Yankee Hill and Concow California

Sponsored by Yankee Hill Grange

The Yankee Hill Grange#735

Serving Yankee Hill and Concow areas

History of Concow Grange No. 735

On March 31, 1948, a meeting of interested residents of the Yankee Hill area was held at Concow School for the purpose of organizing Concow Grange No. 735. Brother Lattin of Biggs and Brother Clendenin of Durham were present to assist in the proceeding. Minutes of that first meeting are short and to the point: “The first meeting of the Concow Subordinate Grange was held at Concow School house on March 31, 1948. The meeting was called to order by Brother Lattin of Biggs. The work and purpose of the Grange was set forth by Brother Lattin who was ably assisted by Brother Clendennin from the Durham Grange. After the process of organization was explained to the prospective members the election of officers was ordered. The following were nominated and elected by secret ballot. Worthy Master, Bro. F. Malinoski, Secretary - Bro. H. H. Boulton, Lecturer - Sister Mary Ellen Brown. Other offices were left vacant until next meeting with more attendance. It was decided to meet again the next Wednesday on April 7 at 8 p.m. There being no further business the meeting was adjourned. Fraternally Submitted, H. H. Boulton, Sec.”

It may be interesting to note that Concow Grange has been meeting consistently on the first Wednesday of each month since April 7, 1948. The time has been changed from 8:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., but the date has remained constant.

The Charter was signed by thirty people, two of whom are still living in our community, James Moak and Mary Ellen Brown. Although June and Ray Giles did not sign the Charter at that time, they were obligated as members in May of 1948 and have been members in good standing ever since. Unfortunately, both James Moak and Mary Ellen Brown allowed their membership to lapse and then rejoined, so although they are definitely Charter Members, they n have not been affiliated for the entire 50 years.

The first assessment of dues was voted in May of 1948, the amount being set at $.25 per month per member. In the beginning and for a number of years, two meetings were held each month. The first ballot box was made by Enos Brown. Later Chico Grange donated one to us and the box being used currently was made by John Felder.

One of the first items of business for this newly formed Subordinate Grange was to attempt to persuade Butte County to improve the roads in the area. It is interesting to note that a good portion of the meeting times during 1949 were spent in discussion and debate regarding the unification of the school district. Most of the Grange members were in opposition to the proposal. But, I think it happened anyway.

In April of 1949, it was voted to assess members $.25 if they missed two consecutive meetings without sufficient cause. This motion was rescinded in June of 1949, probably because it was found to be contrary to the National Digest.

Plans to construct a hail were begun early on and many avenues were explored. Finally, in April of 1950, a special “Building Fund” was established, the monies deposited therein to be used solely for the purpose of building a hail. The first fundraiser, a BBQ, was held in August of 1950 and it was voted to have one on the first Sunday of August each year thereafter. This tradition continued for many years thereafter, until sometime in the mid-’80s.

Jr. January of 1951, the Grange initiated a petition to the Telephone Company, requesting that telephone lines be installed to serve the Yankee Hill area. About this same time, the Grange made a valiant effort to retain a post office in this locality and it was finally re-established at the Pines Store. In 1953, attempts were made to withdraw from the Paradise Recreation District because of dissatisfaction with that organization. Another Grange project at that time was attempting to locate a site for a local garbage dump. I didn’t actually find anything more about that, but I do remember that when I first came to this area, there was a large dumpster located about where Fire Station 37 now stands. However, by the time I became a resident, the dumpster was gone and the fire station had been erected.

In March of 1953, a Site donated by Brother Ralph Miller was family decided upon for the Grange Hall. However, before funds were available or building begun, in 1957 the present site was offered by Mr. and Mrs. Paulo Grieco and it was deemed to be a better-idea than the lot previously settled upon, and the property was deeded to the Grange. It was also in the year 1957 that Concow Grange was incorporated. I presume the name Concow was chosen rather than Yankee Hill because the early meetings were held at Concow School. That is just a guess, since there is no record of discussion regarding the name of the Grange. However, the seal has always read, “Concow Grange, Yankee Hill, California.”

