Grange History

The Grange is the nation's oldest national agricultural organization. It was started in 1867, following the American Civil War.  The founders believed that because of farm faimlies’ independent and scattered nature, they needed a national organization to represent them and help improve the economic and social standing of the nation's farm communities.  Just compensation for honest work was fundamental to the formation of the Grange.  Over the past 147 years, the Grange organization has evolved to include non-farming families and communities.

The Grange is also known as the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, which is what the "P of H” represent on the organization's logo.  Founding members determined that a fraternal organization would be best able to combine loyalty and democratic ideals to provide service to others.   The Grange was one of the first groups to admit women to membership on the basis of equality with men and remains so today.  The importance of women was reinforced by the fact that four of the elected Grange positions could only be held by women. 

The Grange was one of the first national organizations, other than churches, to embrace the membership and involvement of everyone in the family.  All Grange members have an equal voice and an equal vote at meetings regardless of their age, sex or position within the organization.

The Grange is strictly non-partisan and does not endorse candidates for public office nor contribute to their campaigns. The early Granger movement succeessely lobbied Congress, who enacted “The Grange Laws” that protected farmers from market manipulation and transportation price fixing.  Today, the Grange actively lobbies for causes in accord with organizational policy. All policy within the Grange originates at the local level. The organization remains as one of America’s best examples of democratic, grass-roots activism.

The Santa Ynez Valley Grange #644 was organized February 23, 1937 by a group of folks who gathered at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School for the purpose of starting a Grange.  William Knight, the Deputy Organizer from the California State Grange in Sacramento was present and the Charter for our Grange was signed by 30 individuals who were the founding members of the SYV Grange.  

The Santa Ynez Grange was the first Grange organized in Santa Barbara County and the 316th established in California.  

Founding member Fred Lang donated land in Los Olivos for a future Grange Hall.  A building fund, with the goal of raising $12,800 for the Grange Hall was started during World War II, when the Grange invested in US Savings Bonds, which were later redeemed for the construction.  

The current Grange Hall at 2374 Alamo Pintado Ave., in Los Olivos was designed by Bert Patnoe, who also supervised the construction.  The first meeting in the new hall was held on December 13, 1950.  

1999Grange

When the Santa Ynez Valley Grange was founded, the Valley was largely an agricultural area that encompassed the five communities of Santa Ynez, Ballard, Solvang, Buellton and Los Olivos.  Today, even though the Valley communities have grown over the years there are still many ranches and farms going strong.  The foundation of our Grange has always been to be a place to bring the community together whether our members are farmers, ranchers or townspeople.  

Our Grange fell into a decline as the membership grew older and was in danger of disappearing.  However, in the mid-1990s, a number of new members joined and revitalized the Grange.  It has continued to thrive since that time.

The Grange plays an important role in our lives and reflects the important role it has played as a hub of our community.  Our Grange Hall is still used for community functions, including 4H, Yoga Classes, County Community Meetings, the Valley Commuity Theatre, Los Olivos Rotary, the Valley Harvest Church and is home to the Los Olivos Branch of the Santa Barbara County Library.

The Santa Ynez Valley Grange doors are open in welcome to all people and the Grange Hall facility is available for great rental for receptions private parties and local activities.  Please check out the Event Calendar page for additional information and contacting us. 

September 2013, our Grange was devasted by a fire.  It took ten months for the  process of rebuilding the Grange Hall.  Our restored Grange features a new commercial kitchen, air conditioning, new windows and improved lighting in the main hall.  These improvements will make the building more usable for community events and gatherings throughout the year.  

The Santa Ynez Valley Grange has been a gathering place in our valley community for 77 years.  The Grange has always been a resource for the community and we are dedicated to maintaining that relationship with the individuals and groups throughout our valley.  It the only non-sectarian community center in the valley, besides the Veterans’ Hall in Solvang.

Your Santa Ynez Valley Grange #644 always welcomes new members.  Look for details and a downloadable membership application form on the Join the Grange page of this website.

We take pride in our past and see promise in our future. One of the best things about being a Granger is that we get to work and play together.  If we are not having fun, something is wrong.

© 2014 - 2016 Santa Ynez Valley Grange #644