Granville Then and Now – Car models for 1957 offered innovations

By Erik Pekar, Town Historian

As fall marches onward, the weather continues to trend towards being colder. Rainy and windy days have also occurred. On the evening of Nov. 11 and into the following day, the wind was rather strong. The wind managed to take two of the honor banners off their holders on a pole at the corner of West Main Street and Quaker Street; both banners were recovered.

Morning frost has also become more common. After a late start, there have been at least three days over the last couple of weeks where it has been sufficiently cold to create frost. On the other hand, the rare warmer day has thrown off people expecting cold weather. Last Thursday was a comparative “heat wave” as temperatures reached into the high 60s, and some thermometers briefly reached 70.

Snow, its arrival anticipated or dreaded depending on who is asked, has not fallen in Granville yet. One day last week there was briefly a spurt of snowflakes, but too sparse to allow for a dusting, let alone any accumulation.

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Last week, the new 1957 lines of Dodge and Plymouth, that were available at the Mettowee Garage, were covered here. Granville had four dealerships then, and this week the other three dealerships’ new 1957 cars will be recalled here.

There was little in advertising for Chevrolet in November, as their big push had already been done over September and October. The introduction of the ’57 Chevrolet had been well promoted. The ads touted their new design of being “longer and lower,” the new V8 engines with more power and fuel injection, and a choice of automatic transmissions. The 1957 models premiered in showrooms in Granville and across America on Oct. 20. The Beecher and Guthrie garage had the local Chevrolet dealership. There were two locations; one on Church Street in Granville and another in West Pawlet, Vermont.

The 1957 Pontiacs premiered in dealer showrooms on Nov. 9. The ads touted the cars’ power, and “personality” of styling; these features included “Star Flight body design.” new interior styling, the new Strato-Streak V8, that would result in a “cloud-soft, level-line ride.” Among the details well emphasized was that the Pontiacs had gone through “100,000 miles of testing.” Ross Pontiac, then on Church Street, was the Granville area dealership.

Ford, too, had made updates to their look for 1957. The ad’s hook referred to the “new kind of Ford” and rhetorically asked the reader, before answering outright, what gave the car the “Mark of Tomorrow.” The improvements named were a “sculptured look” with “long, lean lines,” a good styling for the hardtops, with freedom of choice in customizing the car’s appearance, with a “ride that stays gentle.” Also touted was the power of the V8, including that in the relatively new Thunderbird. Trumble Ford, located on East Main Street, was Granville’s Ford dealer at the time. It wouldn’t be a dealer for much longer, as it closed in early 1958, and in a year’s time would become a new location for the Granville Grand Union.

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A section of Route 149 in Warren County was resurfaced over late October and early November. The road was milled and then repaved. This section covers the road from Route 9 at French Mountain (the site of the “Million Dollar Half Mile” of factory outlet stores) to a point a few hundred yards east along the road from the corner with Martindale Road in Queensbury.

Those sections of Route 149 that have been repaved, besides that section named above, are: from the Warren-Washington County line to Route 4 in Fort Ann village, from Route 4 in Fort Ann at Baldwin Corners to Route 40 in Hartford, from Route 40 in Hartford to Route 22 at the “corners” in Granville south of the village; from Route 22 south of Granville village up Quaker Street, West Main Street in the Village of Granville to the Main Street bridge; East Main Street in the village of Granville.

At present, there are only three sections of Route 149 that have not been repaved in the past two years. One is the short road connecting Route 9 to the ramps to and from the southbound lanes of Interstate 87 at Exit 20; another is the section from east of Martindale Road, past Bay Road and Route 9L to the Warren-Washington county line, reconstructed around 2007; and Main Street in the Village of Granville, last repaved in 1998. No plans are known for the first two sections, but Granville’s Main Street is planned to be repaved next year.