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46 Sweeney (White Star Hotel, White Sails, Silver Sail, Alexander's)

46 Sweeney, Saloon and dwelling, 2, map (1886).jpg

Bought in 1890 by James Ennis. By 1909 owned by Philip Perew, who lived there until his death in 1946. Dorothy Saunders-operated by 1939. A descendant…

Allan Herschell Companies

Allan Herschell, colorized.jpg

An 1894 Armitage-Herschell advertisement shows a not-at-all-dangerous-to-children-looking steam boiler and pulleys providing motive power to the…

American District Steam Heating

American District Steam Heating Plant, postcard (1926).jpg

Founded in 1877 in Lockport, NY by Birdsall Holly.

Artizan Factories Inc.

Artizan Factories, photo (1926, HST).jpg

The only known photograph of the Artizan Factories Inc. building in its seven years of operation; published in a 1926 industrial survey. From the…

Auto-Wheel Coaster Company

Auto Wheel Co., wood shop, photo (NTHM, 1929-10).jpg

Employees of the Auto-Wheel Coaster Company's North Tonawanda plant. PHOTO: North Tonawanda History MuseumOrganized as the Buffalo Sled Co. in 1905 by…

Avondale Theatre (Oliver Theater)

Avondale Theatre photo, Tonawanda Scholastica (1924).jpg

This former theatre at the 358 Oliver Street was razed in the late 1980s, and is now only a memory. Interneteer Joe Vogel offers the following…

B. P. O. Elks Lodge 860

B. P. O. ELKS No. 860, postcard.jpg

The Elks Club home c1920–2011; northeast corner of Main and Sweeney.The North Tonawanda chapter of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks…

Backer House (International Hotel, Washington Hotel)

Backer House, map (1886).jpg

(118-124 Webster Street) Said to be the oldest hotel in the city, built in 1850, though no corroboration of date. The alley behind is still known as…

Bennett Lumber Company

Bennett Lumber Company grounds, illustration (1926).jpg

Island and Main Streets. Bennett began his lumber business at Main and Island Streets as Hoadley and Bennett in 1902, eventually expanding to 190…

Blue Whale Car Wash

Blue Whale Car Wash, photo (1983).jpg

The Blue Whale as a steel-girded tadpole, ca 1972.The Blue Whale Car Wash seemed harmless enough: a building-size mass of periwinkle fiberglass…

Boathouse Park, Weatherbest Slip

Boathouses, Boathouse Park, photo (Dennis Reed Jr, 2021-05-03).jpg

Signage for the "Little River Boat Club," "Boathouse Park," "Wardell Boat Yard" and "Weatherbest Slip" strive for dominance in this idyllic riverside…

Boulton Carbon Manufacturing Company

Boulton Carbon Mfg Co, map (Sanborn-Perris, 1893).jpg

W. H. Boulton's Cleveland company manufactured carbons used in arc lighting. From Wikipedia: By 1894, he had formed the Boulton & Crown Carbon…

Buffalo Bolt Company

Buffalo Bolt Company, illustration (A Graphic Story 1920).jpg

Formerly situated on Oliver Street near East Ave., this longtime employer got its start in Amsterdam, N.Y. in 1855. They moved to a small two-story…

Buffalo Norsemen Hockey Club

Buffalo Norsemen, puck.jpg

This hockey team played a single season (1975-1976) in the NAHL at the Tonawanda Sports Center in North Tonawanda.

Buffalo Pumps

Buffalo Pump (from gardener41).jpg

A general early description of the plant my be found at "The Pump Works." Tonawanda News, August 24, 1893.

Carnegie Arts Center

Carnegie Library, illustrated postcard (1910).jpg

Formerly the public library. Built in 1903 from a Carnegie endowment.

City Hall

City Hall, illustrated postcard (c1940).jpg

The former North Tonawanda City Hall was located on the southeast corner of Main and Tremont. The current North Tonawanda City Hall and police station…

Colonel Payne School

Colenel Payne School, illustrated postcard.jpg

Public School #5

Creo-Dipt, Weatherbest Stained Shingles

Creo-Dipt Stained Shingles, booklet illustration.jpg

In November 1929 Island Street facility nearly wiped out by a disastrous blaze that does an estimated $250,000 in damage and destroys 100 carloads of…

DeGraff Mansion

Degraff Manion (from DeGraff Mansion Memoir on Facebook).jpg

On April 30, 1885, James H. DeGraff and his family moved into the elegant mansion at the corner of Payne and Goundry. It was the first residence in…


Webster Street, with dog, postcard.jpg

Most of the relatively imposing brick and wood edifices of North Tonawanda's downtown area, adjacent to the Erie Canal and world-class lumber yards,…

Dreamland (Strand Theater)


