Sometimes a small community is unnoticed as busy people pass it by on their way to somewhere else. It rises up and says, “Hey, Look at me!”
For many years members of Tyler Grange No. 610 quietly went about their business, giving to those in need, making do when money didn’t stretch far enough, inventing ways to climb over rough spots and keeping on when the rest of the world ignored them.
Years ago someone decided to write a history of this small town organization, tucked the pages of writing into a folder and there it remained until one day another someone said, “Look at this!”
We start at the beginning: Tyler Grange No. 610 was organized in 1916 and established in the Lance Hill area. Their ambitious adventure was halted after the First World War but reorganized Sept. 15, 1928 by deputy master Ira Shea. There were 29 charter members. The first regular meeting of the renewed Grange was held Oct. 4, 1928 at the Tyler Township Hall. Ingmar Pederson was elected master and Jennie Betz became secretary. Members paid dues of $2.50 per year. They bought a piano in 1934 for the tune of $21.50.
The Grangers wanted their own meeting hall, rolled up their sleeves and started a funding drive in 1935. They would either build their own hall or find another building. They hosted a carnival and watched anxiously as the money began to pile up toward the building fund.
In 1936 they had not reached their goal. The Tyler Grange had an agreement with the Tyler Community Church. They would use the church as a meeting hall by paying the insurance on the building. The Grange held card parties, dances and sold magazines to raise money. They won the Spokane County rodent contest in 1939 for shooting the most ground squirrels. The prize was a trophy and $12.50 in cash. Mrs. J.W. Betz won a 22-gauge rifle for shooting the most ground squirrels.
In 1941 the Grange voted to use the Tyler school building as a grange hall and paid the school $15 rent per year. Money was scarce as ground squirrels, but the Grangers again rolled up their sleeves and cut wood to heat the school and made repairs on the building as needed. In 1942 and 1944 each Grange member contributed $1 to purchase war bonds. The ladies also made bandages for the Red Cross and prepared a dinner for the soldiers of the community returning from the war. Now you know why the dinners they serve these days are so wonderful. They’ve had lots of practice since then. The same year a Mr. D.C. Denny presented a petition to organize a fire district.
The Grange assembled a committee to investigate buying the Tyler school gym. Our many small local schools had been consolidated with Cheney School District. The Tyler School gym was begging for someone to use it. With each member contributing $5 to buy the gym the Grange made plans to organize a first and second-degree drill team with Sis Heth as leader. The drill teams of various Granges competed with others and their well-rehearsed maneuvers were interesting to watch.
We’re not done yet. No! Next week we bring you more adventures of Tyler Grange No. 610.
Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at email@example.com