While still trying to determine a more precise date of creation, it has been confirmed that the Grange Mural was created by Elizabeth Holter Howard, a member of the Ballenger Creek Grange. The mural was given to Frederick County Public Libraries (FCPL) by the Historical Society of Frederick County (HSFC). The HSFC originally received it as a gift from Mr. & Mrs. Ray Compton. It is believed that the Comptons purchased the mural from either an estate sale or an auction, and stored it for a few years before giving it to the HSFC.
Research and examination of photographs from other agricultural collections in the Thurmont Center leads us to believe that this mural was originally created to be displayed at fairs or show booths. Granges would create such displays to promote the importance of agriculture in the community. At this time, we are not sure if our mural was created by members of only one grange, or if it was a work of collaboration by members of different granges from across Frederick County.
Currently, we can date the mural from somewhere in the 1960’s based on the latest examples of technology (i.e., automobiles & tractors) identified in the painting.
We are also able to potentially identify a few of the structures depicted in the mural, but the others remain a mystery. Please stop by the Thurmont Center for Agricultural History to view this amazing piece of local history for yourself!
If you have any information about this painting, please contact Mary K. Mannix, Maryland Room Manager at 301-600-1368 or mmannix@FrederickCountyMD.gov.
For additional details and information about this painting, or granges in general, please check out the article “Home on the Grange”, written by Mary Mannix on July 3, 2008 in the Gazette.