Historic Night for Great Falls Grange

Historic Night for Great Falls Grange

Eleven Great Falls organizations to present vision for community use of Grange to Supervisor John Foust in September.

The Grange was built in 1929 and used to be the community center of Great Falls. “The Grange could be the jewel of Great Falls,” said Jorge Adeler, the way it was in the past.

The Grange was built in 1929 and used to be the community center of Great Falls. “The Grange could be the jewel of Great Falls,” said Jorge Adeler, the way it was in the past. Photo by Ken Moore.

Eleven Great Falls organizations reconvened last Wednesday night, Aug. 17, 2016, to solidify their vision that would bring the Great Falls Grange back to life, in line with efforts of local farmers who built the community gathering place in 1929.

Jorge Adeler called the meeting “historic.”

“We have incredible, incredible plans for the community,” said Adeler.

Two days later, Adeler sat at his desk in his jewelry store in Great Falls Village Center, when Dranesville Supervisor John W. Foust called.

“It has taken only four years, unbelievable,” Adeler said to the Dranesville Supervisor.

“In my world, that’s lightning speed,” Foust could be overheard, joking on the phone with Adeler.

The group will call itself the Great Falls Grange Project.


The Grange can become the centerpiece of the Great Falls community once again, as farmers envisioned when they built the Grange for the community in 1929.

THE GREAT FALLS GRANGE was the first grange hall built in Virginia and one of five granges built in Fairfax County, said Kathleen Murphy, president of the Great Falls Historical Society.

In March 2015, the community celebrated renovations to the 1929 Great Falls Grange Hall building that made it accessible to all.

“For far too long, it was not accessible to our residents with disabilities and to our senior citizens,” said Supervisor John Foust, who helped secure $350,000 for the $503,000 project from County carry-over funds in 2013. The Fairfax County Park Authority funded the balance.

“A really impressive group of community organizations got together and signed a letter to me basically asking for more access to these facilities.” Foust said. “The proposal was that I would get the Grange made ADA accessible and they would come forward with a proposal that community groups would take responsibility for these two buildings.”

“If the community groups come together the way I think they might and the way it was initially proposed, I see something more grand here.”

THE LAST TWO years, representatives from Great Falls organizations, coordinated by Adeler, have met to discuss hope of making the Great Falls Grange a community building once again.

“The potential is extraordinary,” Adeler has said in the past. “The possible activities for community use, for youth, senior citizens, adults, artists, musicians, nonprofits and the entire community are endless.”

At last Wednesday’s meeting, Doug Cobb said the Great Falls Historical Society hopes to use the School House “as a museum with meeting rooms for small groups and fully staffed welcome staff both for the Grange and for the town of Great Falls,” according to minutes of the meeting.

The historical society hopes to invite schoolchildren to study in the schoolhouse so students can envision their community’s history.

The Amadeus Orchestras envisions quartets and music enlivening the halls of the Grange with afternoon teas.

Arts of Great Falls can have exhibitions, festivals and classes.

The Great Falls Optimist Club can conduct tutoring.

And more.

“Each group is fascinated with the potential. I think it will be glorious,” said Adeler.

The Great Falls Historical Society is hopeful the Museum could be in place for its 40th anniversary in April 2017.


The Grange was built in 1929 to be the social center of Great Falls. Now that it is accessible to all, after long-needed ADA renovations, the community hopes it will become a hub of community activity once again.

BUT HOLD YOUR HORSES, Foust said to Adeler on their telephone call on Friday, Aug. 19.

There’s a process that needs to take place.

The groups will present their proposal to Foust and the Park Authority, which owns the building and currently rents the building to community groups.

Then, there will be need for a public meeting, with the community having a chance to give input, and let the Park Authority respond, before plans are finalized

“The devil is in the details,” said Adeler.

“I believe you’re 90 percent there,” said Foust.

Adeler and the Great Falls Citizens Association first became involved back in 2012, according to historic notes, kept on the grand Grange vision.

Glen Sjoblom, then co-chair of GFCA’s Long Range Planning Committee summarized a history of the Grange and Old School House on Feb. 28, 2012.

“They have been and should remain as key to our heritage, and central to community life, as they have been all these years,” he said at the meeting.

In a letter to the Fairfax County Park Authority, Sjoblom and Doug Cobb wrote, “We believe Mr. Adeler will pursue further the idea of developing a community organization to consider a long-term lease for the two facilities, that can be accomplished in cooperation with your office, and result in community management oversight of these facilities.”

