Why They Call It - GRANGEVILLE



( This is one in a series of sketches which will appear in the Sunday Tribune on the origin of names of towns of the Lewiston region.  Much significance often attaches to the names of cities and towns, and in many instances much greater interest would be enlisted if it were known why the towns were given their name)


The cow pasture which once formed part of the ranch of John M. Crooks today is the site of the most populous city on Camas and Nez Perce prairies – Grangeville.


In August, 1874, members of Charity Grange of Patrons of Husbandry were organized.  They wanted a site for a hall, but Loyal C. Brown, one of the leading citizens of the community, was not in favor of the grange and would not give them the land.  Then John Crooks, who settled his farm in 1865, offered the site and a flour mill and meeting place were built in 1876, which the grangers finances by forming a stock company.  Brown later changed his attitude toward the grange.


The new enterprise was known as the “grange mill” and became the nucleus for Grangeville.  The first store was opened in 1876 by William Hill and the first newspaper, the Idaho County Free Press, was established soon after by the late A.F. Parker.  A bank was established in 1892 when a movement was started to change the county seat from Florence to Grangeville, but this was not secured until 1902.


Grangeville had its first “boom” with the rich discoveries of gold at Buffalo Hump, and has maintained its position as the metropolis of the prairie since.  It was incorporated as a town in 1898 and the first rain over the new railroad from Lewiston arrived on December 9, 1908.


Grangeville is an important shipping point for grain, cattle, sheep and hogs and is also a distribution center for the Elk City and adjoining mining districts.  A substantially built town with many brick blocks, it is also the center of many commercial enterprises.  It had a population of 1,360 when the 1930 census was taken.



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