How about joining the Ney Grange?

The only surviving Grange in DeKalb County, Ney Grange, was founded in 1929 and is celebrating its 85th year in 2014. To find out more about joining this heritage group dedicated to community service and preserving our rural heritage contact any officer listed below or call 815-758-5424. All citizens age 14 and up are eligible to become members. Dues start at $20 for the first year.

(In Photo) Officeholders in the revived Ney Grange #1845 gathered at the 1835 Miller-Ellwood log cabin near Genoa for this photo after their installation ceremonies on April 21, 2013. From left are Ney Vice President Bill Braksick, Executive Committee member and Grange historian Steve Bigolin, Chaplain Rev. Harlene Harden, Executive Committee member George Astling, Flora--Mildred Drake, Lady Assistant Steward Emily Weil, Gatekeeper Dale Swanson, Secretary Lori Swanson, Treasurer Joanne Helmold, President Barry Schrader, young Madelynn Swanson (down in front), and State Grange President and installing officer Lyle Lee.

Officers not shown include Lecturer Tom Rhoads, Steward George Helmold, Grange Musician Kay Schrader, and Executive Committee members Roger Watson and Debbie Behrends. There were 30 members and officers installed in the local Grange, the only remaining chapter in DeKalb County and one of only 31 in the state.

Their main project will focus on the restoration, maintenance and serving as docents for the historic log cabin at the Hoppe farmstead. They normally meet the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Mayfield Congregational Church south of Kingston on Church Road. For information on joining or visiting a meeting, call 815-758-5424, or go to the website or

The Grange also maintains a mailing address at P.O. Box 44, Genoa, IL 60135


State Rep. Bob Pritchard addressed the inaugural meeting of the revived Ney Grange #1845 on April 21 at the Hoppe Farmstead between Genoa and Kingston on Pleasant Hill Road, now part of the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District. The Grange elected officers and inducted new members which now total 29 people. Also in the photo from left are State Grange Vice President Adam Ellwanger, Ney President/Master Barry Schrader and seated Executive Committee members Marlin Chaplin, George Astling and Steve Bigolin, with Grange pianist Kay Schrader in back.

Other public officials in attendance included Genoa Mayor Mark Vicary and his wife, Kirkland Village President Les Bellah, Sycamore Mayor Ken Mundy and his wife, DeKalb Mayor John Rey, and DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott. (David Hegberg Photo)

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Photo Gallery

This 1835 two-story log cabin was found inside an old farmhouse near Genoa, Illinois three years ago and is being authentically restored by the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District on its new site off Pleasant Hill Road south of Route 72 between Genoa and Kingston. The reconstituted Ney Grange may choose to work with the Forest Preserve management to restore, maintain and act as docents for the county's newest landmark and tourist attraction.


Illinois State Grange President Lyle Lee shown presiding at the reorganizational meeting of the Ney Grange at a Genoa museum on March 26, 2013

This was the original Ney Grange Hall north of Genoa on Eisenhower Road just north of its intersection with Melms Road. The hall was originally the Ney Methodist Church with a cemetery still existing next to it. After the Grange sold it around 1990 it has been used as a private residence.

Longtime Master of the Ney Grange Arden Awe displays the historic "blackball box" that was used for many years for Grange members to vote in secret whether to admit a new candidate for membership. The black marbles were used to deny a person membership. Marbles were secretly placed through a hole between the two compartments by each member and then counted by the appropriate officer. If a black marble showed up in the other compartment it meant the person was denied membership. This regressive practice is no longer used by the Granges. Awe was Master of Ney for some 50 years until his health began failing in recent years.