Olalla Grange – A Brief History
(Picture -1949 Olalla Grange Staff taken at the Olalla Community Club)
Olalla Grange No. 1125 has served our community for over 70 years. It was organized in the basement of the Olalla Community Hall on September 30, 1947. Forty-seven area residents were accepted as Charter members.
Soon after it was organized, Olalla Grange took on its first community service project – the beautification of the Olalla School Park, which included the provision of picnic tables. Subsequent projects included assistance with the Columbia River Flood Relief effort, sponsorship of a Girl Scout troop and a Little League baseball team, clean-up and fencing of the Olalla Cemetery, assisting the South Kitsap Hospital and purchasing hospital bonds, and supporting a community blood bank.
In 1950 the Grange joined the South Kitsap Improvement Hall and Good Roads Association. The Gleaners got started the following year. And in 1952 the schools citizen’s advisory committee was formed. Grange members took community involvement seriously and were dedicated to helping out wherever help was needed.
During its first decade, the Grange met in the Community Hall on Olalla Valley Road while raising money for a hall of its own. In 1950, a lot was acquired from Ed Scherer at the junction of Mullenix and Olalla Valley Roads. However, the Grange couldn’t meet a condition that the hall had to be started within five years, so the site was lost. So, members continued to operate from the community hall. The Grange Supply began delivering fuel oil and gas in the Olalla area in 1956. The Juvenile Grange was also started that year.
Finally in 1959, the Grange was able to purchase the old Fragaria School on Fragaria Road. The purchase price was $2,250. A construction loan was then requested from the State Grange to remodel the old structure. The members were so excited about the project that some made personal loans to get the work started while waiting for the State Grange loan to com through. Work parties were organized and the old school was converted to a Grange Hall.
One obstacle stood in the way of progress. A large boat occupied most of the main meeting room. One wall of the building had to be removed, the boat removed, then the wall was replaced. The hall was scrubbed top to bottom, broken glass and nails were removed from the parking lot, and chairs were purchased from the Salvation Army for 76 cents each. The first meeting in the new facility was held on April 24, 1959.
Some time in the 60’s the building burned to the ground. A loan from the State Grange was acquired and work began to build a new structure made from concrete blocks. Thru the years many improvements have been made. In the 80’s a state of the art bingo consel was installed on the stage and bingo became a major souce of funding in the community. Today the organization still remains committed to serving our community’s needs by providing a rentable meeting facility, donating to local causes and a Class B Bingo operation. You can see on any Saturday night the house full of bingo players.