The information below is credited to a story taken from Richburg/Wirt Historical Society
Inavale Grange # 1248
(Excerpt from Howard Wightman's speech of "75 years at Inavale" given November 1, 1986.)
In the beginning, the Grange Hall was erected in 1891 by the "Sherman Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union" consisting of area farmers and neighbors. On April 11, 1891 a lot was purchased from Charles and Maria Barnes of Inavale. This lot was situated directly west of the Sherman Cheese Factory lot. This "Alliance" coveted the designation of being the second Chapter issued in New York State. (The first was in Richburg, organized by Frank Allen.) This second Alliance of Friendship and Wirt farmers lasted almost 15 years, but as you can witness, a permanent reminder of this presence of over 100 years still exists.
Inavale Grange #1248 was organized in September by New York State Grange Deputy Dennis Barnes of Friendship. He was a prominent farmer of Friendship and Wirt. This newly formed Grange, on October 7, 1914, purchased the property from the existing members of the Alliance, with the continuing conveyances of 1891. A charter was presented to 22 members. Three of these original members lived to receive their 50 years certificates in 1961.
Inavale Grange is the only one known to offer honorary memberships to persons over 70 years of age who have been a member for two years or more.
In 1938 the Grange purchased the original cheese factory lot and house on the corner of the highway. This made an additional adequate parking area.
In 1963 a modern cement block addition was constructed for a new kitchen and dining area, and also for a Junior Grange meeting room. A water well was drilled and restrooms added.
On Nov 3rd, 1962 the Friendship Grange # 72 joined with Inavale with 55 members added to the roster. In 1985 Bolivar Grange # 1350 joined Inavale Grange adding eight members.
This Grange Hall has been the scene of weddings, 50 h Anniversary parties, showers for newlyweds, wedding receptions, birthday parties, special dinners, 4th of July picnics, chicken barbecues, pig roasts and Harvest dinners, to name a few.
Meetings are held the 1st and 3rd Saturday nights. Our first fair exhibit was at Wellsville Fair in 1915. In 75 years of existence, the Grange had exhibited 25 times at Angelica and twice at State Fair, capturing first prize every time.
Many resolutions by the Grange were taken by delegates to the State Grange to become statewide. One such law was spawned at Inavale to become State Law. This was to change hunting licenses from a hunting button, to become a license displayed on the back of the hunter.
In this ever-changing world, we find fewer and fewer farms. But the Grange still exists, proving the sacrifices and benefits of the Grange were many.
Above photo taken from a 1953 issue of "The Bolivar Breeze"
Depicted is the first prize display of the Maple syrup processes, exhibited by the Inavale Grange at the State Fair. On the three section turntable are three methods of making maple syrup. First, original method of tapping, using a wooden trough lying on the ground, cooking the sap using hot stones put in an iron kettle balanced on one end of a pole. Second, the sap pan, wooden tubs for gathering and buckets on the trees. Shown are the old log cabin, stump fence, and oxen. Third, modern evaporator, galvanized buckets and a ventilated sugar house. Also showcased are various end products of the process. Prime movers of the display were Marguerite Wightman, Ella Belle Monahan and Rosemary Wightman.