Granville Then & Now – Icy roads proved troublesome for fire truck

Winter weather can wreak havoc on highway travel, and one of many examples through the years is attested in the Granville Sentinel of March 8, 1951. The Sunday before the dateline (March 4), a fire was called in about 6:30 a.m., at the Roblee Mason home off Route 3 in Pawlet; the West Pawlet and Granville fire companies were called to respond.

The unusual incident was recounted: “While on its way to the Mason home the West Pawlet fire truck figured in an accident. Skidding on an icy spot at the Route 3 intersection in Pawlet, the heavy vehicle went through a large bay window in the house occupied by Mrs. Lucy Dickerson. Though unhurt, Mrs. Dickerson who lives alone in the house was badly frightened. The truck was considerably damaged but as far as is known none of the firemen were injured. It is believed the truck would have plunged into the room where Mrs. Dickerson was asleep had it not been stopped by a heavy wall.”

Of note is that the local response to the Mason fire was not from Pawlet firefighters, but from the West Pawlet Volunteer Fire Department; that organization had only been formed a few years earlier in 1947. Pawlet in 1951 had no firefighting organization in the hamlet; that would not change until 1968, with the formation of the Pawlet Volunteer Fire Department.

In addition, the mention of Route 3 would baffle many, as Vermont’s Route 3 is designated only from Pittsford to Center Rutland. The article is not wrong in naming Route 3; older maps do indeed show a Route 3 starting at Route 30 in Pawlet, going to Middletown Springs, continuing east with Route 140 until splitting off to go north to Ira and to West Rutland, where it met Route 4 and overlapped that road to meet the current Route 3 in Center Rutland. The state highway from Pawlet to West Rutland was renumbered Route 133 in 1966 and retains that number today.

In the same issue, the Granville PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) announced its next meeting on March 12 would be of a nature unlike any other: “The meeting is going to be much different than any meeting that we have had this year. We have done our business and had time for fun and refreshment at every meeting so far this year but never have we had a meeting devoted solely to the purpose of fellowship and good fun.

“At this meeting, you will be able to really rub elbows with those people you have been wanting to for some time. We are all going to meet at 6 p.m. for a family night meeting. Everyone is asked to bring a dish of food to be passed around and also dishes and silver for themselves. Everyone will be furnished with rolls, coffee, milk.

“The regular meeting is going to be dispensed with and the supper, as we said before, will start at 6 p.m. sharp. After supper, there will be a program of movies and square dancing which is bound to be enjoyable to everyone who attends.” The committee who devised the fun night was composed of Mrs. Walter Sheloski, chair; Mrs. E. Owens, Mrs. L. Browde, Mrs. R. Bliss, Mrs. H. Williams, Mrs. A. Vanderminden, Mrs. K. Somich, and Mrs. E. Waterman.

Perhaps more unusual for the time period was that the PTA meeting was open to all ages: “The wonderful part about the program is that it is designed to accommodate every member of the family. Even the little tots have been thought of because this affair will be over in time for them to get home and to be before they have lost much of their usual sleeping time.”

While time has passed, there is still interest in the idea of an organization that involves parents and teachers and facilitates them working together for the betterment of the education of the children within the district. The group has changed form a few times, going from a Parent-Teacher Association affiliated with the national PTA, to an independent PTO, to a PTA again, and back to a PTO, which is its current form in 2023. On the other hand, today’s wives in the Granville PTO would rightfully object if someone attempted the 1950s convention of being referred to as “Mrs.” husband’s name rather than by their own names.

The snowstorm this past Saturday was quite a break from previous storms this year. While earlier storms were preceded by ice storms or frigid weather, the temperatures the day and night before were around 40 degrees; there was no ice. With such warm temperatures, the snowfall was of the heavy, wet type. Those who shoveled or plowed that snow found it clumped together well, and due to the preceding warmer weather, there was no ice underneath. It was only after the storm had run its course that temperatures dropped.

Granville’s winter sports had a variety of results for the conclusion of their seasons, but there was a shining star and recognition for Granville and the Golden Horde. A couple weeks ago at the New York state wrestling championships, Brent Perry finished third in his weight and school class. He is the highest placing Granville wrestler at states in recent years, and since Scott Sabo in 1981. Congratulations, Brent.

The top eight also included another wrestler of this region for which congratulations are in order, Whitehall’s Troy Austin, who finished fourth. Both are seniors, concluded their high school wrestling careers at states, and both also played on the inaugural season of the merged Granville-Whitehall football team.

We recently visited with John “Hector” Norton, who has many compliments of thanks for those who gave him greetings and felicitations for his 99th birthday back in January. “People went out of their way to write to me, and write notes, some longer than others … some people I haven’t seen in years”, said Norton. He received 197 cards in total. “I saved them all,” remarked Norton, adding: “I appreciated it, and my family appreciated it also.”

Daylight Savings Time begins this coming Sunday, March 12. Remember to “spring forward” and turn the clocks ahead an hour before going to bed.