Organization Established

• The Oak Grove Improvement Association dates back to January 6, 1897 when the first meeting was called to order, presided over by Fred S. Atwood. The organization was formed “to further the interests of that section of the city in every way.” Edward Evans and Frank Simpson were elected the organization’s first President and Treasurer, respectively.
—The Malden Evening News, January 7, 1897

OGIA In the News

• The January 13, 1897 edition of the Malden Evening News ran an article announcing that the Oak Grove Improvement Association was "Advocating for new school for that section..." of Malden.

• The January 29, 1897 Mail announced that the OGIA was considering a site for a new school.

OGIA Holds a Lively Meeting

• Matthew Mackie was appointed chairman of a committee to investigate and report on the sanitary conditions of three schools, one of which was the Oak Grove School.
—Malden Evening News, February 3, 1897


Meeting Room Established

• Members of the OGIA met at one of Frank Simpson’s stores located at 80 Winter Street. William H. Henderson was elected President, Mayor William Blakeley, Vice President, Frank E. Simpson, Treasurer. Members renovated the meeting room, and raised funds by holding whist parties to purchase chairs and install electric lighting.
—The Malden Evening News, December 30, 1915

Winter Street Paved; Trees Planted


• The Association invited the Commissioner of the Water and Sewer Department, and the City Forrester to future meetings, resulting in Winter Street being paved with cobblestone pavers, and trees being planted along the sidewalks.


Flag Raising


• Mayor Blodgett, Judge Bruce, and others gave patriotic addresses after the flag was unfurled by Miss Bertha Evans. Nearly 400 patriotic people braved the storm to attend the flag raising at Oak Grove that Monday night. Through the courtesy of Captain Berg, a squad from Company L under Lieutenant Buckminster trooped the colors after assembly call was sounded by bugle calls at different points. Corporal O’Neill sounded bugle call at Francis Street, and Mrs. L.H. Fernald gave the “call to colors.” Amid the flare of red lights the flag was unfurled by Miss Berth Evans. Miss Grace A Dean then gave a cornet solo: "The Star Spangled Banner,” followed by “America." The organization continued to prosper with a brief intermission during World War I.
—Malden Evening News, April 11, 1917


The Traditional Lighting of the 36' Tree


• In December of 1920, a huge Christmas tree was erected on the front lawn of Mrs. Robinson’s property with permission of her daughters, and a great community Christmas Party was held there with Mayor John V. Kimball, a Wyoming Ave. resident in Oak Grove, and the Rev. Henry H. Crane, a resident in the Methodist parsonage on Washington Street, addressing the assembled gathering. The lighting of the 36 foot tree, and a program by some of the neighborhood children in the Improvement Association rooms on nearby Winter Street contributed to the festive occasion. This holiday tradition was repeated for many years and held the neighborhood together in its untied spirit of friendliness. The farmhouse was later the home of the Bertran Lewis family after the house was vacated by the Robinson sisters and before it was demolished.


“Oak Grove to Have Fine Community House”


• According to the Malden Evening News, the Oak Grove Community House was slated to be erected on "old Uncle Joe Robinson's Estate in Oak Grove Square." A planned Ward Room, Branch Library and Neighborhood Centre, with seating for 150 people, was announced for the following spring, designed by architect C.F. Springall at an estimated cost of $11,000.  Auditorium will seat about 150 people.
—Malden Evening News, December 3, 1926)

Oak Grove Community Building Constructed

• In 1926, the Oak Grove Community Building was constructed as a City-owned building, located on Grove Street, as a direct result of the Oak Grove Improvement Association’s efforts following the War.


Speech by Frank Wellsmen at the Oak Grove Community Building

• The 1924 Past President of the Oak Grove Improvement Association, Frank Wellsmen, gave a speech at the Oak Grove Community Building on February 19, 1948. This speech pertains to some of the earlier history of the Association.

The 1950s

Patchell Park

• In the 1950’s, as a result of the Oak Grove Improvement Association’s efforts, a small neighborhood park was established off of Glenrock Avenue. It was named Oak Grove Park, which was later re-named Patchell Park in honor of the late Councillor William. F. Patchell of Ward 4 for his long-time service to the community


OGIA In the News

• “Seeks to open Center for Oak Grove Youth”
—The Malden Evening News, June 21, 1963

• “Youth Canteen to Open”
—The Malden Evening News, July 2, 1963

• “Teenage Center a Success”
—The Malden Evening News, August 22, 1963

• “‘Jamboree’ Show to Be Given April 24”
—The Malden Evening News, April 10, 1964

• “Christmas Party”
—The Malden Evening News, December 24, 1965

Urban Renewal

• During the 1960’s and early 1970’s the neighborhoods again came together in dealing with the urban renewal proposals and the development of the Oak Grove MBTA station.

Holidays and Celebrations

• Throughout the years, OGIA continues sponsoring social activities that served as a catalyst for community involvement. These included annual 4th of July celebrations, Valentine’s Day and Christmas parties, ham and bean suppers, scholarship dinners, and dances at Odd Fellows Hall and the Oak Grove Community Building.

• The 4th of July celebrations were eventually moved from the Oak Grove Community Building to Coytemore Lea Park. At this point, the Oak Grove Community Building was used primarily by small, local organizations such as the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts.


Membership Decline

• As the new century approached, membership in the organization and activities rapidly declined. A small group from the OGIA continued to quasi-manage the Oak Grove Community Building to keeping it for future use by the community. The OGIA continued into the early 1990’s.