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American River Messenger

At Your Service, Orangevale

Feb 21, 2024 04:48PM ● By Orangevale History Project

ORANGEVALE, CA (MPG) - Orange Vale Colony is mentioned in the 1900 Mississippi Township census.  There were only 161 dwellings.  Miners had been replaced with farmers and orchardists, mainly, sprinkled with others like carpenters, teachers, blacksmiths, a minister, a water agent, and a couple of bookkeepers.  By 1910 there were approximately 500 people calling this place home.  Birthplaces for the head of household represented 19 foreign countries and 34 states.  Just imagine all the differing experiences and points of view.  If nothing else, they had one thing in common.  Each had moved their families to this place.

From the beginning, it seems the people of the Orange Vale Colony stood firmly on a foundation of determination and a commitment to this new town and to each other.  In glimpsing history from the notes in newspapers and from others’ memories, examples emerge like building a school and then raising money for a piano a dollar at a time, building a community center and then a youth center. There was demanding work to be sure, but also time for children, church, music and lending a hand.  Service defined in this context is “the action of helping or doing work for someone.”  Service groups were in Orangevale as early as 1910.

The Orangevale Grange was the earliest group to serve, founded in 1910.  The Grange was instrumental in bringing electricity and telephone service to Orangevale. The Grange was the first to donate money toward the purchase of land on Hazel Avenue that would become the Youth Center, which is still being used today. And there is so much more to know-they are still in town, continually active and could use more helping hands. Check out their website

Following the Grange, women started a Country Life Club in 1913.  They, about 40 members, had no clubhouse, so met at members’ homes or in the Methodist church.  Mrs. Mary Calder is credited as the club’s organizer. There were lectures on topics such as Public Health, Life and History of the Mosquito, Shelter, Clothing and Tree Planting.  This club was an extension of the Country Life Club of the College of Agriculture of the California State University. Members of the club shared five distinct areas of study: domestic science and art, economics, civics, home efficiency and public health.  This group was named the Orangevale Woman’s Club in 1928 and remains a service leader in town today.  Much more should be written about this group’s rich history and contributions to the community.  Find out more at

Boy Scouts started a group in 1914.  By the Roaring 20’s there was also a Civic Improvement Club who in 1916 dedicated the Community Center on Greenback Lane.  Campfire Girls, Federated Clubs-focusing on beautifying the highways, and the Orangevale Mothers Club, a forerunner to the PTA also started.

Folsom-Orangevale Farm Home Department was organized in 1931. The Citizens League, the Orangevale 4H Club and likely others not identified in this research also bloomed about this time.  Important services and decisions were in play, like a post office, a fire department, school district boundaries and more. 

The 40’s were the war years with a new wave of service clubs right around the decade. Lions Club was the first of the new entries in 1953 with an impressive 54 charter members of business and professional men.  The Chamber of Commerce followed in 1955 then Rotary in 1960 with equally impressive lists of members.  Orangevale grew, businesses grew and as a kid growing up during this time, things were darn near perfect. I was oblivious to all the work going on around me, well most of it. My dad, Keith Hall, was president of the Chamber 1959-1960. 

Even though time moves on, service remains key in Orangevale of today. Just ask the Woman’s Club, or the Grange, Rotary, Scouts, or any of the many others.  Ever wonder how so many things get done?  It is not magic.

Orangevale History Project meets the first Wednesday of each month at 6930 Hazel Ave Bldg. 2.   View presentations on Orangevale History and interviews with longtime residents on Orangevale History YouTube channel.