakers – a Rabbi, a minister and a Muslim teacher – telling of the things in common these great religions shared.
Contradances met in the building for their joyful pursuits. Area residents were honored for their contributions to our community at special programs – among them Mary Ellen Anderson, Fondy York and Bruce Hartford.
Nobleboro Grange Hall has always been here ready to serve as the focus for activities by the community. It was dismissed as not really needed because… “it doesn’t really make sense now that the school is right next door.”
Not so, dear neighbors. Political and religious gatherings have no place in a public school, and – the school is right next door to whom? It’s not in the center of the village – easily available in the community center for all kinds of activities. This building should not be taken from us. It should be on the historic register and preserved for use by generations to come.
I have not the physical ability to mount an effort to save this building, but if someone would step forward to lead such a rally, I could help organize as much as I am able. My phone is 563-3619 and I am available from noon to 9 p.m.
Barbara Ann Johnson, Nobleboro