Co-op Populism In Times Past: Get to Know the Grange

Date(s) - 02/28/2017
7:00 pm

Altona Grange


Today the term “populism” is making a comeback across the political spectrum. But in the late 19th century, the movements that went by that name took some very different forms, and they had cooperative economics at their center. For this meeting of the Colorado Co-ops Study Circle, we’ll visit the historic Altona Grange hall a few miles north of Boulder, founded in 1891.

We’ll hear a presentation from in-house historian Donlyn Arbuthnot, a fourth-generation Grange member whose family helped build the movement in Colorado. She’ll explain how farmers across the country, left behind by the power of industrial capital, came together in Grange halls like this one to pool their knowledge, organize co-ops, and build political power. In 1892, the Grange-powered Populist Party won the governor’s seat in Colorado, and a year later women won the right to vote. But it all began in local halls like this one, under the motto “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all, charity.‚Äč” If we’re lucky, Donlyn might even teach us some secret signs.