History of the Grange in Alaska
Granges in Alaska date back to 1934 when the Northland Pioneer Grange #1 was organized in Palmer, Alaska, by colonists from the Midwest, who had been relocated to the Matanuska Valley.
The Two Rivers Grange #3 was organized in 1960 in a community north of Fairbanks, by a group of people who had settled on to federal homesteads just prior to 1959 when Alaska was granted statehood.
Two more granges were organized in 1961, the Tanana Valley Grange #4 near Fairbanks, and the Eielson Area Grange #6 in North Pole, Alaska. The area-wide Pomona Grange was also organized in 1961.
Grangers in Alaska recognized the importance of a state-wide organization and requested permission from the National grange to organize the Alaska State Grange Council. National Master Herschel Newsom granted permission for the council in 1962 and the organizational meeting was held in Fairbanks in July of 1962. By-laws for the Council were adopted in compliance with the National Grange Digest.
The Delta Buffalo Grange was organized in 1980 and the Salcha Grange in 1981. These two granges never became active.
In 1981, the National Grange requested information about the Alaska Council so that other states having few subordinate granges could form state councils.
Various Alaska grangers have attended the national Sessions from time to time and in 1987 the Alaska Council began to provide financial assistance for a delegate/delegates to attend the sessions. The delegates to the 1989 National Convention were elated when councils were granted a vote at the next National Convention. However, before the 1990 annual state meeting, they received word that they would not be allowed that privilege. Despite that disappointment, Alaska continued to have delegates to the National Convention with the hope that one day Alaska will be granted a vote.
A new grange was organized in Delta in 1997 bringing the number of Alaska subordinate granges to five.
State Grange Councils were eliminated in 1995, so Alaska was forced to continue to function in an unofficial capacity, until they reached the magical number of six subordinate granges in the state when they could then become an official State Grange.
The Tanana Valley Grange in Fairbanks relinquished its charter before 2000. That left only four active subordinate granges in Alaska - two less than needed for an official state grange.
The number six was finally reached in 2004. The North Star Grange #10 in Fairbanks was organized in 2003, and the Greater Anchorage Grange #11 was organized in 2004.
The Alaska State Grange was organized in 2004 with David McKee as the first President. National Master William Steele attended a special meeting at the North Pole Grange Hall on October 16, 2004 to install the officers of the Alaska State Grange. He presented the charter of the Alaska State Grange to the members at that meeting. David McKee was thus able to attend the National Grange Convention as an official delegate able to cast a vote at the session.
The status of the Alaska State Grange remains tenuous so it behooves each grange member in the state to safeguard their membership and to help their subordinate granges grow so they will not face the possibility of losing their long-sought right for the vote at the annual National Grange sessions.
More information about each subordinate grange may be found on their own pages.
Researched and written by Alice McKee