Stan's Tavern, 495 River Rid., photo (c1935).jpg

Stans Tavern, photo (c1935).jpg

Dublin Core


Stan's Tavern, 495 River Rid., photo (c1935).jpg


This tavern at 495 River Road would later be Beachy's, and then Ship of Fools. The photo was contributed by John Olszowka, who also supplied the following information: 
From what I understand my grandfather (Stan) only operated it briefly--giving it to his sister and brother-in-law (who changed the name to Beachy's). It had been his father's (Albert). As the oldest he inherited it when his father passed in 1932 (who operated it going back to early-1900--it was listed in the 1920 census as a confectionary shop. But speaking with my father it was never that. It was always a bar continuing to operate during prohibition--somewhat openly).
According to this article about the early Poles in North Tonawanda, the first Polish tavern opened in 1882 "on the site where the Olszowka home now stands." A 1908 map shows the "O." surname on 495 River and the property behind, on Simpson. I asked Mr. Olszowka about this, and he furnished the following:
Albert came to the US around late-1880, early-1890--part of the wave of new immigrants entering the US (Poles, Italians, etc). I was told he came to avoid having to serve in the Russian army which was notoriously brutal in its treatment of Poles). Initially he made his way to Pennsylvania--working in the steel mills around Pittsburgh, then to Oil City where he worked the oil fields. The plan was always to make to the Western New York region where people from his village had gone before him. I'm not sure when he finally made it to NT, though I know by 1910 he is listed in the Federal Census as owning the property at 495. The tavern served as a business and boarding house. Albert operated the tavern , which was frequented by mostly polish workers who worked the mills. He also rented boarding rooms in the building to single male workers--if you look at the front of the tavern you see the windows each window was a room that was rented. From what I understand there were as many as six boarders at given time--three rooms in the front, and three in the back. Albert's wife maintained the rooms, working as housekeeper --cooking, cleaning and doing laundry for the boarders. The family lived behind the Tavern in an apartment. Over the years Albert began making a nice little living--it also operated throughout the 1920s. I was told he paid off police to look the other way. He eventually purchased the property across from the alley behind the Tavern that was off of Simson (hence the map). He also began purchasing other property in the town including a large lot on Fredericka and a farm lot off of Ward Road. When Albert died in 1932 my grandfather (Stanley), his oldest son inherited it all. He briefly operated the tavern, changing the name (to Stan's). But really didn't like the business or the lifestyle I was told (he was actually a big football player--he's in the NT Hall of Fame and was recruited heavily by colleges to play. He wanted to study engineering and play football but his father wouldn't allow it. Instead he wanted him to work in the family business and settle down, which my grandfather resisted.). Stanley eventually passed the tavern to his sister and her husband (Beachy). He meanwhile took the property on Fredericka (132) and built a house and settled down to start his family--getting married in 1935




John Olszowka



“Stan's Tavern, 495 River Rid., photo (c1935).jpg,” North Tonawanda History, accessed June 21, 2024,