Niagara Gazette

Columns

February 26, 2014

BRADBERRY: Looking back to see ahead; historical fortune telling

Niagara Gazette — “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you are.”

James Burke (1936- ), Science historian, author

 

Like hundreds of other Niagarans and former Niagara Falls residents now living in other various places around the world, I received some very exciting news in my email yesterday from our precious local “Towne Crier”, my friend and colleague, Norma Higgs.

In one of the dozens of alerts that Norma takes her own valuable personal time and other resources to share information about upcoming events around town with anyone lucky enough to earn a position on her amazing mailing lists, yesterday Norma passed along this vitally important news from Michelle Petrazzoulo, director of the Niagara Falls Public Library announcing the restoration of “normal operating hours” of the Local History Department starting Monday, March 3rd from 5 to 8 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 until 5 p.m.

Much to my delight, Ms. Petrazzoulo’s message included the Burke quote above.

For some like me, that’s great news; not having access to the many thousands of archived documents, old newspapers, magazines, photographs, reports, studies, private collections, artifacts and trivia about our fair city has been a substantial handicap for anyone looking for their own personal family links to the development of this community in particular, and civilization in general.

Great news indeed; the restoration of nine hours per week is definitely a good step in the right direction, and there is hope that even more hours can be added later if resources can be identified.

In my view, any community that fails to understand and appreciate its roots will inevitably lose its way as James Burke and many others have so eloquently put it.

So, take advantage of the new hours and have fun plowing through your history, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you might find.

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