Grenola was formed in 1879 when the two communities of Greenfield and Canola relocated along the new railroad line. The community for a time was a rowdy cowtown, being a major shipping point for the cattle driven north from Oklahoma and Texas. Later, in the early 1900s, the discovery of oil and gas in the area made Grenola a bustling business place. By 1920, the population had risen to 1500.
The Grenola Mill and Elevator was established in 1909 and served the community until 1986. On May 12, 1990, the structure was opened as the home of the Grenola Historical Society Museum. The museum preserves and depicts the history of Grenola with scenes of early day life and photographic displays of early settlers of Grenola.
The mill and elevator itself have all working parts intact for viewing. The office contains a Mosler safe moved there when the Grenola State Bank closed in 1936. The two large store rooms house wagons, buggies, farm implements, blacksmith tools, saddles, and household items that have been donated or loaned by current and former Grenola residents. Many of the artifacts are in display in period rooms, which include a kitchen, parlor, bedroom, doctor’s office, general store, post office, and classroom. Pictures from surrounding country schools and Grenola High School, and yearbooks from 1913 on can be examined in the classroom display.
Microfilm of all Grenola newspapers published from 1879 to 1951, three microfilm readers, and a copier were donated by Mr. Floyd Sweet of Underground Vault and Storage. The microfilm is available to all.