Granville Then & Now – Middle Granville thrived in 1900

By Erik Pekar, Town Historian

Middle Granville, located two miles north of the Village of Granville, is today primarily a quiet, residential area, with some businesses. Over a century ago, there was much business activity in Middle Granville. In the final weeks of 1900, the Granville Sentinel ran several features promoting local businesses. The feature in the Dec. 14, 1900 issue set its focus on Middle Granville.

The article described Middle Granville as a community with an improving outlook: “an ideal home village, not in the sense that all conditions are perfect, leaving nothing to be done in working out a more desirable state of affairs, but in the sense that these possibilities are being rightly developed; and that all dominant influences are of a character to distinguish Middle Granville as one of the most desirable villages in which to establish a permanent business and home. Middle Granville is beautifully situated and presents a trim, handsome appearance. The village is well laid out and its streets are broad and well kept.”

The benefits of Middle Granville were described. “… located in a thriving and prosperous slate country … excellent farming section … rich in capital, strong in credit, untrammeled by debt, with small taxation and cheap real estate, destined to advance in value. Its school system is one of the best and affords excellent educational facilities.”

The grand introduction of Middle Granville concluded with a similar introduction of its businesses. “Its business men are progressive, several of whom have worked up thriving enterprises from small beginnings … We commend the perusal of the following business notices to our readers, and patronage extended to any one of them will not be regretted by those contributing the same.” The feature proceeded to describe several businesses, mostly stores.

M.H. Lyon general store: “…ample and stocked with an almost endless variety of dry goods, fancy goods, boots and shoes, crockery, groceries, flour, wall paper, men’s hats and caps, American Seal paints, blankets, the Warrensburgh and Potsdam wool pants for men, and fact everything belonging to a first-class general supply store is here kept. Inside figures are quoted on all goods dealt in and the trade is large and constantly increasing, while the future of this concern contains the brightest prospects.”

A.N. Rogers hardware store: “A progressive concern …identified with the hardware trade, is that conducted by A.N. Rogers. The store is spacious and well equipped and inception … has been an important factor in the progress of this section’s commercial importance. The stock carried is large and varied, and embraces every known article in builders’ … hardware, carpenters and mechanic’s tools, cutlery, wagon-makers supplies, iron and steel, paints … and everything belonging to the business. Plumbing, tin-smithing, roofing and jobbing in the line is also done. A large business is transacted in the sale of stoves and ranges, a specialty being made of the Andes and Sure Luck heating and cooking stoves. Mr. Rogers is a man of reliability and maintains an A-1 standing in commercial life.”

J.T. Hughes & Son: “The popular store of J.T. Hughes & Son … is an example of what enterprise and business capacity can accomplish in building up a large trade. … The store is amply large and systematically arranged. A large stock is carried of staple and fancy dry goods, dress goods, dress fabrics, ladies’ and gentlemen’s furnishing goods, ladies’ shirt waits, skirts, wall paper, men’s harts and caps, fur coats, groceries and general merchandise. … Messrs. Hughes & Son are reliable business men. They occupy a position of high standing in trade circles and are of the foremost of the town’s leading business people in its broadest sense.”

S.J. Thomas: “…since the establishment of the business … a large trade has been acquired. Mr. Thomas is a practical man in the business and brings to bear a cultivated taste in the selection of first-class, stylish goods. The result is that the stock is at all times thoroughly representative of the latest novelties in men’s, youths and boys’ clothing and furnishing goods of every description, and which merits the inspection of all classes of customers. The store is neatly equipped and customers find displayed here a large variety of ready-made clothing and outfitting goods suited to the wants of the trade, being of the best material and correct in style, while patrons will find the prices so low that there is no need to look elsewhere. … [Mr. Thomas] is widely and favorably known and is an energetic and thoroughly reliable gentleman.”

A.B. Rogers: “…leading grocery establishment … ample and is filled to repletion with the best food supplies that the advanced accommodations of the trade demand. That it pays to be enterprising and progressive is evidenced by the growth of this business, which has distanced competitors in this line in amount of sales, and it has also done in advanced methods. The store is filled with an endless variety of the choicest staple and fancy groceries, canned goods, sauces, spices, condiments, relishes, flour, sugar, syrups, etc. … specialty is also made of fine teas and coffees. The business as conducted is of large volume … as conducted by Mr. Rogers is of much value … in which its proprietor can take just pride.”

Central House: “The Central House of Middle Granville, under the enterprising proprietorship of John Reil, is conducted on excellent lines and enjoys a first-class patronage. … is a commodious two-story building, located in the heart of the village and convenient alike for the traveling as well as the local patrons. The sleeping apartments and sitting rooms are neatly furnished and the dining room is excellently arranged, while the table is at all times supplied with the best food articles. Mr. Reil … is pleasant mannered, active and energetic, and is well calculated to conduct an establishment of this character, as is attested by his judicious management of this hotel.”

Dr. W.J. Williamson, D.D.S.: “…is a dentist of large experience, and numbers among his regular customers many of the leading people, not alone locally, but many come to him from points distant from here to have their dental work done. HIs office is neatly equipped and is provided with every modern convenience to aid in the business. He is expert in all branches of dentistry. … Doctor Williamson is widely and favorably known and occupies a position of high standing in his profession.”

B.E. Curtis: “This gentleman has … built up an exceedingly prosperous enterprise. His store is neatly equipped and he carries a well selected stock of staple groceries, confections, cigars, boots and shoes. … Mr. Curtis gives his personal attention to all the details of the business. He is well known for his honesty and the strict adherence to every representation made, and is providing every want of the community in his direction of trade.”

A.W. Tupper: “The pharmacy …  is a leader, is excellently equipped and presents that attractive appearance associated with a first-class drug store. Mr. Tupper is a druggist of experience and ranks among the foremost members of the pharmaceutical profession. The store is stocked with pure drugs of all kinds, toilet articles, proprietary remedies, and everything belonging to the business. … Mr. Tupper is popular in business circles and has won the unfaltering confidence of the public.”

Brown & Pritchard: “…millers and dealers in flour, grain and feed. This mill is equipped with the best machinery for the production of the best quality feed middlings, buckwheat flour, etc. …. The present firm … not only held the patronage which has been past and parcel of the success of the mill since it was established, but have gone on increasing their list of customers. The copartners are men of well-known integrity and are popular in business circles.”

In the 120 years that have passed since the Middle Granville business feature appeared in the Sentinel, there has been much change with businesses. None of the businesses described above are operating firms today. Most of the business buildings have gone from the landscape as well. The only business building in 1900 that is still used for one is the A.N. Rogers building; Chapman’s General Store is located there today.