Adeler’s patience and persistence has the project on its way.

The Great Falls Grange Project is scheduled to hold its first Board of Directors meeting on Sept. 15.

“This is going to be incredible,” said Adeler. He said that ever since he came to Great Falls it has been his dream that Great Falls Village would “find its heart in not only the fact of having a place to meet face to face, but also in the process of achieving that feat.”

Board members of the Grange Falls Grange Project plan to call Foust on Sept. 16, 2016 to arrange the exact time they will present their proposal.

“I can’t wait to see it,” said Foust.

Coalition of Eleven for the Grange

Eleven Great Falls community groups share a vision for community control of Grange.

Great Falls Optimists Club

See www.optimist.org/ClubDetail.cfm?club=16080

Optimist International is a worldwide volunteer organization made up of more than 2,500 local Clubs whose members work each day to make the future brighter by bringing out the best in children, in their communities, and in themselves. Currently, the Great Falls Optimist Club meets at the Great Falls Library on the first Thursday of each Month at 6:30 -8:30 pm

Great Falls Historical Society

See www.gfhs.org/

The Great Falls Historical Society will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2017. The organization was organized in 1977 to promote community spirit by bringing the past into the present through: monthly programs on local history, preservation advocacy to protect historic structures in Great Falls, programs, contests and awards for students, publication of historical essays, collection and preservation of historic artifacts and photographs of Great Falls, oral history interviews of current and earlier residents, genealogical research, tours of historic site, and its newsletter, the Chronicler.

Great Falls Community Farmers Market


The Great Falls Community Farmer’s Market provides the residents of Great Falls with a community farmers market year round. The market is a “producer-only” market, and only vendors who grow, cultivate, produce or make their products may sell at the market.

During the summer, the market is located at 778 Walker Road Parking Lot, next to Wells Fargo Bank. In the winter, the Farmers Market will take place in the Great Falls Grange.

Great Falls Citizens Association

See www.gfca.org

Since 1968, the Great Falls Citizens Association has worked on behalf of the citizens of Great Falls to protect, defend and improve the quality of life in the Great Falls community.

According to Great Falls Citizens Association:

“Since Great Falls is not legally a city, we lack a town government to represent our local interests. GFCA acts in an unofficial capacity to represent the voices of the citizens of Great Falls. On Great Falls issues, no other organization has GFCA's influence with elected leaders at the County and State level, or is as respected by them.”

Committees include: land use and zoning; environment, parks and trails; long range planning and development; communication and outreach; transportation; membership; nominations; trails; and groundwater contamination.

Amadeus Concerts

See www.amadeusconcerts.com

The Amadeus Concerts, Inc. began in 1980 as the Great Falls Music Society. The mission of Amadeus Concerts included delivering fine music to local communities and music education and outreach for all ages. The board continues to be dedicated to maintaining affordable admission and encourages attendance by families and seniors.

Arts of Great Falls

See www.greatfallsart.org

756 Walker Road

The Arts of Great Falls has a mission is to expand opportunities for art education, expression and professional development in the Great Falls community, and to network with other individuals and organizations that share these goals. Founded in 2007, GFFFTA changed its name to The Arts of Great Falls in 2014 and expanded the mission to include all arts including visual, performing arts and literary arts. In May 2015, the foundation moved to new space in the Village Centre of Great Falls on the Green.

Great Falls Studios


P.O. Box 566, 10001 Georgetown Pike

Great Falls Studios was founded in May 2003 and promotes the artistic endeavors of Great Falls artists through its network of continuous communication among the members, its contact with other community organizations, its several annual exhibitions, and other events in the community. Great Falls Studios seeks to increase the opportunities for experiencing art in the Great Falls community and to support other community organizations.

Great Falls Friends and Neighbors

See www.gffnva.org/

The foundation for Great Falls Friends and Neighbors [GFFN] is a result of a 2011 merger of two local women's clubs, the Great Falls Woman's Club and Newcomers of Great Falls. The Great Falls Woman's Club was founded in 1980 and Newcomers of Great Falls was founded in 1982. The purpose of GFFN is to establish and foster an atmosphere in which new and current members can develop new friendships and community contacts through social, cultural, civic, and philanthropic activities.

Turner Farm Events

See www.turnerfarmevents.org/

Great Falls Business and Professional Association Great Falls Senior Citizens See /www.gfseniors.org/