Fifty years of changes in Granby

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Granby center, circa 1973, submitted photo

As we all endure the construction in the center of town and look forward to seeing the improvements to Granby, I can’t help but think about how much our town has changed.

In 1973, there was not a traffic light in the center of town (hard to imagine, I know) and Petersen Road and Mechanicsville Road were not paved. The only tennis court in town was the one in the center on the town green which today no longer exists. The Loomis Store was still standing, ABC Pizza was one year old, Grand Union had been replaced by G & H, and Flavor Mount was still in existence as was the Granby Florist. The Tilton gravel pit was still operated by Roncari. There was an abundance of tobacco fields in town, such as the ones on Hungary Road and Griffin Road. Where Ahrens Park sits today used to be a farm, where corn was grown that covered acres and acres of land. There were at least three telephone booths in the center of town and it cost a dime to make a local call. In schools, no calculators were used—students used slide rules or pencil and paper to solve math problems.

Granby had seven different gas stations: there was Tanner’s gas station, which is now a Food Bag; the Mobil gas station, now Cumberland Farms; Greci’s had a gas station by Manitook Lake; there was one on the corner of Fern Hollow and Route 10, one at Shaw’s Garage on Route 189, another by Hayes-Huling Funeral Home, and the last stood where the State Line restaurant is now. Ironically, despite all these stations, the national gas shortage caused by the Arab oil embargo of 1973, led to “even” and “odd” days to purchase gas. Pulling up to the pump depended upon whether your license plate ended in an odd number or even number. Gas prices rose from 40 cents to 50 cents a gallon and, to conserve energy, the speed limit nationally was reduced to 55 miles per hour on all highways.

During the 70s, inflation was creeping up. Today, the inflation rate is between three and four percent. In the 70s, the inflation rate was as low as five percent and as high as 12. In fact, in 1980, inflation hit a high of 14 percent. People are complaining mortgages are at seven or eight percent now, while 40 years ago some people were pay 18 percent for their mortgage.

Many of the things that were essential to Granby citizens in 1973, like telephone booths, are now obsolete and 50 years later, have been replaced with cell phones. Who knows what changes will be made in another 50 years!

To find out more about changes in this town in the last half century, join the Salmon Brook Historical Society by calling 860-653-9713 or go online at