Historical Society of the Tonawandas

Historical Society of the Tonawandas Our mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, exhibit, and publish the history of the Cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda
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Time for us to share another unidentified photo.  On the back is the name "Christina Fehrmann" and address of 205 Sommer...
11/29/2019

Time for us to share another unidentified photo. On the back is the name "Christina Fehrmann" and address of 205 Sommer St. with notes that appear to be for having the photo framed.

Our research gave us Christina's maiden name as Goodman. In 1902, she married to Wiliam C. Fehrmann in North Tonawanda.

Back to the photo, we do not know if Mrs. Fehrmann is actually in the photo. No one is identified. Neither is the location or who the group of people is.

Any ideas?

More unidentified people in some photos we have of the Gratwick Hose Auxiliary.  If you can identify anyone, please let ...
10/14/2019

More unidentified people in some photos we have of the Gratwick Hose Auxiliary. If you can identify anyone, please let us know which row the person is in and count over from the left. Thank you!

We're looking for help identifying any people or the business in this photo.  It is in our collection but there is no id...
09/28/2019

We're looking for help identifying any people or the business in this photo. It is in our collection but there is no identification at all.

We recently had a visit from this wonderful 3-generation family - all descendants of Mr. Elmer Werrick who donated the p...
08/01/2019

We recently had a visit from this wonderful 3-generation family - all descendants of Mr. Elmer Werrick who donated the pieces of a mid-19th Century fire pumper to the Historical Society back in 1964. With a lot of help from the community, we have been working on a restoration of the pumper since 2011. The family was thrilled to see it in its current semi-restored state - a far cry from what literally looked like a pile of scrap lumber in 1964.

In response to the question about the 'wall' at Elmwood Park, this is one of them.  there were at least two - one at the...
07/01/2019

In response to the question about the 'wall' at Elmwood Park, this is one of them. there were at least two - one at the Minerva St entrance and one at the Fletcher St entrance to the development. I'm sure 'auntie's' mother told her not to play on the wall!

We just wrapped up some research work concerning the business run by a young widow in the downtown section of Tonawanda ...
07/01/2019

We just wrapped up some research work concerning the business run by a young widow in the downtown section of Tonawanda in the 1860s. As usual, the research went off on a few tangents. It turns out that the business location, located on North Canal St. in the Goose Island district, was the site of a small saloon with a ‘variety theater’ attached to the rear. We were surprised to find this ad put out by a later proprietor (1879) in a New York City newspaper - looking for entertainers. The saloon, theater and 28 other buildings were all lost to a mammoth fire in 1886.

This is Elmwood Park in Tonawanda - under development by the Zuckmaier Brothers - local department store owners (later J...
06/29/2019

This is Elmwood Park in Tonawanda - under development by the Zuckmaier Brothers - local department store owners (later Jenss Twin-Ton). The image, taken just over 100 years ago, is part of a new display just installed at the City of Tonawanda library.

Attendees at the Historical Society’s annual picnic social recently packed the Niawanda Park pavilion. Against the backd...
06/21/2019

Attendees at the Historical Society’s annual picnic social recently packed the Niawanda Park pavilion. Against the backdrop of the beautiful Niagara River, former Melody Fair production manager, Joe Romanowski, entertained a full house with tales of backstage antics and performers’ missteps at the theater. A wonderful venue, good food, terrific program and a variety of displays produced a memorable evening for all. Even the weather was perfect!

We just came across this photo from WAY back at the beginning of the century when we were awaiting the arrival of Tim Ho...
06/20/2019

We just came across this photo from WAY back at the beginning of the century when we were awaiting the arrival of Tim Horton's new location at the corner of Niagara and Seymour Streets. We thought it ironic that we are once again awaiting the re-opening of the same site after it was damaged in a truck / building accident this past winter. Those are former mayors Jack Gallagher and Alice Roth in the photo.

We had a visit this week from a professor and student from Buff State who were interested in closely examining a number ...
06/20/2019

We had a visit this week from a professor and student from Buff State who were interested in closely examining a number of specimens from our large textile / clothing collection. This dress from 1898 was one of many they looked at. They were particularly interested in the technology of how fabric printing was accomplished in the late 19th Century as well as how the print patterns were integrated into the clothes' design itself. A fascinating morning!

We found the attached photo in our mail slot this morning!  All we know about it is that it shows some of the Jenss / Tw...
06/18/2019

We found the attached photo in our mail slot this morning! All we know about it is that it shows some of the Jenss / Twin Ton employees dressed up for “Old Fashioned Bargain Days” - an annual summer TNT downtown event during the 1960s. (Remember the nickelodeon playing outside Murphy’s front door? ) So, does anyone recognize anyone in the photo?

