The Granville Citizens Park
The park that occupies this small bit of land, along with its immediate surroundings, was once a busy place. Adjacent to the park, J.M. Gibbons' General Store, built in 1851, accommodated not only the Post Office, but also a school upstairs. The original store was destroyed by fire in 1884. A newer store was also destroyed by fire in 1934, but rebuilt as we see it today.
Throughout the years this area has been reshaped many times, and at one point was
referred to by many as "Jockey Corners." How it came to be known by this name is somewhat of an enigma. At one time, there was an actual race track where the Granville Village School now sits. Many however, believe that the name came from a well-known horse racer of the area, Columbus Wilcox.
Wilcox owned and operated a hotel that was located on the green. The Wilcox Hotel was one of the many hotels and taverns which had been built in the area. It was a common resting place for many travelers who may also have been involved in horse racing. The Corners, as it was also referred to, had always had a hotel standing somewhere in the area since the 1700's. On the east side of what is now the park was the Holcomb Brothers' Blacksmith Shop, later owned and operated by G.L. Oysler until his death in 1939.
It was not until the 1830's that the
first house was built on the Corners. This house, located on the west end, belonged to Barlow and Spellman and later became known as the Milo Seymour house. The second house was constructed sometime around 1900, and in 1950-51, both of the houses were purchased by Max and Dot Stacker. The Seymours had been town officials and stored many of the town records in the attic of the first house. Unaware of this fact, Max Stacker, while cleaning the attic, took all the records to the dump and burned them.
In November of 1995, a private party offered the Stacker property to the Granville Selectmen to be donated for the creation of a park. The property was to be renovated only under the condition that the work will be done by volunteers. A Town Green Committee was formed. On January 22 of 1996, the townspeople voted
on what should be done with the property. A rough design plan was accepted. Donations totaling more than $6000 were collected towards the project. There were also many pledges of labor, equipment, and materials.
The descendents and relatives of George Woodger revealed themselves as the private party donating the property. The park is dedicated in memory of George Woodger, who had served many years on Granville's Select Board.
In the spring of 1996 bids were taken for the removal of the houses. Though much of the material was hauled away, some parts of the two houses were salvaged by a resident and to be used elsewhere. Monies were raised through donations and the sale of the remaining salvaged items. The debris had finally all been moved by summer's end.
In the fall, at a town meeting, discussion of the design of the park was held. What you now see is the final result of the committee's detailed drawing, which mimicked the original multilevel configuration of the land. The plan was approved by Granville's citizens in March of 1997. Construction of the park began in the fall of that year. The existing walls were removed and the landscape graded.
In the summer of 1998 the construction of the new walls commenced. Towards the end of summer, students from the village school helped to construct the paths, while other volunteers, with the use of a backhoe, created stone sculptures and benches. Lawn was seeded after October's Harvest Fair, and by spring of 1999, the park was ready for use. This park is sustained through the efforts of the Town Highway Department and the generosity of civic organizations and individuals.