By APRIL GUILMET
Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- Members of Londonderry Grange No. 44 are hoping this weekend’s annual wreath sale will help bring them yet another step closer to restoring the historic Mammoth Road building.
The long process of replacing the structure’s worn cedar shingles began in the summer of 2009, though funding has presented an ongoing challenge, Grange spokeswoman Karen Flaherty-Himber said this week.
“To date, we have done the front and back of the building,” Flaherty-Himber said, noting that the Grange is about $1,000 short of funds needed to re-shingle the wall facing Pillsbury Road.
Once that’s accomplished, the structure, which dates to the early 1900s, will still have one remaining wall in need of new shingles.
In 2004, the local Grange was registered on the state Registry of Historic Sites. Grange No. 44 was chartered in 1876, though the building itself is somewhat newer.
Over the years the structure has seen its share of wear and tear. Adding to its challenges, the building currently has no running water, modern bathroom facilities or a functioning kitchen.
Grange Master Hank Peterson has previously said he receives about two or three inquiries from residents each month, with many folks interested in renting the building for their bridal showers, birthday parties or other private functions. Most change their minds, however, after learning that the Grange lacks the modern amenities most of us take for granted.
Grange officials previously estimated that connecting the Grange to the town’s water and sewer system, in addition to completing the site’s shingling and renovating the outdated kitchen and bathrooms, would cost approximately $50,000.
Last summer, Grange No. 44 was named a candidate for a $50,000 community grant through the Pepsi Company’s Project Refresh, where residents were urged to go online and cast their votes.
Ranked No. 169 out of 337 eligible projects, the local Grange unfortunately lost out on the funding, which was given only to the 10 highestranked projects.
Still, local Grangers are hoping current and future fundraisers will continue paving the way for the future.
“We hope we can raise the needed funds over the winter, in time for spring repair,” Flaherty-Himber said, noting that the club is always seeking new members.
The wreath sale will take place this Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Mammoth Road Grange from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit the Grange’s website, www.londonderrygrange. com.