Small Towns: South Greenville Grange Hall holds memories for farming families

GREENVILLE, Wis. - Just off of State Highway 76 in Greenville, there's a two story brick building that was constructed nearly 90 years ago. It remains the foundation of generations worth of farming family's memories.

"There's a lot of history here," explained Marilyn Jacobson. "We were looking at some books going way back to when we were young. That's a long time ago."

This is the South Greenville Grange Hall, a place where members of the grange, farmers, learned to talk about agriculture and shared knowledge with each other.

"It's a fraternal organization that helped the farmers," explained Barbara Eckstein. "They had a store here and they worked with the government for the betterment of farming life."

It was so much more than just a club with 400 members during its peak. During the 30's, 40's and 50's, it was a place to socialize, meet new people and perhaps most importantly, dance.

"My heart would almost skip a beat when I would come up the steps and hear the polkas being played and the fun. I just couldn't wait to see the people dancing around," one woman explained.

"Anybody that went to the Greenville grange wedding dance, you'll dress up in your finest," said Wayne Pingel.

Countless people had their wedding receptions at the grange, and so many more met their future husbands and wives on the dance floor.

"Big, stocky farmer would come and you'd get him as a partner and you could really go because circle two-step was fun," Eckstein said.

And today, now that the Greenville Grange is just one of two such halls in Wisconsin still in use, it's perhaps more important now than ever that its history is shared.

"There's a lot of memories here. We made a lot of nice friends here."

The South Greenville Grange is having an Open House from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, October 28.

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