SOMERS, N.Y. - Marty Stole grew up around Granite Springs, surrounded by gourds, tomatoes and corn.
"It was quiet farmland in those days," he recalled. His father was a house builder in the 1960's and '70's. "By the end of the '80's it wasn't worth building a raised ranch any more. Somers went from being a blue collar town to a white collar town. People started building McMansions."
Stole has seen other changes as well. "They redid a lot of roads. Route 118 used to curve around, but they straightened it out. The whole area in front of the Elephant Hotel has been redesigned. And look at Heritage Hills: they started it in 1973. They just finished building the last unit.
"Almost half the homes in Somers are in Heritage Hills. They have a large voting block. There are 8,996 tax-paying parcels in town," Stole added. "I know because I deliver the tax bills to the post office."
Stole knows all this -- and more -- because he has been working for the town for years, and has been the sole maintenance man at the Elephant Hotel for over a decade. "I do everything," he said. "I empty the waste baskets, I clean the bathrooms. See that corner there? I fixed the water damage. I fix whatever I can fix -- everything from a stapler to opening a wall for a new door."
The Elephant Hotel is a Federalist-style building, one of the 18 National Historic Landmarks in Westchester County. To make repairs to the building, Stole had to bone up on late 17th and early 18th century architecture. "The load bearing was different in those days."
Back in his school days Stole trained in the graphic arts. "What I learned to do is obsolete now. I got downsized into oblivion in the '80's. I worked on mainstream computers. I was always handy, like my father, so this is a good spot for me."
When he is not hammering, sawing or delivering 8,996 tax bills to the post office, Marty Stole is a musician and fisherman. "I've got 17 boats on the reservoirs. I go out whenever I can." He plays harmonica with various bands around town. His stage name is Howlin' Marty.
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