Society volunteers who work to document and archive donations have been working on ones from the former Highland School....
06/16/2019

Society volunteers who work to document and archive donations have been working on ones from the former Highland School. These photos were in one of those boxes. We are hoping that someone can help with identifications.

Unidentified Photos
06/16/2019

Unidentified Photos

You will be dating yourself if you can remember this iconic sign that was a longtime part of Richard Goodman's Service S...
06/11/2019

You will be dating yourself if you can remember this iconic sign that was a longtime part of Richard Goodman's Service Station at the corner of Main and Tremont Streets in NT - below where the Riviera Theater mural is today. This original sign is now part of the Historical Society's collection.

It was 100 years ago - 1918/1919 - that the huge task of rerouting the railroad tracks that had run through the center o...
06/10/2019

It was 100 years ago - 1918/1919 - that the huge task of rerouting the railroad tracks that had run through the center of the Twin Cities was undertaken. In this circa 1920 photograph (from a glass negative) a locomotive travelling on the new raised embankment that circumvented the downtown area approaches the site of the new Roosevelt St. Station. The station (which still stands on Roosevelt St) was not yet completed at the time of the photo - nor was the passenger platform at the top of the steps. The site of the Tonawanda City Library lies just off the left side of the photo.

Here's a quick trip down memory lane - back 40 years ago to 1978 when nighttime shopping opportunities lit up Murphy's o...
06/10/2019

Here's a quick trip down memory lane - back 40 years ago to 1978 when nighttime shopping opportunities lit up Murphy's on Webster Street, NT and Liberty Shoes on Main St., Tonawanda. These photos are from a large collection taken by the late Tonawanda News photographer Dave Bugbee.

Here's another recent addition to our photo collection - the 1923 Grade 7B class from Goundry School ( which was next to...
06/06/2019

Here's another recent addition to our photo collection - the 1923 Grade 7B class from Goundry School ( which was next to the Carnegie Library ). Best of all, most of the scholars are identified on the reverse!

06/04/2019
www.tonawandashistory.org

Are you interested in the history of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda? Do you want to help us preserve our history? Join us!

Fill out this form and send with payment. If you want to purchase a membership for someone as a gift, just make note on the form.

https://www.tonawandashistory.org/f/HSOT_App_Form2.pdf

We just received a package in the mail containing this original Fleuron planter.  This planter is a significantly differ...
06/02/2019

We just received a package in the mail containing this original Fleuron planter. This planter is a significantly different Fleuron product than others in our collection. Fleuron, Inc. was a company located at 73-79 Robinson Street in North Tonawanda from about 1928-1933. The company made what was known as "synthetic marble" creating vases and figurines. They exhibited some of their wares at the Chicago 1933 World's Fair.

One of our members just brought in a great photo of a group of employees from Columbus McKinnon back in 1941.  He was ab...
05/30/2019

One of our members just brought in a great photo of a group of employees from Columbus McKinnon back in 1941. He was able to identify only two of the men - Walter Boehnke and Vern Hardy. Anyone else recognize any of these men?

05/23/2019

Do you order items from Amazon? Would you like to support HSOT in the process? Just log into smile.amazon.com, search for and select Historical Society of the Tonawandas, and a portion of your purchase will be designated for your HSOT!

Once again, HSOT is partnering with Niagara River Cruises.  We will be providing historical narration on the Queen of Pe...
05/23/2019

Once again, HSOT is partnering with Niagara River Cruises. We will be providing historical narration on the Queen of Peace on the 2nd Thursday of June, July, August, September, and October. Each cruise is posted individually as an event with a link to purchase tickets.

Alicia Dziak from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo stopped at the museum looking for information about and p...
05/15/2019

Alicia Dziak from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo stopped at the museum looking for information about and photos of George F. Rand. The Foundation is planning a commemorative booklet for the 100th anniversary of the foundation featuring an article about George who was the founder. George is the grandson of Benjamin Long of the Long Homestead.

The attached photos are from the Long Family Reunion held in the summer of 1898 in Niagara Falls, NY. George Sr., his wife Vina, and son George Jr. are shown in the enlarged detail.

We thought some of our more senior readers might enjoy seeing this photo of the control tower on the old bascule bridge....
03/03/2019

We thought some of our more senior readers might enjoy seeing this photo of the control tower on the old bascule bridge. The operator (who may or may not be the individual leaving the tower in the photo) controlled the lift mechanism, raising the bridge deck and allowing boats to pass below. We have also included a photo of the not-so-high-tech control panel within. The lift bridge operated from 1919 until 1978. The photo was taken between 1976 and 1978.

