Note: Yesterday evening, author Timothy Bohen was the featured speaker at the monthly meeting of the Grand Island Historical Society. His presentation was about Buffalo's Old First Ward. He told the story of this Buffalo neighborhood, beginning in the 1830s. Tim said that his desire to learn more about the history of his family motivated him to learn more about the old first ward.
"I originally planned on writing an 80-page booklet for family and friends, but the project grew. It became less about my family. It was an incredible story to tell."
Tim spent a lot of time doing research: reading letters, memoirs, and family history. He then discovered a gem of a resource in Buffalo, called Waterfront Memories and More. It is run by three women, who have put a lot of effort into creating an archive and a museum of Buffalo history. The women are Bertha Guise-Hyde, Peggy May Szczgiel, and Joan Graham-Scahill. He was able to collect a lot of material for his book there.
"I wrote a couple of nights a week. IT became an obsession and the best experience of my life, other than marrying my wife," Tim said.
Here are some interesting facts about Buffalo's Old First Ward.
|By 1900, Buffalo was a big, influential city. It was the eighth largest city in the United States and it was the sixth largest port in the world. At its height, Buffalo's population was 500,000. After the Saint Lawrence Seaway was opened in 1959, however, goods traveled from the east coast to the interior of the United States and Canada, completely bypassing Buffalo. Buffalo's population dropped, and the grain elevators decayed from lack of use. Today, there are just three working grain elevators, where there had formerly been many.|
On the positive side, Canalside in Buffalo has been restored and is a destination for music and riverwalks and other activities. Competitive rowing has also been brought back to the Buffalo River. It had been heavily polluted and it continues to be cleaned.
After the presentation, I was able to buy a copy of Against the Grain from the author. If you'd like to purchase a copy, you can do so at "this website."