Niagara Gazette

Columns

January 14, 2013

HIGGS: Educational landmarks the lesson plan

Niagara Gazette — The word “landmark” can be defined in several different ways. I guess a simple definition is a prominent or well-known object in a particular landscape.

There is certainly no lack of “landmarks” in Niagara Falls. We may have lost a lot of our architectural building treasurers but that does not mean we cannot look back at some of them that may be gone or morphed into something else and there are a lot of other objects that fit that category.

Let’s look at some of the school buildings scattered around the city, public, private and parochial that may have become something different now or may be lost to history. My friend and fellow historian, Pete Ames, guided me to a great book compiled and written by Patricia Wilson Rice who was involved during 1991 on the Historical Subcommittee of the City of Niagara Falls Centennial Committee. It is a one-stop shop and was just what I was looking for as my research time is somewhat limited.

I will be calling on my readers to offer some personal memories when we reach a particular school that is near and dear to them. I will try to give a heads up on coming attractions so feel free to call me (282-3599) to leave a comment or two on my message center.

In the early history of our area, Niagara Falls was comprised of settlements and villages. One of these was Schlosser, named after Fort Schlosser located about one mile above the Falls. The fort was destroyed by the British in 1759 after the French surrender.

Along came Augustus Porter, an early settler, who took advantage of an offer from the state of New York to purchase land along the Niagara shoreline and in 1806 he built a saw mill and a blacksmith shop. He moved his family to Niagara Falls and built a house which was later destroyed during the War of 1812 but rebuilt on the same site. By 1824 this area became known as the Village of Manchester after the industrial City of Manchester in England and soon had a population of 550 citizens.

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