The Toledo Cowlitz Prairie Grange was opened almost 100 years ago and has been serving the community ever since. The Washington State Granges were chartered in 1889, two months before Washington became a territory. Many granges are no longer operational in our area, only Hope Grange and Cowlitz Prairie are still going strong. Hope Grange is located in Winlock and the Cowlitz Prairie Grange is located just north of Toledo on Jackson Highway.
Granges are a gathering place for many. In the 1950s granges were the place to be. In those days, the granges would host bands and the young adults would jitterbug. Many of our parents enjoyed the local granges in those days, dancing as long as they could. Boy, have things changed. It was nothing but wholesome and fun entertainment.
Now, the younger generation has electrical devices. Per Fred Wilson, he stated, "The granges in the 50s were the place to be seen, what do you think changed?
Younger generations have too many electronic devices to get their news and talk to others. So they feel they need to leave their homes and see people. And in families, both parents are working."
Now the granges are used for the members and events people can have. The Cowlitz Prairie Grange is a newer and beautiful location for events.
The grange's mission statement is the following, "Established in 1889, two months before Washington Territories achieved statehood, the Washington State Grange is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of Washington's residents through the spirit of community service and legislative action." They are a non-partisan group here to help the residents of Washington.
Most granges have events throughout the month and Cowlitz is no exception, the following are their events and fundraisers. Fred Wilson stated, "Every third Saturday is breakfast from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage, or biscuits and gravy is $6. Grange meeting once a month, second Wednesday of the Month, 6:30 p.m. potluck - meeting at 7:30 p.m." From what I have been told the breakfasts are just perfect. This weekend though, there will be a special guest. Santa Klaus is coming to the grange for breakfast and parents will have the opportunity to take pictures. So if you are looking for a holiday visit be sure to stop by.
As a bookmark in the grange's history, the Cowlitz Prairie Grange, unfortunately, burned down in 1986. Pauline Inman spearheaded the rebuilding of the grange and opened it in 1988. If you have not been to the grange, the best way to describe it is, it's a very nice place to hang out. The kitchen is very large and a perfect place for making any creation you want. Many Granges such as the old St. Urban Grange have lost members and can no longer keep up the buildings. Cowlitz Prairie has 58 members and is looking to grow.
Renting the grange is a great option for receptions, birthday parties, anniversary parties, baby showers and anything else you would like. The first time I walked in it I was surprised. I went there for a birthday party and was impressed by the building itself. It gave our large extended family a place to hold the birthday during the middle of winter. The parking was no problem, we parked all around the building.
Cowlitz Grange has 58 members and are always looking for more. If you are interested in becoming a member or you would like to rent the grange, please feel free to call Fred Wilson 360-864-4586 or Lewis Zion 360-304-0779.
Fred Wilson's parting words, "We have members that want to keep this grange open.
It's nice to have a place to go and see and talk and party in person."