Happy Easter! Granby‘s South Congregational Church was organized on Salmon Brook Street in 1872. Originally called the Congregational Society of Salmon Brook, it met in a hall on the second floor of a building erected for the Granby Library Association in 1869. This structure, later also used as a Town House, burned down in 1917. While one newspaper editor suggested that it was time for the South Church to merge with Granby’s First Congregational Church, this notion conflicted with local beautification plans aimed at developing Salmon Brook as an ideal New England village. The Church and the Town worked together to erect a complex of four community buildings in the Colonial Revival style: the new Church, the Church’s Community House (also available to local groups not affiliated with the Church), a schoolhouse and a library. The 1918 Church was designed by the H. Wales Lines Company of Meriden. The gable-roofed, transverse section at the rear, designed by Carl R. Blanchard, Jr. of New Haven, was added in 1950.
The building which today serves as the hall for Granby Grange No. 5 was built just after the Civil War (c. 1866?) as a one-room schoolhouse. In 1902, the town hall moved into the building after an earlier town hall burned down. In 1946, the Granby Grange bought the building from the town and moved it 150 feet south to its current location, at 212 North Granby Road, across from the First Congregational Church. The Granby Grange was first established in 1875, but in 1890 a group purchase of bad seeds led to its disbandment. It was reestablished in 1926 and has continued ever since.
At 261 Salmon Brook Street in Granby Center is an Italianate house built around 1858 by J. N. Loomis. The house makes an impression with its total length being 145 feet. James Newton Loomis, born in Southwick, Mass., was the senior partner in the firm of Loomis Brothers, proprietors of Granby’s principal general store in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Hezekiah Goodrich (1771-1854) grew up in Portland. His uncle, David Goodrich, was killed in the Revolutionary War and his widow, Penelope Holcombe Goodrich, and two sons lived with Hezekiah’s family during the war. Hezekiah later married Penelope’s niece, Millicent Holcombe, and in 1800, he moved to Granby, building his house and setting up a tanning shop on on what is now North Granby Road. Goodrich employed two men and a woman and produced 1,000 pairs of shoes and boots a year.
The Colton-Hayes Tobacco Barn in Granby was built in 1914 by Fred M. Colton and was given to the Salmon Brook Historical Society by his daughters in 1976. It is now a museum, located with the Society’s other buildings on Salmon Brook Street. The barn contains a diverse collection representing many aspects of Granby’s past. Adjacent to the barn is the Bushy Hill Mail Hut, which once stood where Barndoor Hills Road meets Bushy Hill Road in the Granby community of Bushy Hill.
The Cooley School is a one-room schoolhouse built around 1870. It was originally located on the corner of East Street and Cooley Road in North Granby. At that time, the school’s outhouse was just across the state line in Southwick, Massachusetts. The school was closed in 1948 and the furniture was auctioned off. In 1972, the school was given to the Salmon Brook Historical Society by Merrill Clark, whose mother had once taught at the school. Since 1980, the school, now a museum, has been been located with the Historical Society’s other buildings on Salmon Brook Street.
The origins of Granby’s First Congregational Church go back to 1736, when Granby was still a part of Simsbury. According to The Memorial History of Hartford County (1886), early meetings “were held for a time in the house of Daniel Hays, which was also used as a tavern.” The North West or Salmon Brook Ecclesiastical Society was established in 1739. According to Noah A. Phelps’s History of Simsbury, Granby, and Canton (1845):
it appears, that their first meeting was held in May 1739. It was convened to adopt measures in reference to the construction of a meeting–house. But, as the meeting could not agree where to set the house, application was made to the General Assembly for a committee to settle the question. On report of the committee, the site established was on the hill north of Salmon brook village. The first meeting-house was erected at this place in 1740. It’s dimensions were, thirty by forty-five feet.
In the course of a few years, by the extension of population westwardly, the house was left so far from the centre of population as to cause complaint, and induce a majority of the society to adopt measures for its removal. Their efforts were successful. In 1775 the house was taken down and removed about two miles in a north-westvvardly direction, to a place designated by a committee appointed by the County Court, where it was re-built. In 1793 the house was enlarged and painted inside. This house was taken down, and a new one erected in 1834. The new house stands a few rods northerly from the site of the old one. It is a commodious building, sixty by forty feet, is painted and has a tower and bell.