Halcottsville Grange work gets boost from bank bucks

By Julia Green
NBT Bank of Margaretville Vice President Caroljean Finch presented a $1,000 check to help fund the Halcottsville Grange Hall Restoration Project, an ongoing fund-raising effort to support renovations to the Wawaka Grange Hall in Halcottsville.
The hall, which has been a focal point of the Halcottsville hamlet for more than 100 years, was the first home of the Halcottsville Grange #350, established in 1875 as a local lodge of the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, an educational and political action society for farmers. The Grange was reorganized in 1923 as Wawaka Grange #1486 and offered support and a social outlet for the farming community and its neighbors.
The Grange took a fatal hit, however, with the declining farm economy and society’s changing interests and lifestyles, and the Wawaka Grange ultimately folded. In 1991, the hall was acquired by the Halcottsville Fire Department, which has been instrumental in its revitalization.
The Fire Department secured two matching grants through The A. Lindsay and Olive B. O’Connor Foundation in addition to over $80,000 in community donations to fund the project; the donation made by NBT Bank will be matched by the O’Connor Foundation grant to double the total.
“It’s such a small community, but the response has been amazing,” said Jenny Morill-Liddle, volunteer grant coordinator for the Halcottsville Fire Department, citing both the monetary support as well as the efforts of volunteers who turned out to help with the hands-on work.
The Fire Department plans to have the renovations completed by the end of the summer.