Here's another great photograph. Taken during the construction of the Jack-Knife Bridge over the canal.  The photographe...
02/28/2019

Here's another great photograph. Taken during the construction of the Jack-Knife Bridge over the canal. The photographer was a transplant from Pennsylvania who was working at the Van Raalte Silk Mill on Sweeney St for 3 years - 1917 to 1920. Being a visitor, he took a lot of photographs of his home-away-from-home to send back to his family. The photos were all recently sent back to the Tonawandas and donated to the Historical Society.

Here's the back of the photo we posted last week - giving the names of the outing attendees.  Enjoy!
02/27/2019

Here's the back of the photo we posted last week - giving the names of the outing attendees. Enjoy!

Another great photo just in from a former T-NT resident!  This group of North Tonawanda youngsters is ready to climb abo...
02/23/2019

Another great photo just in from a former T-NT resident! This group of North Tonawanda youngsters is ready to climb aboard for a trip on the Great Gorge Scenic Railway at Niagara Falls. Family names (all identified!) include familiar NT names like Ziehl, Lorenz, Demler, Miller, Kopp, Nablo, Fritz, Dornfeld, Fehrman and Hermann.

The mail continues to bring great surprises!  We just received a dozen old photos in the mail including these two - one ...
02/07/2019

The mail continues to bring great surprises! We just received a dozen old photos in the mail including these two - one of the 1907 wedding of Paul Markovich and Anna Mye. The second photo shows the old Mye homestead at 219 Robinson Street in about 1888. The bride (Anna) is the smallest of the three little girls standing at the front door.

Jerry “Ranger Jerry” Krajna, a Park Ranger with Erie County who is assigned to Ellicott Creek Park, came to the museum t...
02/06/2019

Jerry “Ranger Jerry” Krajna, a Park Ranger with Erie County who is assigned to Ellicott Creek Park, came to the museum to check out our files and photographs of his “stomping grounds”. Jerry is preparing to give a Walking Tour of Ellicott Creek Park on Saturday morning, February 9th. We found this from the Erie County website: Join Ranger Jerry as we explore Ellicott Creek Park and learn about the history of one of Erie County's Heritage Parks. We will talk about what a heritage park is, how it came to be and what the future may hold. This will be an outdoor presentation, please dress accordingly. Registration is required and is limited to the first 25 people who sign up. You must register as individuals and not as a group/family. Meet at the Casino. You must register for this tour at the Erie County website: www.erie.gov/parks. We especially enjoyed Jerry’s remarks about our collection, “You folks have better material and photos on the park than what I found at the Buffalo/Erie County Library”. Wow -- high praise indeed! (Attached are two of the photos Jerry copied from our collection)

We recently received this 2x3 inch New York Central and Hudson River RR commutation pass book - containing enough ticket...
02/06/2019

We recently received this 2x3 inch New York Central and Hudson River RR commutation pass book - containing enough tickets for three months of railroad trips between Tonawanda and Buffalo - dated 1888. The original owner of the commutation book was Miss Myra Glen Myers of North Tonawanda. Miss Myers spent much of her life pursuing higher education but ended up a recluse living in her old family homestead on Christiana Street until her death in 1951.

Among some documents recently received from the Tonawanda City Clerk’s office are a register of Tonawanda men who served...
02/05/2019

Among some documents recently received from the Tonawanda City Clerk’s office are a register of Tonawanda men who served in World War I, a listing of volunteer firemen from the late 1800s, an early 20th century map of Tonawanda, and a register of “Physicians, Midwives, and Undertakers” covering the period 1914-1964. Our favorite is a small booklet documenting the city’s inspection of both outhouses and grocery store bottled milk sales from 1916.

We recently received a large quantity of photographs found in the City of Tonawanda Clerk’s office and forwarded to us b...
01/22/2019

We recently received a large quantity of photographs found in the City of Tonawanda Clerk’s office and forwarded to us by them. Included are views of Downtown Main and Niagara Streets from the 1970s through the early 1990s. These photos show scenes of the Niagara Street reconstruction done in the 1970s as well as Main Street during and after Urban Renewal. Also, photos of City Officials’ swearing-in ceremonies from 1974 were included as well as numerous photos from the Tonawanda Boxboard Division of Robert Gair Company (later Continental Can) from 1954. Attached a few of the stores on Main Street.

Tonawanda native Paul Nussbaum stopped by looking for information on Civil War veterans from the Tonawandas.  Paul now l...
01/21/2019

Tonawanda native Paul Nussbaum stopped by looking for information on Civil War veterans from the Tonawandas. Paul now lives near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and has been in training to become a docent at the Gettysburg cemetery there. Attached photos show one of our recent displays at the N. T. Library concerning local Civil War veterans.

