Granville Then & Now – Gleanings of Granville in early 1901


By Erik Pekar, Town Historian

The archive issues of the Granville Sentinel from 1901 to 1913 no longer exist. It is unknown exactly how they were lost, but a couple of reasons have been considered. One possibility is that they were destroyed by saturation when the Granville Water Works tank ruptured. The tank was located on the hillside behind the corner of North and Main Streets, roughly where the upper parking area for Gemini Fitness is now. This would have sent a deluge of water out from the tank, down the hill; the Sentinel was then on North Street and the building would have been right in the path. The other suggested possibility is that there was a fire in the Sentinel building, and those papers burned during said fire. Whatever the reason, the editions from 1901 to 1913 that were held by the Sentinel are no longer extant, and those issues that have survived have come from other places.

The loss of newspapers from this time period means a loss of direct information on the business, civic, cultural, and municipal activities of the Granville area. This, however, does not mean a total loss of insight; newspapers from the region, such as the Poultney Journal or the Whitehall Times, each had a correspondent writing a Granville column for their respective papers.

While issues of the Sentinel itself have turned up from this “lost era,” none has yet turned up for 1901. Here is a gleaning of happenings in the Granville area from early 1901, from January to March, which were reported by other area newspapers.

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Rev. Joseph T. Zorn, of the Trinity Episcopal Church, left for Ticonderoga in February. He had been in Granville for seven years. Rev. Zorn was involved in his parish and in the community, and was the founder of the Granville branch of the Young Men’s Guild. His final Sunday service in late February was well attended, as was his final meeting with the Young Men’s Guild.

The Granville Methodist Church in January contemplated the building of a new church that would hold 1,000 people. This did not come to fruition, but a new edifice was later built in 1916.

Dwight Sykes moved from North Hebron to reside in Granville. He had entered into partnership with Patrick Cullen the previous fall, operating a grain and feed business in Granville.

Panels for grand and trial jurors were drawn in January at the Washington County clerk’s office in Argyle, to serve the term of county court to be held at Salem beginning Jan. 28.  James E. Goodman, C.N. McDonald, M.J. Hayes, and A.T. Hughes were chosen to be grand jurors. O.S. Simonds and John J. Gray were chosen to be trial jurors.

Changes happened with the Central House. Its operator, G.E. Towne, had been negotiating to purchase the Globe Hotel in Albany, a sale which went through at the start of February. Towne never made it to the Globe, however; he passed away Feb. 8. George Edward Towne was from Cambridge, and had lived in Granville for some time about 30 years before his passing. He returned to Granville in the 1890s to run the Central House. After Towne’s passing, the Central House assets went to the Granville National Bank. By late February, the west addition had been sold to Gen. William H. Hughes, and the livery stable and barn had been sold to Norton Brothers. Towne had been leasing the Central House from its owner George Finch; he purchased the building back that year.

Several businesses changes occurred in February. The Hollister and Barnard grocery store moved to the C.N. McDonald store. The Bascom & Beecher firm opened at the site of the “Cash store.” The Granville Mercantile Company opened in the Ellis Williams store on Feb. 16. It was owned by W.H. Hughes, Ellis Williams and C.N. McDonald. W.H. Hollister sold his share in part of a Main Street building to O.S. Simonds and William Munson for about $5,000. The C.N. McDonald store was in the building originally built by S.K. Potter, today known as the 76 Main Street building. The Ellis Williams store building was later occupied for many years by the R.E. Rudd appliance store, and has since been demolished. The “Cash store,” and in turn the Beecher and Bascom store, were in the Hayes block, on the south side of Main Street next to the railroad tracks; the building was demolished and the site is now public parking.

The annual town elections were held in early March. Incumbent E.C. Whittemore (R) was reelected over opponents M.J. Hayes (D) and George H. Northup (Prohibition Party). Whittemore, Republican, won with 467 votes; Hayes received 317, and Northup received 52.

In late March, J.L. McArthur, editor of the Sentinel, suggested that the county seat be moved to Granville, noting the town was “rapidly expanding and is bound to become the metropolis of the county. No combination of adverse agencies can prevent it. Fire cannot destroy or thieves carry away her mineral wealth so securely held by mother earth, and she possesses the brains, intelligence and capital to develop her personal and monetary greatness. She is bound to be a winner in the contest for supremacy in municipal affairs. The county court house, jail and clerk’s office should be located here – and eventually will be.” McArthur continued, noting the inconvenience of the county clerk’s office being in Argyle instead of in a town with a railroad, and the worsening condition of the Salem courthouse and jail.

Editor M.C. Reynolds of the Whitehall Times responded in its March 28 issue that McArthur’s idea was “too ridiculous to mention. Why that little town situated on the slate dumps of Vermont should claim this distinction is more than any sane person in Washington county can imagine. It is true that the county clerk’s office should be changed… situated on the line of the railroad. But there is no reason why it should be situated in Granville.”

Several of Granville were appointed March 5 as notaries for Washington County, for a term of two years, commencing March 31. They were C.E. Parker, L.C. Thorne, and D.D. Woodard of Granville, and C.L. Mason and S.G. Wiley of North Granville.


Erik Pekar

Town Historian