B y Jaime Thomas
Where the Quaker meeting house once stood there is now nothing but tire ruts and rubbish.
The nearly 200-year-old building, which also served as a schoolhouse until the 1950s, was demolished Tuesday afternoon.
An excavator began with the front porch and eventually moved on to the main body of the building, which he carefully pulled apart layer by layer. Strong wind blew dust, debris and old veterinarian receipts and X-rays around the property and onto the sidewalk, as cars slowed and neighbors watched the historical structure disappear.
“It’s heartbreaking to see that building go” said Nancy Williams, who was on the forefront of a group of locals who pushed to keep it standing.
She and Edith Sparling, former Granville town historian, as well as several others urged the Granville town board and property owner Tom Burke to preserve the hold meeting house, but their efforts proved fruitless.
On Monday, Washington County code enforcement approved asbestos results and issued a demolition permit to Burke and Jesse Howard, whom he hired for deconstruction. The town of Granville signed off on the permit before sending it to the county.
Lila Myer, who lives across the street from the building, expressed sadness at its demolition as she watched from her lawn.
Sparling and Williams tried several times to contact Burke, and they asked Town Supervisor Matt Hicks to send him a letter on their behalf, asking the Malta-based man to donate the building. Hicks did so, and he said the letter was basically a request for him to give the building to the town. Burke previously said he was willing to give the building to anyone who wanted it.
“We had a brief discussion, and he reiterated that anybody who wanted it could take it,” Hicks said.
When contacted by phone on Tuesday before demolition began, Burke said he was busy out of town and could not speak with the Sentinel.
While at least one of the other buildings on the plot has been approved for demolition, workers were still in the process of removing asbestos from the yellow house as of Tuesday.
Burke and his brother Jerry own or operate at least 35 Dunkin’ Donut franchises, but he told the Sentinel in recent months that he had no immediate plans for the plot.