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Granby Green

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Granby center was once the settlement of Salmon Brook and a part of Simsbury. In May 1739 a committee from the General Assembly fixed the site of the first meetinghouse in Salmon Brook. The land along both sides of Salmon Brook was common land, with animals grazing there. The March 10, 1797 town record shows concern about animals roaming at large on the commons and highways. A bylaw was passed that allowed wandering animals and geese to be impounded by the finder, with the owner required to pay for their feeding and care. If no owner appeared within a specified time, the finder became the owner.

The present green was the low point of the commons and it was referred to as the "frog pool."

After the Civil War, residents wished to honor their war veterans. Money was raised by subscription and a brownstone monument was erected by J.G. Batterson on July 4, 1868, on what is now known as the green. The dedication ceremony featured numerous toasts, a clambake, strawberries, ice cream, lemonade, and candy. A musket from the statue fell apart and disappeared around 1947. Miss Lizzie Clark had the monument cleaned in 1950 in memory of her father, a Civil War veteran.

In 1870 a committee was appointed by the town for the purpose of locating ground for a park. At the October 15, 1875 town meeting the following resolution was passed: "Resolved that the Selectmen authorize and empower the Granby Monument Association to lay out a park around the monument."

In order to build a park the land had to be drained. As stone in Granby center was scarce, it was donated by John A. Allison, an East Granby farmer. In addition to the stone, Mr. Allison gave his time and the use of his horses and wagon. Most of the soil used to fill and grade the green came from the corner of Salmon Brook Street and North Granby Road, where the World War I monument now stands.

A July 14, 1876 clipping from Eliza Green's scrapbook, "From our local reporters," gave this description of the green. "The new fence around the Soldiers Monument at Salmon Brook Street is quite an improvement and when the park is graded and walks laid out, together with other improvements in contemplation, the contrast will be very decided, as compared with the appearance of the place a few years ago when the spot was nothing but a frog pond. The fence encloses seven-eighths of an acre and is made of turned cedar posts and pine rails."

In the early 1890s a group of young people built the tennis court. This was a period when tennis and outdoor recreation in general were becoming very popular. The Granby Green is an unusual example of a green that incorporates recreational uses. Originally there was no fence, and small children eagerly chased the balls. The present fence was donated anonymously in 1965.

Around 1920 the town had to confirm the land as a town park in order to stave off a threat of encroachment by the state highway department. The state added curbing in 1966.

In 1965 the green was improved by the Granby Lions Club committee for the beautification of the Granby Green. The curb raised about $1,400 for the two-year landscaping project. Mary Edwards was the landscape architect who provided the planting design. Redwood benches were given by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, John Avery, and an anonymous donor.

In 1982 Henry Cotton, then commander of the local American Legion post, formed a committee for the purpose of establishing a memorial to those who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Thirty-five thousand dollars was raised and the monument, designed by Terri Ann Hayn. Was built and dedicated on Memorial Day 1984. The area around the monument was designed by Cotton.

The Granby Green is significant as a green that can trace its roots to the original town commons and as the site of Granby's war memorials. The green and surrounding homes make up the Granby Center Historic Center, listed on the National Register of Historic Place.



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