Northeast Granville: A Community Erased By Progress
Northeast Granville was home to a small, close-knit community of farmers and business owners. They quietly settled the land and passed their life's work on to successive generations. During wartime they were patriots. The rest of the time they worked hard. Generations of families who were neighbors in life moved on to become neighbors in the community's Northeast Cemetery.
In the 1890's the rapidly growing Town of Westfield, where the industrial revolution was in full swing, needed water. They came to Northeast Granville and liked what they saw. In 1894 they sought the authority to begin taking the land by eminent domain. Authority was granted. The fate of Northeast Granville and everyone who lived there was sealed.
On April 1, 1898 the land takings began. The Westfield Water Works (today the Westfield Water Resources Department) worked swiftly to demolish homes and other structures, clearing the way for the construction of pipelines and reservoirs, and to provide watershed land surrounding the reservoirs. In the confident words of the Water Works 1906 Annual Report (p. 288), inhabitants were "driven out of their houses." The land taking would not pause until 1913.
Based on the belief that water needed to stand in a reservoir for at least 30 days to kill typhoid, a major health concern of the time, it was decided an additional, larger reservoir would be needed. Land takings resumed into the 1920's for the construction of the 440 million (planned capacity) Granville Dam.
To this day land in Northeast Granville is taken by eminent domain in order to expand control of the watershed area.
This exhibit explores the settlement and development of Northeast Granville, the stories of the people who lived there, and what happened to the homes, farms, businesses and people when their land was taken.
PLEASE NOTE: This Exhibit is under construction. You can help! If you have information about or a family connection to Northeast Granville please let us know at the Granville Public Library! 413-357-8531