Gratwick (Neighborhood)

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Gratwick (Neighborhood)


The White, Gratwick & Mitchell Lumber Company establishes a planing mill and substantial lumberyards along the Niagara River in 1879. They employ 450 men, mostly of German origin, who settle northeast of the facilities. The village’s main street is named after prominent area resident, investor, industry and education advocate Benjamin F. Felton. By 1884 there is a "neat frame" school house with one teacher and 30 pupils, built by Felton (school board president at the time). Gratwick is incorporated into the City of North Tonawanda in 1897.

From the guidebook "North Tonawanda and Tonawanda" (1891):
Among the pioneers in the wholesale lumber trade of this place was W.H. Gratwick, who, in 1870, purchased fifty acres from Hon. John Simson and B.F. Felton, adjoining the Niagara River, about two miles below the mouth of Tonawanda Creek, and started a lumberyard. A half dozen years later P.W. Ledoux built the sash, door, and blind factory, which a few years later was purchased by Parks & Son, who operated the same until its recent purchase by HoUister Brothers. Mr. Gratwick erected a large planing mill in 1879, and from that time forward the place has steadily grown until it now has about 1,000 inhabitants. The lumber and mill interests of Gratwick, Smith & Fryer, Touawanda Lumber Co., and Hollister Brothers will be mentioned on other pages.

Augustus Miller. — After the lumber interests, the next manufactory of importance in Gratwick is the wagon shop at the corner of Oliver and Felton streets. This was built in 1887 by August Miller, and besides doing all kinds of blacksmith and iron repair work, puts up a quantity of wagons, trucks, and other new work. Mr. Miller employs from five to ten men and has added an important industry to Gratwick, in a line of diversified manufacturing for which there is much room for development.

Churches, Schools, Etc. — A class of the Methodist Episcopal church was organized in Gratwick in 1887, and the membership, a short time afterwards, commenced the erection of a church, which with lot, is worth about $3,000. This Avas dedicated in 1889 and has been in charge of Rev. J.S. Duxbury up to the present writing.

St. Peter's German Evangelical church was organized April 5, 1888, by Rev. Kottler and the house of worship erected the same year. Rev. Conrad Bachman, who was educated at the missionschool ot Basle, Switzerland, came to this charge in October, 1888, and teaches the parochial school. Some sixty families are connected with this church.

Gratwick has a public school with about 100 pupils, a brass band, two hose companies, and other societies; numerous hotels, stores, coal offices, and abundance of saloons. It was made a part of North Tonawanda corporation the present year, since which it has been placed in connection with the water mains, has electric lights, and other corporation advantages.

Riverside. — From Gratwick station to the corporation limits on the west is nearly a mile, and as the river presents a graceful curve and nice beach in this vicinity, it has been proposed to call the station which will probably be located one and a half miles below Gratwick, "Riverside." Last year the Riverside Land Co. was incorporated and purchased forty acres on the north side of the Erie railroad, mostly within the new corporate limits. The officers are H.E. Warner, Pres.; J.A. Kuck, of Buflalo, V.P.; Charles W. Archibald, of North Tonawanda, Sec, and L. Landauer, of Albion, Treas.

Bluff Point. — E.A. Milliman, a farmer and contractor, of Wheatfield town, has been seven times appointed a deputy collector, which office he now holds. Mr. Milliman owns a handsome farm of 120 acres at Bluff Point, bounded on the west and south by the Niagara River. The river at this point has a clean gravel shore with high bluff, making a delightful place for a summer location. Editor's note: 1878 illustration and modern photo

G.F. Goerss, also a deputy collector, owns a fifty-acre farm near the mile line, which is handsomely located and will presently be within the radius of development. Last year he erected a dwelling in Gratwick. Mr. Goerss was born in Wheatfield and is an authority on real estate values. He has been supervisor, J.P., Justice of Sessions, and in 1887-8 a member of Assembly.

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Felton, Benjamin F. (1827-1905).jpg

Benjamin F. Felton, photo portrait (Landmarks of Niagara County, 1897).jpg

One of the most prominent early residents of North Tonawanda, Felton is born in Massachusetts in 1827. Early on he is involved in the manufacture of…

Farm residence of E. A. Milliman, Esq., illustration (History of Niagara County, 1821-1878).jpg

Farm residence of E. A. Milliman, Esq., illustration (History of Niagara County, 1821-1878).jpg

House still stands at 2525 River Road. River Bitt Rentals, former Demler Cider Mill.

Canal and Lumber Yards, Gratwick, postcard (c1900).jpg

Canal and Lumber Yards, postcard.jpg

Appears to be looking southeast through the Gratwick lumber yeards, from roughly present-day Gratwick Park, with Tonawanda Iron and Steel looming on…

Gratwick Slip boathouse gang, photo (Cumming Family, c1905).jpg

Gratwick Slip boathouse gang, photo (Cumming Family, c1902).jpg

A slip on the Niagara River was lined with boathouses south of the (projected) foot of East Ave. Today it is the North Tonawanda Water Wastewater…

Gratwick, William H..jpg

William H Gratwick, portrait.jpg

From Buffalo as an Architectural Museum: [William H.] Gratwick was born in Albany, NY. After he learned the lumber trade, he came to Buffalo in 1877…