Eugene grange hall a national historic place

Eugene grange hall a national historic place

This is a press release courtesy the State Historic Preservation Office

The Willakenzie Grange Hall in Eugene is Oregon's latest entry in the National Register of Historic Places.

Built in 1913 as the meeting hall for Willakenzie Grange #498, this vernacular-style building stands as a reminder of the once-dominant agricultural community that occupied the region since its earliest pioneer settlement.

The Grange movement began in 1868 as an outlet for farmers to organize around common political, economic, and social interests. The organization spread quickly across the United States and Oregon.

Will Ayres and Frank Harlow, both area farmers and sons of early settlers, organized the Grange in 1913 with 64 initial members.

The group decided on the name Willakenzie, combining the names of the nearby Willamette and McKenzie Rivers. Grange members themselves constructed the building, and once complete it served as an area meeting place. Grange members were active participants in the annual Lane County Fair, voiced concerns about a number of local issues, and established the Producer's Public Market in 1915, which later became the Lane County Farmers Market.

Oregon's State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation recommended the building's nomination in October 2008. More than 70 historic Eugene properties are now listed in the National Register, which is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.