Grange 664 – A ghost of the Antelope Valley
This ruin is about 10 miles east of Lancaster, CA. Explored on 10 September 04.
There are many abandoned, unused and lost locales the sunny Mohave Desert and Antelope Valley. One of the first ones I explored was the ruins of Grange Hall 664. What’s the Grange you might ask? It’s a fraternal organization, much like the Moose and Masonic Order, but its primary focus was to organize and support members of the farming community. Although it might be hard to believe now, there was extensive farming in the Mohave and AV from the 1880’s thru 1950’s. Poor planning and the needs of Los Angeles led to water shortages that have reduced farming in this area to a shadow of its former level. I could find no date on the building as to when it was built, though the style and construction techniques might date it to the 1920’s or 30’s.
The building sits right off the road and surrounded by a low fence which in some places has been run over and collapsed. After spending most of the day working on my recalcitrant Jeep, I pulled into the side parking lot of the place. The day was clear and not terribly hot by local standards. Nothing but blue skies and an empty ruin. What could be better?
Looking NE from 90th (portrait)
Relatively new clothes and shoes had been dumped in the main entryway haphazardly. It was as if someone raided Goodwill and decided that the prizes weren’t worth keeping. As I entered the ruin, I was struck by how utterly silent it was. Other than a slight breeze and sound of my idling car nearby, it was completely quiet. I did find that the building had some occupants. A group of industrious bees had built a nest within one of the remaining stucco walls. We ignored each other and continued at our tasks.
Main Entry Detail
Inside2 (Only Residents)
I was surprised by how good this place looked inside, considering its state of desolation. It would be hard to believe that it burned only a few days before rather than nearly 30 years before. Only the interior wall and floors were completely gone. Stucco clung to some walls and even gave hints of what color they had been painted. Notice the window shade pulls in the window frames? Weird, how those could survive a major fire and 30 years of neglect…
Inside the Great Hall
They Lay Where They Fell
To get a different angle, I slipped into a side hallway and went down stairs to the basement access. The windows in the stairway were the only ones still boarded up. Basements are an unusual feature in buildings here. Only older houses and businesses have them due to earthquake risks. I didn’t do any searching under the debris in hopes of finding anything that might date the fire.
A Room With A View
Towards the Utility Room
Interior - Looking Up
Those dark spaces are home to Black Widow Spiders, scorpions and worse. Looking at the bright blue sky through the ruins made the experience though. Picking my way across the collapsed debris, I climbed out through the back door and into the back courtyard
Interior - Detail
Kinda Says It All
The Back Courtyard
Outside Looking In
A swing set sat lonely at the edge of the property. As I turned back to the building I noticed several cans lying around the back of the building. Hummm, a possible culprit for the fire?.. Nope According to the representatives of the nearest Grange, this Hall burned down in the mid 70’s. Contrary to what the pictures might indicate ;), they said that a fire started in the kitchen area (above the basement) and spread to the roof. After the fire, there was little interest, funds or membership remaining to rebuild. Instead, the remaining old-timers merged their Grange chapter with another nearby, and the property was sold to a local utility so they could build a transformer station (100 yards north of the ruins).
Possible Culprit (Detail)
I hope you all have enjoyed this. I'm planning to post several of my other past expeditions here too. Including: The Burro Schmidt (Historic) Mine, The Ghost Town of Garlock, and others.