Submitted by Lopez Island Grange
The Lopez Island Grange was recently selected as one of 36 of 40 applicants to be recommended for funding through the Washington State Historical Society (WSHS) Heritage Capital Projects (HCP) grant program. Non-profits from across the state submitted project proposals that were ranked by the WSHS advisory committee in a public session on five criteria ranging from community value to operations and maintenance sustainability. Lopez Island Grange ranked at #5 with a total of 94.5 points out of 100. The HCP is a 2-1 matching biennium capital funds grant, focused on preserving historic sites in Washington and providing public access to history.
The ranked list will be forwarded to the Washington Legislature for inclusion in the Historical Society’s capital budget request and voted on for final approval in January 2021. Once approved, contracts will be drawn up and work may begin. All projects must consult with the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) and adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation and be completed by June 30, 2023.
The Lopez Island Grange requested $21,667, with an estimated project cost of $65,000 for stone foundation repair, insulation, weatherization, and energy-efficient heating and cooling upgrades. In the coming year, the Lopez Island Grange will be applying for additional grants and outreaching to the local community through a variety of fundraising initiatives to meet the total costs. This project is the first step in a multi-phased building plan that the Grange board has outlined for needed upgrades and restoration.
“We are honored that the WIHS ranked us so highly and recognizes the historic value of our 117 year old Grange building, to our island community,” said Sue DuMond, Lopez Grange Master. “We want to thank the Lopez Island Historical Society for partnering with us, 40th District Representatives Alex Remel, Debra Lekanoff and Liz Lovelett, the Lopez Island Chamber of Commerce and the many community members for their letters of support that were included with our grant application.”
Built in 1903, the Grange building was originally the Center Schoolhouse, one of four schools on Lopez Island before the district consolidated in the 1940s. Shortly after, Lopez Island Grange #1060 was formed and the building provided a valuable meeting place for island farmers, as well as other community functions. Those uses continue today. The volunteer Lopez Island Grange membership and board has stewarded the building ever since, conducting monthly Grange meetings, as well as making it available for community usage and being responsible for its ongoing maintenance. The building retains much of its original historic character and as a cherished island institution, it continues to be a vital community-gathering place.
“The vote of confidence that this grant gives us adds to the momentum we have been building upon for the last several years and sure keeps our spirits up,” said Jodie Snapp, Grange Lecturer. “Prior to COVID, we were booked solidly into the fall with Grange sponsored events and community rentals that supported our ongoing maintenance and restoration efforts. The loss of that revenue is significant, but we continue to move forward and are hopeful that we will be able to open our doors again soon.”
This summer will see the completion of the painting of the exterior of the building, as well as, some well and pump house improvements. A series of online end of the summer fundraising concerts “Live from the Grange Lawn” are planned, with the first scheduled for this Sun. Aug. 30 at 7 p.m., with old-time new roots musician McKain Lakey. “Although we aren’t able to meet in person, we hope people will join in and support us virtually,” added DuMond.