Grange Hall is a residence hall in East Campus at the University of Connecticut, named for the Connecticut Grange Society, a supporter of the University of Connecticut. The State Grange was part of the larger Granger Movement, a group of primarily Midwest farmers who fought monopolistic practices regarding grain transporting in the 1870s.

    Oliver Hudson Kelley, an employee with the Department of Agriculture, made a trip through the southern United States in 1866. While doing so he was stunned by the lack of sound agrarian practices.

    In 1867 he formed the Patrons of Husbandry, which he hoped would unite farmers for educational discussion and social purposes. The organization involved secret rituals and was divided up into local unites called "Granges." In the beginning only Minnesota, Kelly's home state, got involved, but by 1870 nine states had Granges, and by the middle of the decade almost every state had at least one Grange. National membership grew to 800,000.

    Most farmers were drawn to the group to combat the monopolistic railroads, and the grain elevators often owned by them, which charged high rates for transporting farmers' crops and products.

    After 1870 the group became more political as farmers in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin pushed regulatory laws through their state legislatures. These laws were challenged in court and became known as the "Granger Cases," reaching the Supreme Court in 1877. During this time, independent farmers' parties formed across the nation. Ignatius Donnely's weekly newspaper, the Anti-Monopolist, expressed the independent sentiment. Granger leaders urged members to vote for pro-agricultural political candidates, and if the two political parties refused to curtail monopolistic practices, the Grangers turned to their own party.

    As other groups, like the Farmers Alliance and the Greenbacks, rose to power in the later 1870s, the Granger movement lost members. One reason for this was poorly planned, cash-only cooperative stores which failed to take on farmers' real dilemmas; most farmers did not have the cash to participate. By 1880 membership dropped to 100,000, but the group resurged in the twentieth century. The National Grange today is a fraternal organization of farmers who are active in agricultural politics.

    The University of Connecticut has always been indebted to the Grange. On more than one occasion it marched on the State Capital to demand and get new laws, building, or larger appropriations for the university. Former UConn president R.W. Stimson attributed much of the success in getting the appropriation for Storrs Hall to the Grange.


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