YNN (Time Warner New York)

February 17, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Link: http://centralny.ynn.com/content/top_stories/545918/an-old-grange-hall-gets-new-life/

An old grange hall gets new life.

It's a small theater, but draws in large groups of music lovers. The Nelson Odeon Grange in Madison County has recently become a destination for fans of Americana music. The building has been around for years, but its new owners have given it new purpose. Our Iris St. Meran has more on their big plans for this little grange hall.

NELSON, N.Y. -- Years ago, a stage was built in the Nelson Grange Building for performances and speeches. Then it became an antique shop, then sat empty for years. But new owners are returning the building now known as the Nelson Odeon to its roots.

"Then we just had a lot of inspiration and help from other people, other people that run music halls, other musicians. It just kind of evolved into what it is now," said co-owner Linda Schoenfeld.

Now, the Nelson Odeon is a work in progress. Returning it to its intended purpose has become a family affair for the Schoenfeld's, who live just two doors down.

Jeff Schoenfeld said, "When we first got here, we didn't realize how loose the floor was. So we spent countless hours running new floor joints to make sure that it would handle the capacity of people that we'll bring in."

That capacity is around 95 people, which doesn't seem like a lot for this town of about 2,000 people.

"We don't even have a traffic light in this town," said Jeff Shoenfeld.

But this building has put Nelson on the map for fans of Americana music. And they're usually booked with shows and have patrons and performers traveling from New York City and other places.

"The musicians, once they figure out what we're doing and they love it, they go back and tell their friends. They tell all the people they know, their agents and everybody else and we make connections through their agents and it just seems to be this really cool circuit," said Max Schoenfeld.

A circuit centered around this historic building, which they call a labor of love. It's become a place the community has invested their time and effort into as well for future generations to enjoy.

Shows will be put on hold for part of the summer while the owners renovate the grange to make the experience a better one for patrons and performers.