Grange Hall in North Hyde Park

This photograph of the Gihon Valley Grange Hall in North Hyde Park, first known as the Valley Hall, appeared in the 2014 book “Images of America: Hyde Park” by James and Monica Heath, courtesy of the Heath/Savage family.

This was the first paragraph in a News & Citizen story from Dec. 22, 1994: “Gihon Valley Grange has closed its doors for the final time since its origins in 1910.”

A different line might be someday written about the 1910 building on Route 100 in North Hyde Park — a group of history lovers is hoping the Grange building will once again open its doors to the public.

First, though, the town has to take official ownership of the property it has all but owned for the past 24 years. According to Hyde Park town administrator Ron Rodjenski, the town has started the process of officially getting the deed.

The town started a “lawsuit to quiet title” on May 24. Rodjenski said that if, by July 14, no one else lays claim to the property, it is the town’s.

“Housekeeping is one way to look at it,” he said. “We’re just waiting to see if anyone objects to it and says, ‘Hey, I own that.’”

Voters at town meeting in March authorized the town spending $50,000 on the property, which includes getting access to a clean title. Rodjenski said this could have been done for about $1,000 in the mid-1990s, but that expense now is closer to $7,500.

The rest of the money would be put directly into the property, including a roof repair.

Gihon Valley Grange No. 379 “ceased to exist” in March of 1995, according to the minutes from a March 23, 1995 Hyde Park select board meeting. A resolution passed by the board said the Grange had conveyed the building to the town, to “be used for the community purpose of the inhabitants of North Hyde Park as such purposes may be designated by any corporation for such purposes after the Grange ceases to exist.”

In other words, the building should be used for Hyde Park functions, and it’s been about four years since its last use — a Hyde Park Home Day event, according to Rodjenski.

The town’s Historic Sites committee would like revive the place as a community center — a shared space for clinics, classes and meetings, performances and seasonal gatherings like craft fairs, or even as a wedding venue.

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