The first Grange was formed in Washington, D. C. on December 4th, 1867 and is now the nations oldest agricultural organization.  Their main concern was agricultural development and democratic ideals to provide service to others. The National Grange was one of the first formal groups to admit women to membership on the basis of equality with men.  It remains so today.

On February 18th, 1907 the Andover Grange No. 1098 was organized.  In late March of 1908 Deputy Reeves of Steamburg, N.Y. officially organized the group with 28 charter members.  Officers were elected of sworn into office.  In was agreed to meet on the first and third Wednesday evening of each month at 7:30 at the Maccabee Hall (above the old movie theater next to Karcanes Sugar Bowl now the Uni-Mart).

On February 10th 1932 the Andover Grange No. 1098, celebrated it 25th anniversary at the regular meeting of the body Wednesday evening, about 60 being present, including a delegation of 25 from Alfred.  Of the 28 charter members, there survives today in active membership seven, Mr. & Mrs. Charles Robinson, Mr. & Mrs. H. E. Robinson, Mrs. Agnes Langworthy, Mrs. Rosetta Dodge, and J. M. Hartrum.

In May of 1932, a Juvenile (now called Junior Grange) was organized which thrived for many years under the capable leadership of Mrs. Hervey Thorne.  In 1934 this group was judged the best in New York State and later that year they won the honor of second best in the Nation.  

In 1934 they developed the idea of awarding a prize to the Best All-around Freshman of the year and was awarded for many, many years.  In 1945 they erected a memorial sign in Elm Valley in honor of Stephen Cole and Nathaniel Dyke, first settlers in the area.  They had printed and placed the road signs that mark the rural roads of our community.

On February 24th, 1957 the Grange celebrated their 50th Anniversary at the Andover Central School.  There was a fine dinner served by the Andover P. T. A. and talks were given and much entertainment was provided through out the evening.  After the dinner exhibits were shown in the auditorium, which delighted the young and old alike.  Among the 50-year members being honored that evening were, Clifford Burdick, Emmett Robinson, and Harry Smith.

In September of 1962 the members of the Andover Grange No. 1098 purchased the late Patrick Hyland’s property on East Greenwood Street.  The house was razed and the area used as a parking lot, with the garage to be remodeled into a Grange Hall.  The former house was once a photo studio owned by a man by the name of Everett, back in the 1880’s.  After all of the refurbishing the Andover Grange Hall was dedicated in June 12th of 1963 by State Master Russell Curtis of Cazenovia.  He addressed the group about 200,  Congratulating the members on the accomplishments of the Grange through out the years and the success of having their own hall now.

Three 50-year members were also honored at that time – Edna Burdick, Annette Taylor and Ruth Taylor.  In 1967, Andover Grange won second place in the State-wide Community Progress Contest.  To their credit that year was construction of the parking lot and financial support to the Andover Medical Center and the Mausoleum in Valley Brook Cemetery, all chaired by Mrs. Lovinia (Earl) Atwell.

The Andover Grangers have always been friendly people, working together and helping the community.  Each year the Grange address’s more than 1,400 issues of concern to our National Government, like:  Rural Highways & Infrastructure, Rural Schools Partnerships, Conservation Reserve Program, Rural Medicare Reform, United Nations Climate Control, Regional Dairy Compacts, Fast Track Trade Legislation, Endangered Species Act, Food Safety Protection, Rural Telecommunications Access, and Preservation of Farmland, just to name a few.  After 137 years, the Grange remains the nation’s oldest and strongest sustained organizational force working for a better life for rural Americans everywhere.

The last mention of the Andover Grange No. 1098 was in the Andover yearbook,  “It Happened in Andover 1992”.  Telling of the events of that year and officers.  I don’t know if there weren’t enough people anymore or the interest was gone, but they more or less closed the doors.

In 1995 the Andover Grange property was transferred to the Town of Andover and the town had the Grange Hall torn down and built their new Town Hall there.  They moved into the new building in December of 1996.  George Givens purchased the old Grange Hall and he used the wood to build a hunting camp on the Frank Nye Road in Independence.  It has since been turned into a home & lived in by Dennis Givens and his family.