Then and Now: Grandpre and Vicinity (77th and 78th Divisions, AEF), Part 1

Situated just south of the Kriemhilde Stellung (aka Hindenburg Line), the French village of Grandpré has fascinated this New Jersey-based Webmaster for some time.  Doughboys of the 77th Division gained a foothold in the southern portion of the town on 15-16 October, 1918; but it was the doughboys of the 78th Division that struggled to take the rest of the town and the “citadel” in late October.

The town has some wonderful architecture that sets it apart from many of the rural towns in the area; and this can be seen well in the Griffin Group photos taken in early 1919 and shown below.  It was also quite large at the time; having a population of 1,009 in 1911.



Close-up of Grandpre

Source:  Summary of Operations, 78th Division.  ABMC, 1944.




Eastern Entrance Now

Caption:  Eastern Entrance to Grandpré.  Griffin Group Photo AM425.  Taken 15 January, 1919.  The “now” photo could be a bit of a stretch.  It appears the only item the two photos have in common is the doorway on the right house in the foreground.  The extensive damage in the “then” photo makes it difficult to see a more definitive line up.

Location:  D946 on the eastern edge of town.




St Juvin Road Now

Caption:  St. Juvin Road from Square, Grandpré.  Griffin Group Photo AM411.  Taken 16 January, 1919.  The first two buildings on the left in the “then” photo no longer exist.  But it appears that the third and fourth photos still do; the third being the tan building and the fourth being the pharmacy at the curve in the road.

Location:  D946 in the middle of town by the Carrefour Express Supermarket.




Bismarck House Now

Caption:  Bismarck House, Grandpré.  Griffin Group Photo AM348.  Taken 5 January, 1919.  Of the three buildings photographed in the “then” photo, only the Mairie (Town Hall) exists today.  That is the building on the right.  Unfortunately, the “Bismarck House” is gone, despite its splendor.  The building edge on the left is also present in both photos.

Location:  The Mairie (Town Hall) is situated at #5 Rue de Quatre Fréres Tellier.




Citadel Now

Caption:  “Citadel,” Grandpré.  Griffin Group Photo AM547.  Taken 13 January, 1919.  The wall at street level has changed over the years.  Also, it appears that only the right “foundation” of the structure is clearly visible in the “then” photo.

Location:  This photo was taken from the same location as the Bismarck House photo; but pointing a different direction.




Burgundy Nose Now

Caption:  Burgundy Nose from Tower at Grandpré.  Griffin Group Photo AM412.  Taken 15 January, 1919.

Location: The photo was taken from the church tower.  However, the Webmaster did not have access to the church tower when the photo was taken.  Nevertheless, the “then” photo was intriguing, because it shows a dental office (Zahn Station) and a portion of the field hospital (Feldlazerette.)




Grandpre Now

Caption:  Grandpré from Church Tower.  Griffin Group Photo AM413.  Taken 15 January, 1919.

Location:  The photo was taken from the church tower.  However, the Webmaster did not have access to the tower when the photo was taken.  Nevertheless, the destruction shown in the “then” photo provides a good view of the damage in the town.




Bridge over Aire Grandpre

Caption:  Bridge Over Aire at Grandpre.  Griffin Group Photo AM377.  Taken 16 January, 1919.

Location:  On the D6 just as one leaves the town heading south.  Photo is taken on the property of Mr. et Mme. Ernest, 6 Route de Senuc.




Source of Then Photos:  “Griffin Group Photos,” Record Group 120G, National Archives

Source of Now Photos:  The Webmaster