In August or September of 1958, A Mr. Dolligan was paid $225.00 to level the building site and late that same year, the possibility of purchasing a metal building was discussed. Then, in February of 1959, a building was located for sale in Alameda at the Signal Oil Company plant. Brothers Baisley, Giles, and Nalley inspected the building and, thinking it a good buy, made a $50.00 deposit. It was then decided to borrow $2500.00 from the Credit Union to purchase the building, break it down, and transport it. Brothers Nalley, Baisley, Giles, and Truex volunteered to do the work. Brother Nalley was to get the building permit and arrange for a sanitation inspection. He also volunteered to arrange for the service pole. Brother Giles was to be in charge of getting the electricity hooked up.

In 1959, more leveling of the site was undertaken by Brother James Moak. The power pole was installed in 1960 and received approval of Pacific Gas and Electric Company. About this same time, some surplus building material was purchased from the school.

In 1960, dues were raised to $.50 a month, making them $6.00 a year, but in July, 1961, they were dropped to $4.00 because the members were complaining that $6.00 was too high.

The Committee to supervise the building of the hail consisted of Brothers Nalley, Lockridge, and Giles. Many work days ensued with many brothers and sisters volunteering their time. Also, brothers from other Granges in the County contributed time, as well. Mr. Earl Hoerschel, who later became a Grange member, was hired to put in the forms and clean out the excavation. By December, 1960, the foundation had been pured and the septic was inplace, although minus the lid. And then, late in 1961, an incident occurred which proved to be most fortuitous for Concow Grange--a truck hauling lumber turned over and dumped its whole load down the side of the road in the Feather River Canyon. The Grange members were able to acquire the lumber for a small amount of money and a whole lot of work!

There is in our files a note, handwritten on a piece of yellow lined paper, which reads as follows:

December 21, 1961

Garpo (sic) Gap, Calif.

This statement is to represent in every legal facet a witnessed Bill of Sale for Salvage located west of Garpo Gap on Hwy 40A at approx. 1-112 mile west of the 1st Drinking Fountain.

I have received as a legal representative of the U. S. Fire Insurance Co. a check drawn on the First National Bank of Oroville by the Concow Grange No#735 for the amount of $180.00. For this consideration I render the entire right of title, free and without Lien, the 1” x 8” ship lap lumber carried by the Poppert Truck Lines and is now resting below the grade of U. S. 40A, on the north side. Such amount of material is 25,000 Bd Feet. Original Cost $1,802.73.

Is! John W. Galbreath

Brown Bros. Adj. Chico


/s/ B. Nelson

A Building Permit was issued to the Yankee Hill Grange on June 3, 1959. It was signed by Clay Castleberry, Deputy Director of the Butte County Department of Public Works. The Director at that time was R. P. O’Neill and the telephone number at the Courthouse was LEnox 3-1230. The permit was mailed to Mrs. B. J. Detlow under cover of a letter which read: “Enclosed is your Riley Act building permit No. 855 for the Yankee Hill Grange. Would you contact this office prior to pouring any concrete to enable us to check the forms. The $30 building permit fee should be made payable to the Treasurer of Butte County.”

A handwritten receipt in the file, dated July 2, 1959, on Department of Public Works  letterhead reads: “Received $30.00 from Esther J. Detlow for Riley Act Building Permit No. 855 made payable to Treasurer of Butte County.” /s/ Adele Sinkey

If memory serves me correctly, when we were getting permits to build our house, we were required to go to Oroville with check in hand (a large check). Times do change.

By 1962, the building was usable. The total cost up to that time was $3300.00. The sign on the building was painted by Brother Strong of Chico and installed in November of 1962. The piano was donated by Brother Fred Hart and in 1963, a cook stove was donated by Mr. McGhavey. The first oil heaters were presented to the Grange by Brothers Tom Heath and Lorin Baisley. In 1967, the porch and anteroom were added to the hail. The deep freeze was purchased in 1969. Many of the items donated during this period of time have since been replaced, but all of the original furniture was donated by members or friends of the Grange. The well was completed in 1970 and paid off in 1972.

The new hall was dedicated on October 1, 1967, nineteen years and six months after the organizing meeting of 1948!