99 year old Cliff Granger, Auburn’s oldest resident, will receive the Boston Post Cane tonight. The ceremony will begin at 6:30 pm at the Senior Center in conjunction with the Auburn historical Society monthly meeting.
The previous Post Cane holder, Lillian Smolsky, passed away in July at age 100.
Granger is a lifelong Auburn resident. He grew up on the family farm that used to encompass a large portion of the Prospect St., Rt. 20 and Southbridge St. areas where the Park ‘N Shop plaza and the BJs/Home Depot complex exist today.
The Boston Post Cane tradition dates back to 1909 with Edwin Glozier, publisher of the Boston Post. Glozier commissioned J.F. Fradley and Co. to craft 700 ebony canes with gold heads. The 14K gold head was engraved with the inscription “Presented by the Boston Post to the oldest citizen of Auburn…” (or other town). The canes were distributed to the boards of selectmen in 700 New England Towns.
The oldest citizen would keep possession of the cane until his death. Yes, “his” death. The canes were originally presented to the oldest man in a town. According to Town Historian Ken Ethier, by 1930, towns had given way to women’s equality and had begun awarding the cane to the oldest citizen – male or female.
Upon the Boston Post Cane holder’s death, the cane was to be returned to the town, which technically owned the cane. Well, this did not always happen. Over time, some families did not realize the significance of the canes and kept or discarded the canes. Many towns did not continue the Boston Post Cane tradition, and some towns modified the tradition. Auburn is one of the few towns that both possesses its original cane and continues the tradition of awarding the cane to its oldest resident.
The presentation is free and open to the public.
Lorraine Gleick Nordgren Senior Center
4 Goddard Dr.