Niagara Gazette

Columns

November 24, 2013

GLYNN: Oakwood gaining new respect in Cataract City

Niagara Gazette — Generations of Niagara area residents have strong links to Oakwood Cemetery where countless family members and friends are buried.

The story of that landmark site and how it was established is recounted in the current issue of Western New York Heritage, the illustrated history magazine. Michelle Ann Kratts, professional genealogist and local history specialist at the Lewiston Public Library, is author of the meticulously researched article.

With fascinating photos and sketches, Kratts traces the story of Oakwood from the early 1850s, when the Old Burying Ground (as it was known) had to be relocated as part of the New York Central Railroad Co. plan to reroute its lines through the downtown area. As Kratts notes, the railroad paid the Town of Niagara Falls $400 and covered the full expenses for removing all the bodies to the new site. 

In case you haven’t heard, Oakwood has undergone some major changes within the past couple of years, the moves designed to restore its historical significance. 

The effort has been spearheaded by administrator Larry Steele, a retired electric company owner and long active member and officer of the Friends of Local History at the Niagara Falls Public Library. Other staffers at Oakwood include Tim Baxter, director of operations, and John Wilson, chief of the grounds crew. Pete Ames, a researcher and authority on local history, also has provided valuable insight about the permanent residents. 

•••

THE DOWNTURN: Brennan’s Irish Pub, Main Street, Youngstown, shut down over the weekend, idling a number of employees just before the holiday season. A sign on the front door states “Closed for the Season” but local residents vividly remember that a previous such notice was effective for nearly three years.

In another blow to the Youngstown community, the Heritage Auto Inc., 201 Lockport St., closed a few weeks ago, the only place in the village to have cars repaired or inspected. 

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