From 1929 to 1935, the Manitook Hotel, and guest cottages on the west shore of the lake, was a thriving, bustling place. Tourists from New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and many other states visited to canoe, swim, play tennis, fish, hunt, and enjoy a vacation in Granby.
A.C. Wagner had the vision to build a hotel on Rte 10/202 near where State Line Oil is now located and cottages nearby on the shore of Manitook Lake. He believed tourists would flock to small, quiet Granby to escape the hectic pace of city life. Wagner promoted Granby as a vacation destination, advertising that, “…as one finds a natural scenery unsurpassed by anything in this great country. With no humidity, but cool mountain breezes, the nerves relax immediately, and that tired feeling departs, while you inhale the invigorating mountain air.”
The Manitook Hotel, built in 1929, was equipped with tile bathrooms and showers, both hot and cold water, electric lights, and telephones in each furnished room. There was a chef on the premises as well as a “quick lunchroom,” so patrons could either dine or grab a quick bite to eat. The hotel included its own store and barber shop as well as a two-story garage for the guests’ cars that included quarters for the guests’ chauffeurs.
A.C. Wagner was no stranger to ambitious projects like this. In the early 20th century, his company built breweries in Philadelphia, Rochester and Washington, D.C. When Prohibition was enacted in the early 1920s, he dissolved his brewery business, joined the New England Fruit Company, and went into real estate.
The hotel and its cottages thrived as tourists came to Granby on vacation. In January 1935 A.C. Wagner died and in October of that year, the Manitook Hotel burned to the ground. It was never replaced and now only exists as a small memory in the history of Granby.
It was one of three catastrophic fires in Granby in 1935. The Pendleton home and hospital on the corner of Pendleton Rd. was badly damaged and the club house at Pendleton’s Granby Golf Club also burned to the ground. Firemen and equipment from East Granby and Ensign-Bickford and citizen volunteers responded to Granby fires in those days. That would change in 1936 when the Lost Acres Fire Department was founded.
To learn more about the Manitook Hotel, A.C. Wagner, or other Granby history, join the Salmon Brook Historical Society by calling 860-653-9713, or go online at salmonbrookhistoricalsociety.com