Granville Then & Now – Summer arrives in Granville

By Erik Pekar, Town Historian

Summer has arrived. This Tuesday was the official start of the season. Although the weather for most of the past few weeks has felt like summer, this last weekend’s weather was different. Rain on Friday and Saturday drove the temperature down to the low 50s by the morning of Saturday, June 18, and with a cloud cover and off-and-on rain showers, it hardly made it to 60 that day. Sunday was somewhat warmer, starting off cool like Saturday. However, the sun was out from the get-go. This resulted in a cool spring day, more typical of April or May than of June just days before spring’s end. A nice breeze and sun meant a perfect day for doing things, and the temperature made it to the low 70s.

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Another school year has come to an end for Granville students. June 14 was the last day for high school students, and June 23 for students in the elementary schools. The end of the school year means that graduation is almost here. Tomorrow, June 24, another group of Granville seniors will have their commencement ceremony, don their caps and gowns, enter to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance”, hear speeches given by administrators and classmates, and be presented their diplomas.

At the end of the ceremony, their 13 years of school education will come to an end, and the rest of their lives will begin. Some will enter the workforce. Others will go to college. Still others may have other plans. Congratulations to all the 2022 graduates; may their plans be successful.

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Our appeal for Granville memorabilia, made in the June 2 column of “Granville Then and Now,” has already turned up a great find. Kathy Williams of Williams Cleaners contacted us; she had the Granville N.Y. license plate mentioned and was willing to donate it to the Granville historical collection. Arrangements were made, and the license plate now resides at the Granville town historian’s office. The license plate has printed on it, in yellow lettering on a blue background, “Granville N.Y., A Good Place to Live, Work, Play”. This was a slogan used by the Granville Chamber of Commerce in the 1950s and 1960s to promote Granville; the Chamber sponsored the plate. Thank you for donating the license plate.

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Williams also asked us to note that a few Main Street district businesses were left out of the section of the June 9 column that named off many of the Main Street businesses and owners of the 1960s. Williams Cleaners was then owned by William J. Williams; Ranin Fuels, Ray Mattison; Locke Auto Supply, Garrett Locke; MacEachron Rambler, Ed, Ray and Bob MacEachron; Mettowee Garage, Neil Hulett; Ross Pontiac, Joseph Ross; R. G. Rowe Ford, Dick Rowe. Of these businesses, all of the named owners are now deceased, and all but one is now out of business. Only Williams Cleaners exists today as a going concern.

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Those who were looking forward to coming to Granville to see the banners of the Slate Valley Military Honor Banner project over the summer will be able to this year. The Granville village board decided at its June 6 meeting to leave the banners up the entire summer, until after Veterans Day. This was done after a request from banner committee member and project organizer Charlie King. He noted that the new banners weren’t ordered in time for Memorial Day and proposed leaving them up all summer to compensate for the lateness in delivery.

Although there were concerns of complacency and whether the banners would hold relevancy in the eyes of the public for the long period between Independence Day and Veterans Day, this does not appear to have been a concern for other communities with banners, such as Ticonderoga or Crown Point, as the other communities leave their banners up all summer. With the banners staying up, the summer visitors will now have their chance to see the banners, where they weren’t able to last year. In any case, there is another benefit as the Granville village DPW does not have to take time to take all the banners down in June or July and put them up again in October. It will be interesting to see whether the banners will stay up all summer in the years to come.

The new honor banners should be going up in the near future. As of Memorial Day, there were more than 160 honor banners hanging in the Village of Granville. There are several in Hampton, a couple in West Hebron, and one in Wells, Vermont, along Route 30 near the town office.

This is the second year that the honor banners have been up; the first group went up in Granville in May of 2021. The banners are of an attractive and appealing design and are sure to catch the eye of Granville area people. Thank you to all who are involved with the Slate Valley Military Honor Banners, and thank you to all who have bought, or will buy, honor banners.

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After a series of recent traffic incidents in West Granville at the intersection of Route 40 and County Route 17, the state Department of Transportation announced last month that it would be looking into studying the intersection to see if improvements were needed. There have been several fender-benders in the past several years here, many of which were caused by drivers on the county road not paying attention to the stop signs and “blasting” through the intersection. The state DOT should be commended for finally deciding to study the intersection, and hopefully something will be done.

Past engagements with the state, however, paint a grim picture in regard to their taking action. Two other intersections in this area that had no lights, and then had lights added, are the intersection of Routes 22 and 22A in Middle Granville, and Routes 40 and 149 in Hartford.

The Middle Granville intersection, completed in 1961 as part of the Granville bypass project, began to show its proneness to accidents as early as 1963. For much of the 1960s, the town of Granville requested, and town residents petitioned, for the state to take action. By the end of 1969, the state finally responded and performed a study, finding that the stop sign on 22A was sufficient and that lights weren’t needed.

In June of 1970, an accident occurred where a driver was killed. The DOT then decided to reevaluate the intersection. The state found that a light was indeed needed, and by the end of the year, a single blinking light was installed, giving flashing yellow for Route 22 and flashing red for Route 22A and Lee Road. Some years later the traffic light setup was upgraded with two more light assemblies to give every direction two flashing lights.

The Hartford intersection was built in the early 1960s as part of the Hartford bypass project that extended Route 40 from Hartford to West Granville. This intersection also showed proneness to accidents. The town requested as early as the 1990s for a traffic light, but the DOT initially decided it wasn’t necessary. The DOT changed its tune after a fatal accident occurred at the intersection, and they installed the light; this occurred by the mid-2000s.

If the DOT decides that a traffic light isn’t necessary here, the risk would be run of having more near-miss accidents leading up to a fatal accident, before the state then decide it necessary to install a traffic light at the intersection. The old saying applies here that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and there is no cure for someone meeting their untimely death in an accident at an intersection, which could have been prevented with a flashing traffic light. Hopefully the state DOT makes the right decision this time, and a flashing traffic light gets installed in West Granville at the intersection of Route 40 and County Route 17.