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Mancos celebrates a century of community at Grange

Mount Lookout Grange still going strong after 100 years

Mancos celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the Mount Lookout Grange on Saturday by sharing stories about community and relationships.

“We need to remember our relationships to each other,” Grange board member Patricia Burk said. “We try to do that in this building.”

Burk cut the ribbon on the new commercial kitchen that was recently completed at the Grange, 680 Grand Ave. Board members hosted a birthday party for the Grange on Saturday afternoon. About 50 people packed into the building to tour the new kitchen and hear historical presentations about the Grange’s inaugural century.

Several people shared stories about their time at the Grange over the years, including Burk, Betsy Harrison, Wally Patcheck, Roma Ewing and Robin Lunders.

Mancos FoodShare Director Gretchen Groenke spoke about the new kitchen and the fundraising effort that paid for the kitchen, and board member Greg Kemp talked about the history of the Grange.

The Mount Lookout Grange was founded in Mancos on April 28, 1917, according to Kemp. The building that currently houses the Grange was built in 1893 in the Cherry Creek area east of Mancos.

The building served as a school and a church before it was moved to its current Mancos location in 1946. The Grange purchased the building in 1950.

Grange membership declined in the early 1970s before the Grange became the home of the Mancos Head Start preschool program in 1974, according to Kemp. Head Start moved in 2013 after the Mancos Preschool was built on Walnut Street across from the school campus.

After Head Start moved, several people, including Burk, decided to revive the Grange and build membership back up.

Harrison said some remarkable things had happened at the Grange in the last two years.

“The board has done a little, but the community has done the rest,” she said. “It’s become a really great community spot.”

Groenke spoke about her involvement with Tiospaye, a Durango-based leadership group that helped raise $50,000 to pay for the kitchen, which will be available for anyone to use.

More than 120 people donated to the effort, from across over the nation and from overseas, Groenke said. There were 23 people involved in the Tiospaye campaign for the kitchen, and the group was able to raise the money in six weeks, she said.

Groenke said she hopes to see the kitchen used for education for the community. It will also be available for small business owners, she said. The kitchen and the Mancos FoodShare could help improve food security and availability for those in need in the Mancos Valley, Groenke added.

“It’s anything under the sun that can happen here,” she said about the Grange.

jacobk@the-journal.com

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