Prior to October 1908 Yakima County did not have a grange. That all changed when the Outlook Grange was established on Oct. 16 of that year.
Throughout the last 100 years, the grange has served community members providing family events, sponsoring scouting troops, 4-H clubs, a variety of family-friendly activities and helping promote legislation beneficial to the agricultural community.
Grange member Pat Barr said, "Historically speaking, the Sunnyside Pomona has supplied dictionaries to third grade students throughout the Lower Yakima Valley."
The Sunnyside Pomona is the group of granges throughout Yakima Valley.
The grange has seen many changes in its time. There were 57 charter members and there are currently 60 members and 11 gold star members. Gold star members are members who have been part of the grange for 50 years or more, and there are two descendents among them who are descendents of the original membership...Dorothy Cullen and her sister, Marjorie.
Cullen said, "The grange was one of the first fraternities to include wives." She said families gathered for dancing, baseball games, plays and other events, creating close bonds among its members.
"A lot has been lost as families no longer seem to join (the grange) and gather in common settings," she stated.
As a result of societal changes, the Sunnyside Pomona size has decreased from 11 combined granges to five remaining granges, including Buena Grange, Outlook Grange, Sunny Valley Grange and Alfalfa Grange.
The Wanita Grange, located on Sunnyside/Mabton Highway and established Dec. 15, 1908, was the second grange in Yakima County. However, it disbanded earlier this year.
The granges were established through the work of Sam T. Shell, who was the deputy grange organizer in 1908.
The decline in operational granges, according to Cullen, has been due to a lack of young members and rising costs associated with operations and dues.
As a member of the Outlook Grange for approximately 72 years, Marjory Wright, said other changes have occurred throughout the history of the grange. One change occurred during World War II. The members saw the membership make-up change as many of its men went into battle. Of those who fought in the war, only one member, Hershel Moore, was killed.
"That is surprising," she said, stating the other members returned following their service.
Wright is not the oldest member of the Outlook grange. That honor belongs to Ben Moore.
Cullen said, "The grange has been a resource for the community. There have been weddings, anniversary parties and other family occasions in the building."
Barr said the grange has also hosted candidate forums for political campaigns.
The Sunnyside Pomona is also involved in awarding scholarships to high school students seeking a college education.
Cullen added the grange was a precinct for elections until recent changes in the voting process.
"We are seeing long-time traditions slowly become lost to change," she commented.
The group, however, has hopes the grange will continue.
In honor of Outlook Grange's centennial anniversary, a potluck dinner will be held Saturday, Oct. 18, at 6:30 p.m.
Barr said the community is invited to the dinner and the members would like families to attend.