Through a public-private partnership agreement with the Fairfax County Park Authority, the Great Falls Grange Foundation will operate and maintain the historic property, which will serve as a community meeting place, a hub for classes and activities and a venue for public and private events.
The Grange is currently the last standing unchanged grange hall in Virginia. It is listed on the Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places.
The park authority and the foundation are expected to ratify an agreement on Saturday (March 12) at 1 p.m.
Jorge Adeler, a prominent local businessman and community fixture, pitched the idea nearly a decade ago, according to FCPA.
Adeler asked Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust to help him make the Grange a community gathering pace.
“Since then, Jorge and many other local leaders have worked patiently to address and resolve several obstacles that were encountered. It is a tribute to their passion for their community that, with the wonderful support of the Park Authority, they have now achieved their goal. I am very pleased for them and I am certain that the Grange Foundation will be an excellent steward of these awesome historic properties,” Foust wrote in a statement.
Adeler, co-president of the foundation, said he was grateful that Great Falls will have a gathering place for the community.
“This effort has truly been for the ‘Love of Great Falls,'” he said.
The Grange Hall, which has two levels, has space for up to 200 guests. Built in 1889, the historic schoolhouse has capacity for 49 people. The outdoor pavilion can seat up to 40 guests.
The county hopes to use the public-private partnership as a model for future collaborations. The hall will eventually become a self-supporting community center for Great Falls.
Plans call for improvements to the building and new landscaping. The parking lot will also be refreshed with new gravel and more lighting.
The first Grange was founded in 1869 in New York. After membership declined and dairy farms shifted to suburban development, the Grange and its grounds were sold to FCPA in 1981.
Photo via FCPA
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