Granton Native
 Writing Book About Granton


Jay Parker



Granton Native Jay Parker, who is writing a book about Granton’s history,

displays historical items that give insight into the town’s history.
(Contributed Photo)

By Peter Spicer

Granton native Jay Parker is working on the first book written solely about Granton’s history since 1976 and hopes to publish it within three years.

Parker grew up on a dairy farm south of Granton and graduated from Granton High School in 1982.  His parents, Maynard and Dolores, still reside in Granton.

Parker has lived north of Minneapolis, MN, in Columbia Heights for the last 17 years and is employed by a company that works with those taking adult continuing education classes.

Although Parker now lives elsewhere, he is fascinated with history and particularly Granton’s past.

Parker has “always been interested in historical stuff” and “also likes antiques,” which he has collected for years; he has been collecting historical items from Granton that give a glimpse into the village’s past.

Looking at the village of Granton can be a microcosm of a larger group of people, such as a city or the entire country, explained Parker.

Parker has thought for years, “It would be fun to write a book” and now is doing precisely that, compiling information by spending time at Granton’s library and interviewing longtime village residents when he visits at least every other month.

What makes Granton such a great village to write about is the fact the village “doesn’t have those outside business influences” but instead has locally owned businesses, said Parker, who added Granton’s downtown has stayed approximately the same size and remains strong.

“You still have that small town flavor to [Granton],” explained Parker.

A Committee of Granton residents put together “Granton Community Memories,” a book covering the village’s history from 1856 to 1976.

Parker’s book will be the first book to focus on Granton’s history since that book and will be a good resource not only for those living now but for those born in years to come who want to find out about Granton’s history.

“Granton Community Memories” discussed schools, churches and other locations separately, but Parker’s book will be organized chronologically.

Parker enjoys filmmaker Ric Burns’ work and plans to emulate elements of his style in the book and will take time to focus on a single person who is at a location at a specific time.

A good number of people began settling in Granton by 1845, which is where Parker will start in his book.  The village was originally named Mapleworks, explained Parker, who added writing about the approximate 160-year history of Granton is “doable” compared to European locations founded much longer ago than American locations.

The previous historical book about Granton had several people working together on the book, but Parker has to collect all the information himself.  Parker is therefore trying to get as much input from area residents as possible to make the book a success.

Parker isn’t sure how long the book will be and is hoping to find a local publisher; he hopes those reading his book in the future will appreciate the material and the fact he took the time to write it.

The new book’s title, “Granton: The History of a Central Wisconsin Town” may be changed, said Parker.

Parker handed out flyers at the Granton Fall Fest parade, held Sunday, Sept. 12, letting residents know he is looking for information about Granton’s past.

To contribute information to Parker’s book or for more information about the book, call him at 763-789-4253 or visit his Web site The Granton History Project , which has photos and other historical information on it.

Link to a Preview of Jay Parker's Granton History Book.

  Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

September 15, 2010, Page 9

Transcribed by Dolores Mohr Kenyon, September 21, 2010

Web page by James W. Sternitzky PhD, September 22, 2010

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