Members of the Cranston Oak Lawn Grange have reported several incidents of vandalism at both the grange and the nearby gazebo, both located off Oaklawn and Wilbur Avenues.
Ray Klein, Chair of the Agriculture and Building Committee of the Oak Lawn Grange, has reported that the vandals have been destroying the gazebo by kicking in the spindles, breaking them in two and painting graffiti.
“In the past, they have cut the wires on our Christmas lights. We recently obtained a ramp to attach to our grange building, and now it has been moved to the back of the building and used as a bike ramp,” said Klein.
He also said vandals have removed the cap off the grange oil tank and have painted graffiti over the bridge trellis going over Wilbur Avenue. The City of Cranston has repainted some of the damage done.
“We will be increasing patrols in that area and District 3 and Lt. Paul Saccoccia will be working on formulating a long range plan,” said Cranston Police Chief Col. Marco Palombo.
The Oak Lawn Grange No. 42, as all granges have their own personal number throughout the nation, is located at 24 Searle Avenue in the Oak Lawn village section of Cranston. This is a recognized village and is registered on the National Registry of Historical Buildings.
The Oak Lawn Grange was built in 1914, though meetings were held as early as 1912, using the Oak Lawn Baptist Church as the meeting hall. The Oak Lawn Grange is not, however, merely a registered historic building but has been the hub of the community for about a century, serving generations. It has served as an event meeting hall, a major part of the local culture for social, business and recreational events.
The grange hosts a community clean-up for Earth Day, a children’s Halloween party and a Christmas party. They also manage the gazebo located at the intersection of Wilbur Avenue and Exchange Street on the Grange Memorial Park. There, they decorate with lights and a community tree, where Santa arrives by fire truck and the mayor lights the tree. Afterwards, all retreat to the grange hall, some by horse-drawn hay wagon, for refreshments and to visit with Santa. The hayrides continue for two hours, until all have had a ride, another event sponsored by the Oak Lawn Grange.
If you spot anything suspicious in the neighborhood, please contact the Cranston Police Department.