Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 14, 2012

Reliving Lewiston's history

Niagara Gazette — This is the last chance curious onlookers could have to experience a reenactment  of a time when the village of Lewiston was burned to the ground. 

And in its third year and likely, final night performance, Flames Through Lewiston, which lights up at 6:15 p.m. today on Center Street between Fourth and Fifth streets, Lewiston, is expected to be bigger, better and much more organized than previous renditions.

"It looks like it's coming together," event organizer Lee Simonson said. "And the weather looks really promising. Hopefully, we're not going to have to plow through two feet of snow."

This year's Flames offering marks the 199th anniversary of the destruction of the then-booming Niagara County village. During the War of 1812, British soldiers and Mohawk tribesmen came through the town and burned its structures to the ground, killing hundreds and forcing others to flee in the cold December night.

But the anniversary isn't entirely negative, as the story tells of Tuscarora tribesmen arriving to assist the American militia in defending Lewiston, providing time for countless Lewistonians to escape the musket fire and tomahawks of the aggressors.

"We've got a lot of civilian reenactors running for their lives," Simonson said. "We have British soldiers with muskets having a shootout with American militia. That'll happen down the length of the street. The British soldiers will be attacking, injuring and killing civilians, then the Tuscarora natives save the day and give civilians extra time to flee, just like they in 1812."

The entire history of the event will be narrated from the steps of the Frontier House over speakers at both ends of the block to accommodate the crowds. And those who do gather for the reenactment will be asked to step further back from the roadway to allow more space on the street.

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