Granville Then & Now – West Pawlet stores thrived in 1900

By Erik Pekar, Town Historian

West Pawlet, Vermont, located a couple miles south of the Village of Granville at the state line, is today primarily a quiet residential area. More than a century ago, there was a lot of business activity in West Pawlet. In the final weeks of 1900, the Granville Sentinel ran several features promoting local businesses in Granville and surrounding communities. The feature in the Dec. 28, 1900 issue, the final issue of 1900, set its focus on West Pawlet.

Unlike the first Granville feature and that of Middle Granville, there was no detailed description of the benefits of West Pawlet in its feature. The introduction simply stated: “Following the business sketches heretofore published of Granville and Middle Granville, we call the reader’s attention this week to our neighboring village, West Pawlet. The sketches are in a concise form and give an outline of the leading business men and their business in that thriving village.” The feature then commenced with describing several businesses of West Pawlet, mostly stores.

D. Hawkins & Co.: “…engaged in the handling and sale of furniture … occupy a leading position … store is excellently stocked and embraces fine and medium grade furniture, including parlor suits, dining room, hall and library furniture, fancy chairs and stands, rockers, springs, and everything belonging to the business … the undertaking department is also reliably and carefully presided over .. this firm also operates a grist mill … Messrs. Hawkins & Co are of this section’s most public spirited citizens and their establishment is an important factor…”

Layden & Burdick: “…one of the leading headquarters for staple and fancy dry goods, boots and shoes, groceries and general merchandise. The store is spacious and supplied with every convenience that the advanced requirements of the times demand. … the copartners are experienced in the business and have marked facilities for procuring goods from first hands, thus enabling them to place their goods before patrons at lowest prices. Messrs. Layden & Burdick are gentlemen of integrity and reliability…”

Copeland & Co.: “…dealers in staple and fancy dry goods, men’s and boys’ hats, groceries, shoes and general merchandise, and the stock in each department is kept replenished with frequent invoices of the best goods. The one price system prevails here and bottom prices are quoted on all goods dealt in. … a large trade has been developed as the just result of equitable methods and fair and square dealing. Messrs. Copeland & Co. are widely and favorably known and sustain an excellent reputation for integrity and well balanced business methods.”

T. Folger & Son.: “Dealers in lumber and builders’ wood working supplies, also carrying on an extensive business in stone flagging, shipping annually many car loads. The concern also deals largely in stoves and ranges, making a specialty of the Andes, Round Oak, Stewart and West Shore, and do all work connected with pluming, steam and gas fitting and general jobbing in this line. They are agents for the Buckeye and other farming machinery, and carry in stock a complete line of harness and horse furnishing goods. The policy upon which the business of this concern is conducted is characterized by liberality and a careful fostering of the interests of patrons…”

D.J. Keefe: “A well conducted meat market is of inestimable advantage to any community, and West Pawlet is fortunate in the possession of such an establishment. … The goods handled by him are of excellent quality and are always just as recommended …from the outset he has steadily added to the most progressive ideas. In addition to keeping in stock the choicest meats, he also carries a full line of vegetables and fish; also canned goods and oysters. Mr. Keefe is enterprising and that he pleases his customers is attested by the fact that he enjoys such a large trade. He is an affable business man and makes many patrons his friends… his future success is thoroughly assured.

W. O. Williams: “engaged in the dry goods and grocery trades is that of W.O. Williams, who has just reason to be proud of the success he has achieved in establishing himself so firmly in the trade of this section. The store occupied is ample and so filled with a large and varied assortment of dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes, wall paper and general merchandise, and the stock is kept replenished with frequent invoices. The one price system is rigidly adhered to and bottom prices are quoted on all goods dealt in, the result being … getting full value for every dollar expended. Mr. Williams is also the village’s very efficient postmaster, and sustains an excellent reputation for sterling integrity and well balanced commercial methods.”

J.H. Trumbull: “To the concern… must be accorded a prominent position as having supplied this section with ample facilities for procuring lumber, sash, doors, blinds, interior finish for buildings and wood working materials generally. …the trade commanded in each department is influential. The plant is embraced in several buildings and sheds, and every facility is afforded for the successful conduct of the business. As a builder and contractor Mr. Trumbull is also favorably known. He has been identified with the construction of many of the best buildings hereabouts, any and all of which attest to his ability as a first-class builder. He also deals in builders’ hardware, cement, lime and builders’ supplies generally. Mr. Trumbull is a reliable and responsible gentleman and enjoys a high standing in financial and business circles.”

Hotel Pawlet – H. McMurray, Proprietor: “…a well conducted hostelry, it is excellently equipped and will be found in no respect inferior to any in this section. The house contains fifteen neatly equipped rooms and all the accessions of the house are in excellent taste, and the service in every feature is satisfactory. The cuisine at this hotel is too well known to require extended comment at our hands. …it is liberally patronized and no better or more complete table is set anywhere in this section. Mr. McMurray is one of the most energetic local business men, and as a genial and successful hotel man he is familiarly acquainted with the best traveling public. Connected with the hotel is also a well-equipped livery which is provided with several good horses and the necessary conveyances.”

In the 120 years that have passed since the West Pawlet business feature was published in the Sentinel, there has been much change in the businesses of West Pawlet. None of the businesses described above are operating today. The W.O. Williams store was the last firm to have a descendant business operating; in more recent years it was known as Dutchie’s. That store was shuttered in 2011, by an accidental fire nearby that razed the building.

Of the business buildings used in 1900, the only ones left are the block the Copeland store was located in and the Layden & Burdick building to the right. The West Pawlet Post Office today occupies the space used in 1900 by the Copeland store.