Site of Town hall, Opera house, Grange Hall

Site of Town Hall

Town hall, Opera house, Grange Hall

As a center of community life, the town hall housed the local opera, complete with stage and curtains. Picture yourself joining your family inside for a theatrical performance or attending a meeting of the Forestry Club or Woodmen of the World.  Together, the town hall and church served as the social center of the budding 1880s townsite.

In 1904, L. L. Freeman sold stock for $1 a share to fund the construction of the opera house. By comparing pictures of the old Howard town hall/opera house and the Grange, it appears the townspeople merely remodeled the town hall to convert it into the Grange Hall. Clarence Kelso, among others, was instrumental in founding the Grange in the 1930s.  Dances and parties were enjoyed by the townspeople from the 1940s through the 1950s. People came from neighboring communities such as Cotopaxi and Coaldale to join in the  fun. Long-time Howard resident Pearl Auckland talked about the dances. She said they were big affairs – all the women wore long gowns. In 1976, Verl Freek was Master of the Grange. After the Grange building was razed in 1978, Verl conveyed all the Grange memorabilia to the Western Fremont Historical Society (WFHS).

Landmarks on Historic Howard Heritage Tour