Granby celebrates 110 years of community |

Granby celebrates 110 years of community

Penny Rafferty Hamilton, Ph.D
Special to the Sky-Hi News

Bring your family and friends to celebrate Granby’s 110 years in the heart of something Grand. The Town of Granby and Chamber of Commerce are partnering with Grand County Historical Association and Grand County Characters to host a family-friendly event at the historic Granby train depot. Stop by any time from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Dec.11, which is the anniversary of the founding of Granby. The “official” birthday cake candle lightening, followed by the cake cutting, is at high noon.

Free event with historic characters as Granby Hillyer, for whom the town is named, and 1905 Pioneer Penny. The Grand County Historical Association will have historic photographic prints and local history books for sale which make perfect holiday gifts. For additional information, please call the Chamber at 970-887-2311.

Granby Hillyer

Don Dailey of the Grand County Characters portrays Granby Hillyer, who was the attorney for the Denver, Northwestern & Pacific Railroad, often called the Moffat Line after David Moffat. According to Dailey’s research, Hillyer provided the detailed work for the platting of the new town and all the legal requirements for Frontier Land & Investment Company to sell lots and create a brand new community on the sagebrush flats.

Because the hard-working attorney performed this detailed work pro-bono, the town was named “Granby” to honor him. Hillyer might have named Granby’s streets for precious stones mentioned in the Holy Bible-Garnet, Opal, Topaz, Jasper and Agate. Granby could be called, the “Gem of the Rockies.” Granby was officially incorporated on December 11, 1905. Victor S. Wilson, editor of The Grand County Advocate newspaper, was elected its first mayor.

In 1905, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was just taking office as President for his first full term and the US Forest Service was founded. Not long after, Roosevelt established the Rocky Mountain National Park. Back then, a pound of butter was 22 cents. Canned corn or “airtight” was just five cents. A pound of flour cost three cents. Granby residents did not have central heating nor electric lights. The wood was chopped by hand to heat water and the cold and drafty buildings which were hastily built. Candles or kerosene lamps lighted the nights.

Granby businesses

Granby’s post office had already opened on October 26, 1905. A first class stamp was two cents. Several businesses already existed. James Peak Hotel, built by Sarah and Charles Nuckolls, Chas Lake Blacksmith Shop and his Mint Saloon, David Gardner’s Saloon, Myra Washington’s Fish and Oyster House, and George Law and partner, H.M. Toohey, operated the new Granby Restaurant & Bakery. The Granby community church was used part-time as the school house. Jobs in railroading, logging, and ranching helped grow the new Western railroad town.

The town of Granby was destined to grow into a transportation and economic hub. In 1902, David Moffat announced he would build a railroad which would steam from Denver to Salt Lake City. When it finally arrived in 1905, Granby was more than ready to welcome the new trains and the connection to the world which it insured.

Plan on connecting with your neighbors at this community celebration on Railroad Avenue. Stop by and share your memories of Granby as it grew. Learn more about the history through photographs from the GCHA archive of historic treasures.

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