A treasure trove of grange history

This article first appeared in the Broomfield Enterprise.

A dusty closet at Broomfield’s Crescent Grange building has yielded a treasure trove of local history. Grange member Sage Harmos was clearing out the closet when he came upon a box of original membership applications from the Grange’s earliest days – from 1898 up to the early 1930s. Around the size of a playing card, each application had been filled out by hand and signed by the applicant.

The cards represent a virtual Who’s Who of early Broomfield. I recognized a number of names, including Sarah H. Church (applied in 1905); second generation pioneers Ralph Colman (1917), W.H. Nissen (1915), and Mrs. and Mrs. L.C. Brunner (1930); Harry Shaw, who ran the Broomfield Garage in the 1920s; Mr. and Mrs. Roy Rees (or Reese), and 14-year-old Dukie Mulholm, who would later become the area’s rural postal carrier. Folks with ancestors who lived in this area stand a good chance of finding names they recognize in this collection.

The discovery came about as the result of a recent change in management at the Grange hall. The new members are eager to jump-start Grange activities and projects. The Ones and Zero’s bimonthly film series recently relocated from Smokey-Banana Tattoo / Bananelope Coffee to the Grange Hall. The Grange has also put in a new sprinkler system for the community garden. Grange member Marci Heiser says individual garden plots are available for anyone interested in making a commitment – all you have to do is show up on a Saturday morning and start digging.

Marci says their aim is to build up community interest in the Grange. They envision dances, potlucks, service projects – and whatever else the community needs. With that in mind, they held an Open House on Sunday, April 22, from 2 to 4 pm., at the Grange Hall at 7901 120th Avenue in Old Broomfield. “Actors” in period costume presented the history of the Grange, musicians played tunes from the early days, and refreshments will be served. (Marci, a professional costume designer, is busy making the costumes herself.) They also hope to have the membership cards scanned by then so folks can read through them without damaging the original documents.

The 106-year-old hall contains other items of historical interest as well, including numerous trophies and ribbons from regional events, won by Grange members over the years. A big pile of old scrapbooks has yet to be inspected. On the wall near the basement kitchen, a hand-written menu offers hot dog and chips for 25 cents, pie for 15 cents, coffee for 10 cents, and pop for 10 cents. The selection was written on a Nesbitt’s orange soda menu board. Nesbitt’s was a soda company founded in 1924 that produced syrups used in soda fountains. In 1927, they began bottling their famous orange soda. The brand was swallowed by the Clorox Company in the 1970s and disappeared in 1976. The menu board is just one of many delightful bits of history offered up by this beautiful old building.

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