Granville Then & Now – Of autumn: clean-ups and a car show

By Erik Pekar, Town Historian

Sept. 22 is the first day of autumn. The days have already started to feel in line with the change of season: mild days, cooler nights, later sunrise, earlier sunset. The autumn foliage has yet to appear, but leaves are starting to fall. Farmers are starting to harvest the corn, and across the area there is a patchwork of unused fields, cornfields where the corn was already cut and harvested, and cornfields that have yet to be harvested.

Tuesday was a particularly cool day, and it rained for much of the day in the area. It was the kind of rainy, dreary day that would have been welcome to have happened a few times over this year’s dry summer.

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With autumn’s arrival comes the annual Autumn Leaves Car Show. Sponsored by the Granville Area Chamber of Commerce, it will be held this Sunday, Sept. 25, at the Granville Little League complex off Glen Street in the Village of Granville. Entry fees are $5 for spectators, $20 for those showing their cars, and is free for those 15 and under. The craft fair and vendors, a new addition last year, will return this year.

The event has been popular for years; at last year’s event, more than 900 spectators attended and more than 250 vehicles were shown. Those who enjoy classic cars, whether they enjoy looking at them or showing them at car shows, are encouraged to attend.

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There’s a lot of tidying up going on around the Granville area. Several local houses are being fixed up. Some of these have come back to life after years of being empty. Others are the result of their owners deciding it was time for improvements. The village will be doing their fall brush pickup schedule on Mondays; other times can be requested with the village DPW. Thank you to all that are taking care of their homes and properties and keeping them looking nice.

The state DOT mowers have been out mowing the embankments and sides of the state highways in this area. At the end of the Granville bypass, where Quaker Street (Route 149) meets Route 22, this has led to a great improvement in visibility for drivers, and appearance. While not in the Village of Granville, it is the first thing that many drivers will see. First impressions vary greatly between a well-trimmed lawn and a run-down, overgrown lawn. The other “triangle” at Middle Granville, where Route 22A ends at 22, was also mowed by DOT.

The DOT aren’t the only ones concerned with appearance of grass on the highways. Earlier this summer, well before the DOT came over to mow, village ordinance officer Curt Pedone took his lawnmower out to the “triangle” at the bypass and Quaker and mowed it himself. We wonder if someone from Middle Granville will “adopt” that triangle to mow if necessary, as “Curt” did the with the “triangle” near the village. Regardless of any volunteer efforts, the DOT will still mow both “triangles” as part of its mowing cycles.

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Talk of highway appearance brings to mind New York’s Adopt-a-Highway program. The problem of litter strung along our highways has been around for a few decades. Roadside cleanup programs started to form in various states in the 1980s. In New York, the Adopt-a-Highway program was formed when the state legislature passed a law authorizing it in 1990. The premise of Adopt-a-Highway is that organizations sign a contract for a set time and fee. Depending on the state, the section of highway is cleaned by either state employees or volunteers from the sponsoring organization; New York’s program has cleanup done by volunteers.

The first Granville organization to participate in the program was the Border Riders Snowmobile Club. In the spring of 1992, they signed a two-year contract to clean a section of Route 22, from Route 149 at McGuire’s Corners (traffic light) to just north of County Route 23 in Middle Granville. The Border Riders went to cleaning in June. The initial cleanup yielded 40 fifty-gallon garbage bags of trash, and the July cleanup resulted in only 6 bags.

The Border Riders’ club president Dwayne Daigle was quoted at the time, in the Aug. 12, 1992 Sentinel, saying they chose the section of Route 22 near McDonald’s because it was a “well traveled section” and that about “90 percent of the litter is from McDonald’s, Stewarts or Cumberland Farms.”

As the 1990s progressed, more organizations and businesses signed up for Adopt-a-Highway. Scotties signed up in 1993 for a stretch of Route 149. The Granville Masons signed up by 1996 for a section of Route 22 heading south from McGuire’s Corners. A 1994 article also noted that a troop of Granville Girl Scouts were planning to participate; it is unclear from later articles if the troop actually entered the program, or volunteered to clean a part of a local road on an unofficial basis.

In more recent years, other organizations signed up. The Granville Democratic Committee signed up for a 2 mile section of Route 149 heading west from Route 22 at McGuire’s Corners. The former Papillion Boutique adopted a section of Route 22 from near the south end of County Route 12 in Truthville to Upper Turnpike Road in North Granville. George Thomas Excavation adopted the next section to the west end of County Route 17A in the town of Fort Ann. South of the section of Route 22 adopted by the Masons, Green Acres Motor Sales adopted a section ending in Hebron.

With the passing of time, some participants ended their involvement. The Border Riders, the first to start back in 1992, ended their involvement in the late 2010s; the Masons also ended participation around that time as well. Routes 22 and 149 regularly had organizations volunteering to clean up sections of those roads. On the other hand, no organization ever signed to clean any section of Route 22A in the town of Granville.

Clean highways are an asset to any area. At present, the Granville Democratic Committee is the only organization sponsoring and cleaning a section of New York state highway entirely within the town of Granville, a part of Route 149. Hopefully there will be more participation from area organizations or businesses in the future. Any local organization interested in helping keep the shoulders of local highways clean can inquire NYSDOT for further information by calling the Washington County office at 518-747-4727.

The organizations that currently or formerly helped keep local state highways clean are to be thanked for their efforts through the years. Drivers can also help keep local roads clean as well; don’t litter the roads and throw out garbage accumulated in vehicles at the place it came from, or at home.