Featured slider Talks

The History of the Williamstown Grange and the Grange Hall

Saturday, March 26th at 11 am

in the Community Room, Milne Public Library, 1095 Main Street, Williamstown, MA

Thanks to WilliNet Community Television for taping this program. Click the link below to watch.



Please join us for a free lecture and panel discussion on the History of the Williamstown Grange and Grange Hall on Saturday, March 26 at 11 am in the Community Room at the Milne Public Library.

Alex Carlisle, who owns the Grange Hall on Water Street with his wife, Beth Carlisle, will talk about the early history of the Grange and of the Grange building and property since 2005, followed by recollections from current Williamstown Grange President, Nancy Lescarbeau, and members Susan Bernardy and Maureen O’Mara.

The National Grange was founded in 1867, and identifies itself as “…a family, community organization with its roots in agriculture…”and “…a national organization with a local focus.

The Grange movement caused quite a stir when first introduced in Berkshire County, but within a decade every town and city had one. Williamstown was fairly late to the trend, forming a Grange here in 1888. Following a long search for a permanent location, the Grange building on Water Street became the long term home of the Williamstown Grange until 2005.

Bernardy, the daughter of Grangers and one herself since she was 17, will be bringing some of her ribbons, won at the annual Grange Fair in September. “I so looked forward to that fair every year!,” she exclaimed, remembering when there was a ferris wheel and horse drawing and such, outdoors, and all the handiwork, baking, and vegetables entered for judging, inside the hall. The very popular horse show started out as part of the fair, and then evolved into a separate event.

While we still do the rituals, discuss the state of the agricultural industry, and hold seasonal agricultural programs in our monthly meetings now, there used to be lots of social events – suppers, fundraisers, entertainments. It seemed like everyone belonged to the Grange back then, so there were always a lot of people at Grange events.”

Both Carlisle and the current Grangers will have photos, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia on hand to share with attendees.

The Milne Public Library is located at 1095 Main Street, on the south side of Field Park at the northern junction of Routes 2 & 7 in Williamstown. Ample parking is available and the building is handicap accessible. Admission free.


Alexander M. Carlisle moved to Williamstown in 1995 to work at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center as a conservator of furniture and wooden artifacts, and has called Williamstown home for the past twenty-seven years. Before choosing art conservation as a career, Alex also trained and worked as a carpenter, timber framer, and furniture-maker and holds a life-long interest in historic preservation, land use, and architecture. He was most recently employed, as Senior Art Conservator at Historic New England, the oldest historic preservation group in the country.