The Strand at Oliver and 1st opened as a silent film and vaudeville theater on June 24, 1914, and was originally named "Dreamland." It joined several…

Ellicott Creek Estates (Tonawanda)

Ellicott Creek Estates sign on car, photo (c.1923).jpg

In the mid 1920s, the area between Tonawanda and Ellicott Creeks near Niagara Falls Blvd. was aggressively marketed for sale to prospective homebuyers…

Erie Bridge

Erie Bridge railroad, postcard (1916).jpg

The Erie Bridge at Vandervoort carried Erie Railroad trains, electric streetcars--and apparently courageous pedestrians across the Tonawanda Creek and…

Erie Canal

A Tow, on Erie Canal, Tonawanda, postcard (1915).jpg

The Erie Canal in North Tonawanda followed the existing Tonawanda Creek from Pendleton. The first work done locally was the 1823 construction of a…

Felton High School and Grammar School

Felton Highschool, postcard (c1911).jpg

Built in 1901, the visually striking Felton High School once stretched along Thompson Street between Bryant and Falconer streets. It would later be…


Columbia Hook and Ladder, The Homeyer, North Tonawanda, illustrated postcard (c1916).jpg

Rough chronology at NT History Museum, including notes about many defunct companies. A provocative (if unlikely-sounding) morsel about Hydrant Hose…

First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church, photo (c1900).jpg

The First Baptist Church of North Tonawanda is built in 1888 at 190 Vandervoort Street. On May 30, 1965 the congregation commences worship at their…

Fraternal Order of the Eagles, Aerie #1411

Est. 1906 in Tonawanda, Eagles home at Delaware and Morgan (36 Delaware). 1920-02-03: "The Fraternal Order of the Eagles No. 1411 will hold its…

Gillie, Goddard and Company, (etc).

Gillie Riding Academy, photo ad (Street Railway Journal, 1902 PD).png

William M. Gillie's main foundry and plant is located on Goose Island at Tonawanda and Chestnut. In September 1892 a massive fire destroys some of…

Gilmore School

Gilmore School almost ready, article photo (Tonawanda News, 1957-08-28).jpg

Calls had been made for over a decade for a new school to serve the city's Ironton district (Public School #7). Opens in 1926. For the first few years…

Goerss's Dairy

Goerss Dairy, illustrated ad (1965).jpg

The W. C. Goerss Dairy is started in Martinsville in 1925 by Wilmer C. Goerss. It seems likely that his brother Gerhart is involved early on. By 1937…

Goose Island

Harbor, Goose Island, postcard (1913).jpg

Goose Island as seen from Tonawanda Island, postcard detail, ca 1913. "Goose Island" wasn't a real island: it was a triangular hunk of land in…

Goundry Street Area

Goundry Street Looking East form Paynes Avenue, de Kleist residence, photo postcard.jpg

From the village's earliest days, Goundry Street was a showcase of its most luxurious homes. Wealthy lumber barons and bankers settled here, enjoying…

Goundry Street School

Union School (Goundry Street), photo postcard (c.1900).jpg

The Goundry Street School was a stone building constructed in 1866. From History of Niagara County 1821-1878 (1878): The North Tonawanda Union School…

Gratwick (Neighborhood)

Gratwick, neighborhood sketches (Dennis Reed Jr, 2016).jpg

The White, Gratwick & Mitchell Lumber Company establishes a planing mill and substantial lumberyards along the Niagara River in 1879. They employ…

Gratwick School

Gratwick School, photo (Kathleen Hay, 1990).jpg

Opens in 1894, two years after Pine Woods school, and five years after the second public school, Ironton (According to a 1979 News article).

Hannah Johnson

Hannah Johnson cabin location based on 1875 map (

(ca. 1799 - 1883) Hannah Johnson is a Black woman who lived with her husband John in the predominantly white township of Wheatfield, near the village…

Hope-Jones Organ Co. (of Elmira)

Hope-Jones Organ Company, group photo (PSTOS-Pipeline-2012-10-4).jpg

Troubled, eccentric English genius Robert Hope-Jones came to the U.S. in 1903. In 1907 he formed the Hope-Jones Organ Co. in Elmira, N.Y. (Mark Twain…

Hotel Sheldon

Hotel Sheldon, photo postcard.jpg

Postcard, c1890This massive hotel once occupied the southeast corner of Goundry and Main. A general description from Lumber City (1891): Nothing is…

International Paper Company

International Paper Co., pulp wood pile, photo (1936-09).jpg

(1898-1975?) The International Paper occupied the northern edge of Tonawanda Island for over 50 years, processing lumber for use in magazines and…

Ironton / Avenues (Neighborhood)

Ironton, neighborhood sketches (Dennis Reed, 2016).jpg

Looking east over the Avenues from the Niagara River. 2016 Google Earth Niagara Furnace (later, Tonawanda Iron and Steel) begins producing iron…

Ironton School

Ironton School, photo (c1985).jpg

Ironton Public School #2 opened in 1889 at the corner of 1st Ave and Oliver Street (present-day Elizabeth Harvey Apartments / Olmsted Center for…

Linde Television

Linde Television, 246 Oliver, Christmas window display, photo (1954-12).jpg

(c1953-1982) The 1950s TV craze peaked in 1954 and 1955, with sales topping seven million sets each of those years. One of the companies feeding the…

Lumber Exchange Block (Tonawanda)

First Trust Company, logotype (1931).jpg

[UNDER CONSTRUCTION] Evans testimonial.

