Founded in 1885 and now stronger than ever.
As the community's collective memory, the Granville Historical Society acquires, preserves, and shares Granville's past with residents and visitors to inspire curiosity about, instill knowledge of, and foster a commitment to our local history.
The Founding of the Granville Historical Society
The Granville Historical Society was created on March 9, 1885, by Charles Webster Bryant, Crayton Black, and Francis Shepardson. Its formation was in part a response to the realization, after the 75th anniversary of the founding of the town, that firsthand memories of the early days of Granville were vanishing. One of the Society’s first major acts, then, was to begin preserving and documenting the history of the community: Bryant produced invaluable genealogical records (including an inventory of the gravestones in the Old Colony Burying Ground, many of which have since eroded beyond recognition), and Bushnell wrote The History of Granville, Licking County, Ohio, in 1889. Some of the drawings produced for Bushnell’s book are still among the most reliable images we have of early Granville and have been used in subsequent histories of the town.
THe GHS today
Since those early days, the Granville Historical Society has continued to document the history of the community and its people. Highlights include Ellen Hayes’ 1915 memoir Wild Turkeys and Tallow Candles, William Utter’s 1955 Granville, the Story of an Ohio Village, and a collectively written and edited three-volume history for the town’s bicentennial in 2005, Granville, Ohio: A Study in Continuity and Change. The Society has also produced an annotated edition of an early history of Granville written as a series of newspaper columns by Rev. Jacob Little. The Society recently launched a Pocket History series of brief and readable single-topic volumes, just the latest way that the Society continues to preserve and present the history of Granville, Ohio. You can read samples of our books here and purchase them here. Additionally, the GHS publishes the quarterly journal Historical Times with a wide range of stories on events and people from more than two centuries of Granville’s past. It is free for members of the Society.
The sharing of history does not just occur in print, however, and the GHS maintains an active calendar of events, with lectures and other special events planned frequently throughout the year. The Society’s Museum, housed in the 1816 building that had been the Bank of the Alexandrian Society, is open seasonally; it houses and displays important artifacts from the history of the area, from a mastodon tooth, to a bassoon that saw action in the War of 1812, to a wide array of clothing and household objects. In addition, the Society maintains the historically important Old Academy Building at the corner of Elm Street and Main Street. Beginning in 2011, the GHS launched a major expansion including an addition to the Museum building that houses the Hubert and Oese Robinson Research Center. In this state-of-the-art archive, anyone may come and conduct research using our extensive genealogical and other records. Finally, the Society brings engaging mobile exhibits into the local schools that pass on Granville’s history to the next generation.