01/16/2019

The Society recently received a thank you note as follows: "Thank you for sharing photos from your (HSOT) Arcadia book. Here’s a copy (of my book) for your shelves. Local Historians Rock! Regards, Gretchen Knapp." Gretchen visited our museum a while back, searching for photos that would help document the Buffalo area’s contribution to World War II defense efforts in the 1940s. Some of our photos, along with others, are included in her book titled World War II: Buffalo, available on Amazon.

We’re kicking off the holiday season with Christmas celebrations at the Long Homestead this weekend!Come join us for a s...
11/30/2018

We’re kicking off the holiday season with Christmas celebrations at the Long Homestead this weekend!

Come join us for a special open house at the Benjamin Long Homestead on Saturday, December 1st from 11:00-3:00 PM. The Garden Club of the Tonawandas has graciously decorated the historic building in accordance with the Christmas spirit. Come and see it admission free!

The following day we begin our Sunday tours. The Long Homestead will be open for tours each Sunday from 1-4 PM, beginning this Sunday, December 2 through December 23. Admission $4.
🎄🎄🎄
Visit our page for more info about these events.

It was 120 years ago today that Tonawandans were heading out to examine the damage done from a cyclone that hit the area...
09/27/2018

It was 120 years ago today that Tonawandans were heading out to examine the damage done from a cyclone that hit the area the night before. With the threat of Tornadoes in WNY in recent weeks as well as the interest shown in the post we put out a few weeks ago regarding this same cyclone that hit Tonawanda on Sept 26th 1898, we spent some time and drew up the attached map showing the path of the 1898 storm as well as the 40-plus homes and businesses that were damaged. Damages ranged from blown out walls to several totally destroyed homes. We are posting a couple other photos from the disaster.

09/19/2018

HSOT is looking for metal bookends to use in our resource center. If you have any that you'd like to donate to us, please stop in at the Museum.

09/12/2018

Our final Historic Boat Cruise on the Canal and River for the season is tomorrow - Thursday Sept 13th! Make your reservations now to save a seat. Come join us for an informative trip around Tonawanda Harbor and crossing over to the old ferry landing on Grand Island - and a lot more in between! Niagara River Cruises provides the boat, we provide the narration. Check out niagararivercruises website for more information on tickets and reservations. Hope to see you there!

In our collection of old postcards are two showing the North Tonawanda Post Office built in 1913.  One shows the structu...
08/22/2018

In our collection of old postcards are two showing the North Tonawanda Post Office built in 1913. One shows the structure in red brick, the other in cream brick. Since the original image was in black and white, the postcard artist could choose any color they wanted. We had always thought that the red was just an ‘oops’ by the postcard artist, but a recently found article from the 1912 Tonawanda Evening News shows that “energetic protests” by North Tonawanda residents convinced US Treasury Dept. officials to change the proposed construction material from red brick to cream. One wonders if the postcard artist knew all along

We had a recent request from a researcher who is making a documentary on the life of nationally known journalist Dorothy...
08/17/2018

We had a recent request from a researcher who is making a documentary on the life of nationally known journalist Dorothy Thompson. Dorothy was an important source of information from inside Nazi Germany before the war. She was also married to author Sinclair Lewis. Dorothy was a Western New Yorker who lived for several years in Tonawanda during her early youth. Of particular interest is the fact that during her time here, Dorothy experienced the 1898 cyclone that tore a swath through Tonawanda. We were able to provide the researcher with quite a bit of material on both Dorothy’s father - pastor of the Grace Methodist Church - as well as some great images of the cyclone’s aftermath.

We recently received this hand-colored, original map of the single Village of Tonawanda, located in the Counties of Erie...
08/16/2018

We recently received this hand-colored, original map of the single Village of Tonawanda, located in the Counties of Erie and Niagara, drawn by civil engineer Tobias Witmer in 1855. The map was donated by a direct descendent of Mr. Witmer. Unfortunately for Mr. Witmer, the northern ward of the village (i.e. North Tonawanda) seceded from the joint village in 1857 and the map became rather unwanted and Mr. Witmer had some difficulty getting paid for what he had agreed to do for the Village.

Address

113 Main Street
Tonawanda, NY
14150

General information

MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION Are you interested in the history of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda? Do you want to help us preserve our history? Join us! Fill out this form and send with payment. If you want to purchase a membership for someone as a gift, just make note on the form. https://www.tonawandashistory.org/f/HSOT_App_Form2.pdf

Opening Hours

Wednesday 12:00 - 16:30
Thursday 10:00 - 18:00
Saturday 10:00 - 14:00

Telephone

(716) 694-7406

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