Lumber Scenes

Unloading Lumber in the Twin Cities, photo postcard (c1910).jpg

Map of the Lumber District of the Tonawandas in 1893.


Martinsville, neighborhood sketches (Dennis Reed Jr, 2016).jpg

Old Falls Boulevard, looking north from Lockport Ave. to Niagara Falls Blvd. Postcard detail, c.1900. The northeast part of North Tonawanda known as…

Melody Fair

Melody Fair, postcard.jpg

This little theater drew an impressive array of stars to North Tonawanda, and it saddened the hearts of many to watch it fall into disuse in the 90s…

Memorial Pool

Memorial Pool, aerial photo (c1950).jpg

HDR photo by Dennis Reed Jr, May 2019.

Niagara Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company

Niagara Musical Instrument Mfg Co, colorized Sanborn map (1910).jpg

PHOTO SEARCH: Learn about the search for a photograph of Niagara!(1905-1917) The Niagara Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company is formed by former…

Niagara Silk Mills

Niagara Silk Mills, North Tonawanda, postcard (c1910).jpg

Later, the Van Raalte Company.

North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Factory

1893c Barrel Organ Factory.jpg

Architect's rendering of the North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Factory (Tonawanda News, 1894) (1893-1903) The North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Factory is…

North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works

North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works, postcard (1916).jpg

North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works factory at 435 Payne Avenue, c1913; photo colorized by the webmaster. (1906-1919)The North Tonawanda…

Parade down Payne Avenue, color slides (1972)

Young at Heart float, parade, photo (1972).jpg

Young at Heart parade float, 35mm color slide (photographer unknown) These 21 colorful slides provide a wonderful record of many of North Tonawanda's…

Parade on Sweeney Street, featuring fire departments (1961)

Fire Dept Parade on Sweeney Street, photo (1961).jpg

These four color photos from a parade on Sweeney Street take us back to a summer day beside the canal in 1961. They feature a brass band looking sharp…

Park Theater

Vaudeville at Park Theater, Scenic Theater discontinues vaudeville, article (Tonawanda News, 1910-02-18).jpg

Goundry Street. Notices as early as 1905, though unclear if they apply to this location (another "Park" was in Buffalo).

Payne Avenue High School

High School, North Tonawanda, Payne Avenue, photo postcard (c 1950).jpg

Built c. 1925. A pool is added soon after. Later Payne Junior High, and Lowery Middle School.

Payne Estate

Payne Acres - 1908 map overlaying 2019 satellite image.jpg

The area north of Wheatfield Street and on both sides of Payne Avenue--formerly the farm and dwelling of early resident and major landholder Colonel…

Perew's Electric Man and Other Inventions

The Automatic Man, photo (New York Public Library Photography Collection, c1900).jpg

Perew's most famous invention, a patented, giant automaton known variously as the "Electric Man," "Peter the Great," "Christopher," and the…

Pettit Creek

Pettit Creek on map (1838).jpg

A 1908 map depicts the course of the State Ditch, which was originally Pettit Creek. The background photograph shows the mouth of the creek at the…

Pine Woods Park

Sweeney Park Entrance, postcard (c1930).jpg

"Sweeney Park Entrance." Postcard, c. 1920 The largest park in North Tonawanda is also the oldest. Originally named "Sweeney Park," it is comprised…

Pine Woods School

Pine Woods School, photo (1965 North Tonawanda Centennial Magazine).jpg

Public School #3, built 1892.

Rand Companies

Kardex logotype.PNG

The Rand family powerfully shaped North Tonawanda's early banking and business landscape over several generations of enterprising men, and were a…

Reading Room

Frederick Smith steam mill on Sweeney, Zacharia Taylor, woodcut and article - (Tonawanda Herald, 1881-12-01).jpg

Interesting articles and excerpts from longer works. Make sure you check out our Books section for full-length works pertaining to local history.

