A Proud History
it was not yet ten years after the end of the Civil War when the Johnsons, Cheshire Grocers, built a theatr in the hamlet, a place for local citizens (many successful farming families) to enjoy their precious leisure time.
The Cheshire Amusement Company produced and preformed countless musical and dramatic programs, and from the stage were heard musicians from near and far. And locals watched, danced, and listened. In today’s vernacular, it was a major area “destination”.
In 1898 the building was bought by the Knights of the Maccabees, a farmers’ fraternal organization, which continued the use of the building for theatrical and musical events and community meetings. The Academy Grange became the major tenant and bought the building in 1920. The building became known generally as “The Grange”.
Since 1970 the building has been privately owned, and is now sadly deteriorated from its glory days.
A Vital Future
But the glory days are returning for “The Grange.” In spring 2009 the building was purchased by the Cheshire Community Action Team, Inc. (CCAT), a not for profit corporation committed to Cheshire and the the rehabilitation of the building into a vibrant community center.
Future plans call for use of the building for youth programs, for community games and activities, for clubs, and social gatherings, for dances and concerts, for classes, and, yes, for theatrical productions!
The building will be brought “up to code” with commercial grade kitchen and meeting rooms in the lower level, modern restroom facilities, and up-to-date electrical and computer wiring throughout, while preserving the stage and the building’s remarkable original woodwork and wainscoting.
The renovated building will be maintained and operated by CCAT for the use and benefit of residents of the Cheshire area, as a perpetual reminder of its glorious past, and the future promise of the entire Cheshire area.
The Challenge Now
We’re off to a great start: a vibrant not-for-profit organization with a broad community bace, the experience of seven years hard work and success. We’ve already saved the building from decay and destruction.
We’ve got the plans to return it to the area as a community center, to meet educational, social, recreational needs for everyone, and particularly for our youth.
Much of the work has been and can be done by volunteers, amateur and professional. Many services, materials and furnishings can be donated “in kind.” But the success of this project will still require plain old fashioned hard earned money in contributions from our residents, our neighbors, our friends, people who simply appreciate the presence of history in our midst, those who enjoy and support local entertainment and talent, and anyone who wants our young people for study and recreation.
Wanna HELP?? We need workers of EVERY sort….please call Michelle at 905-0519 or 396-7260!
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