Granville's Business Environment
Granville has been interested in business since the earliest days of the settlement. We cut down trees and made all-wooden clocks, we dug the Welsh Hills and followed a seam of iron ore far enough to start the Granville Furnace and make cast iron stoves to ship down the Ohio & Erie Canal.
Education has been, in many ways, one of our most reliable industries, starting with a college started here by Baptists in 1831 as the Granville Theological and Literary Institution, and now a very successful private liberal arts undergraduate school of 2,100 students, Denison University.
Back when it was just Granville College, and before the businessman William S. Denison made the donation that put his name on the place, there were three other academic institutions in the village, all attracting students from around Ohio and back into New England. Some for women, who would have been in a separate school before the Civil War, and competing schools for young men.
Denison is the only post-secondary school in town today, but private schooling on the elementary and secondary level still is an active business in Granville today. The connection between industry and academics can be seen most clearly at the heart of the Denison campus atop College Hill, where the student center is in a building called Slayter Union.
Games Slayter was an engineer and administrator with Owens-Illinois. He helped to develop an unexpected invention that he called “fiberglas,” which led to their merger with Corning Glass Works to form Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation. Slayter had married a local girl, Marie Foor, and their roots in Licking County led to the establishment of the Owens-Corning Science and Technology Center on the edge of the village. The Tech Center, as it’s known locally, was dedicated in Slayter’s honor just before his death in 1964, and after he and Marie had already given Slayter Union to Denison’s campus.
Innovation is part of Granville’s heritage, from those wooden clock makers to finding a use for hollow tubes of spun glass, and Denison continues to be a base for research into the human genome, high-energy physics, and the coming technologies of long-distance education.
Today the transportation options available to village residents are not limited to the Granville Feeder of the Ohio & Erie Canal or a spur of the interurban rail system that was born between Granville and Newark, Ohio, in the 1890s. The four-lane highway to our west offers a near-direct connection to the Port Columbus airport complex, and Granville folk not only work for airlines and aviation businesses, but some residents actually work as far away as New York and Nashville, while still calling Granville home, at least for long weekends.
Creative professionals who want a scenic and peaceful environment are finding that Granville, plus the internet, creates possibilities to telecommute that opens our small village to the entire globe . . . or perhaps we should say opens the entire globe to the influence of this historic village!
Copyright 2009 by Jeff Gill