Recreational Warehouse (555 River Road)

Recreational Factory Warehouse, logotype (1986).jpg

Located directly across River Road from the former Tonawanda Iron and Steel, this location has been host to a string of businesses, as well as long…

Remington Tavern (184 Sweeney)

Man and child in front of Remingotn Rand, photo (c1930).jpg

Built in 1895 for trolleys, the squat orange-brick building was subsequently used by carousel and motor builders Herschell-Spillman and the…

Richardson Boat Company

The New Richardson Little Giant, photo sales brochure, detail.jpg

From the Richardson Boat Owners Association website: In 1909 G.Reid Richardson founded the Richardson Boat Company in North Tonawanda, New York to…

Riverside Chemical Company (1906-present)

Site of Riverside Chemical Company, 1194 Oliver Street, photo (Google, 2021).png

From their website: Riverside Chemical was founded in 1906 by A. C. Rasch. The business started running out of the basement of a grocery store at…

Rojek's Dairy, Stan Rojek and Park Manor Lanes

Rojek baseball card_0002_1949 front.jpg

The "Rojek" name has at least a three-act legacy in North Tonawanda: Andrew and Pauline Rojek immigrated to the US in 1905 from present-day Poland.…

Scenic Theater

Remember the Scenic Theatre, photo from 1900 (Tonawanda News, 1968-10-26).jpg

Fowler Block, SW corner of Webster and Tremont.

Sweeney Cemetery


From History of Niagara County 1821-1878 (1878): The village has a cemetery, which was organized under the statute, in the year 1868. The…

Talismanic Corporation, Frontier Manufacturing Company

1174 Erie Ave, overhead photo (c2008).jpg

Located at 1174 Erie Ave. Talismanic and Frontier were owned and operated by Stanley C. Peuchen and his brothers. Manufacturers of Tops Oil and Oak…

The Swing Bridges

Big Jump, Big Splash, photo (Tonawanda News,1971-06-24).jpg

Apr 21 1883 "An act to incorporate the Tonawanda Island Bridge Compan, for the purpose of constructing and operating a bridge from Tonawanda island to…

Theodore Roosevelt speaks at North Tonawanda (October 31, 1900)


Recreation of newspaper headline by Dennis Reed JrOn October 31, 1900, Republican candidate for vice president and Governor of New York Theodore…

Thiele's Dairy

Thiele Dairy, bottle, detail (c1970).jpg

There were several Thiele's locations: The original was on Shawnee Road (the farm, out on Niagara Falls Blvd. in the Martinsville / Sawyer Creek…

Tonawanda Brewing Company

Tonawanda Brewing Co., photo (c1930).jpg

The northeast corner of Hinds and Niagara Streets in Tonawanda hosted a succession of breweries. According toThe History of Brewing in Tonawanda, New…

Tonawanda Iron and Steel

Tonawanda Iron and Steel, illustrated postcard (1907).jpg

You wouldn't know it from the site today, but the massive plant of the Tonawanda Iron and Steel Company once occupied all the land along the Niagara…

Tonawanda Island

Mound on Tonawanda Island, illustration (1860).jpg

Early European explorers of Tonawanda Island encountered a curious "mound" standing 10-feet tall near the southeastern end of the island. John Percy…

Tonawanda Kardex Lumbermen

Tonawanda Kardex logo (1921).gif

(1904-1921) This Tonawandas football club was a member of the NFL--for a single "away" game in 1921. They lost that game (against the Rochester…

Tonawanda Power Company

Tonawanda Power Co, photo postcard (c1930).jpg

Later, Niagara Mohawk.

Tonawanda Sports Center (Sportsplex)

Twin City Racquet Cllub, illustrated ad (c1970).jpg

In April 1974 construction began on the massive Twin City Racquet Club / Tonawanda Sports Center complex on Ridge Road in North Tonawanda, behind the…

Trolleys and Trains

North Tonawanda Street Railroad trolley car outside Hotel Sheldon, photo (c1896).jpg

Before everybody in North Tonawanda could afford their very own muffler-less Honda Civic to run up and down Oliver Street, trolleys and trains were an…

Webster to Main Street Bridges

062 2198 Bascule bridge.jpg

(?-1916): Long bridge (1918-1978) A "Bascule" bridge (which could open to allow masted boats to pass) once connected Webster Street in North Tonawanda…

Wurlitzer Common School (Head Start)

Wurlitzer Common, photo (2008).jpg

Built c. 1925 on land donated by the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company, serving Martinsville. Public School 6

Wurlitzer Manufacturing Company

1940s Wurlitzer Building and Park, illustrated postcard  (HST).jpg

The signature tower of the North Tonawanda plant and occasional headquarters. Postcard, c.1940. Its iconic tower has presided over Sawyer's Creek and…

Wurlitzer Park

Wurlitzer Park, neighborhood sketches (Dennis Reed Jr, 2016).jpg

Real estate developers begin marketing the “Wurlitzer Park Village” as a safe, family-friendly escape from the aging and industrialized portions of…