History

The Grady County Historical Society, Inc.

The Grady County Historical Society, Inc. was organized in March of 1966. Through the efforts of Miss Wessie Connell, the public librarian for many years, a group of about 45 citizens met at the Roddenbery Memorial Library, and set the dues at 50 cents for families and 25 cents for individuals. The Society received its Certificate of Incorporation with an effective date of April 22, 1993, and has received a tax-exempt status as an organization described under Internal Revenue Service Code section 501(c)(3).
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Grady County Museum and History Center

The Cairoga Club Building, home to the Grady County Museum and History Center, was built in 1920 and replaced one of the last wooden store building on Broad Street. Three street level stores originally housed Britt’s Gent Store, a men’s retailer, the Sanitary Barber Shop, and Tony Mike’s California Fruit Company.

The headquarters for a gentlemens’ club on the second floor was complete with a regulation basketball court with polished hardwood floor and bleachers on each side, a dressing room with shower stalls, a kitchen in the space on the railroad side, and all the way across the front was the clubroom. There was a regulation pool table, with plenty of room left for monthly banquets, even Ladies Nights, and any other appropriate community meetings. The Cairoga Club held its charter banquet in its brand new facility in October of 1920 and rented the space until the 1930s.

After the club’s demise the headquarters were converted into offices for W. B. Roddenbery Company and continued to be used in that capacity until the early 1970s when the company moved to what is known as The Colonial Building on 1st Ave. N.E.

In 1993 the heirs of Julien B. Roddenbery, Frederick W. Roddenbery and W. B. Roddenbery Jr. donated the building to the Grady County Historical Society for use as a museum. After major renovations to the ground floor were completed, the museum officially opened on Dec. 5, 1999.

The Roddenbery Hardware Company building provides additional space for the Museum. The two story brick building was built in 1906 by W. B. Roddenbery to expand his buggy and hardware business. The company grew and expanded and in 1947 the original building was combined with the adjacent Parker building to the north. ‘White face’ brick was added to the front and sides and plate glass display windows with metal frames were also added. Albert Roddenbery managed the hardware until his death in 1960.

In March of 1967 the business was sold to Stone’s Inc. Stone’s remained in the building until 1977 when it moved to its first Hwy. 84 location. The building was home to the Grady County Senior Center until a grant was received by the county in 1997 to construct a new Senior Center. The City of Cairo purchased the building and it remained vacant until the 2010 renovation.

Renovations by the Historical Society in coordination with the City of Cairo began in January and an open house for the facility was held in September of 2010. Part of the historic building is dedicated for the museum exhibit and storage space and part serves as the City of Cairo Council Chambers which the Historical Society also uses as a meeting space.

Grady County, A Background Sketch by Wayne Faircloth