Historic Lockport NY on the Erie Canal
Town of Lockport, NY
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Town of Lockport, NY along the Erie Canal Historic Erie Canal in Niagara County NY

Town of Lockport History

Town Historian - Laurence "Larry" Haseley

Office Phone: 716-438-2159
Home Phone: 716-434-1547

Town of Lockport Historical Society Membership Application (pdf)



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History of the Town of Lockport on the Erie Canal
The Town of Lockport was incorporated February 2, 1824, when it was split from the Town of Cambria and Royalton.

Although no Indian village sites have been located, many artifacts have been found dating back to 8,000 B.C. and the Neuter Indians.

Being part of the Erie-Ontario lowlands, there is a variety of soils that enable the growth of excellent fruits and vegetables which helped to attract settlers.

Early settlers came from many countries such as England, Scotland, Germany, Ireland and Italy, often following Indian trails. Many of these became roads in the 1800's and were frequently named for the people residing there. Our best known road, though, is Transit Road, and it had begun in 1798 as an 800 foot wide corridor along the western edge of the Holland Land Survey. It ran from the Pennsylvania line to Lake Ontario, a distance of ninety two miles, and was the first of three toll roads in the Town.

Town of Lockport History

The history of the Town of Lockport changed radically when this area was chosen as the place where the Erie Barge Canal would ascend the escarpment. In 1825, when "our" section of the Grand Canal was started, there was a tavern on the "Niagara Road" at Cold Springs - which was then the western terminus of the canal. It also served as a stop for the mail on the way to Lewiston.

The original canal was twenty feet wide and four feet deep, limiting the size and number of boats used, and has been enlarged twice; first in 1860 then again in 1909. Today, however, there is little commercial traffic, but it has become a favorite recreational attraction. Concerts are held in the park located at the wide waters (original barge turn-around) and the towpath is frequented by fishermen, bicyclists, walkers, joggers as well as dog walkers.

At one time, there were several railroads running through the town, and even a trolley line which ran from Buffalo to Olcott on Lake Ontario. Conrail was formerly Penn Central. Recently, New York State Electric and Gas built a line to the Somerset Power Plant, and a spur has been put into the Town I.D.A. Park.

Education has always been an important part of our Town, and before consolidation in 1956, there were sixteen one-room schools here. The District 5 "Pomeroy" school has been renovated by the Town of Lockport Historical Society, and is used for meetings and demonstrations of the techniques used by Dr. Ruth Muck when she taught there. Meetings are held the third Monday of every month except July and August. The original school bell is rung at their "Old Schoolhouse Day" fund-raiser. Many of the other schools were sold, rebuilt or destroyed. Currently, there is only one active school located within the Town of Lockport, George Southard Elementary. It is the largest elementary school within the Lockport City School District, one of five school districts in the Town.

Cornell Cooperative Extension offers activities of interest to everyone from the five to seven year old "Cloverbuds" to adults. The 4-H is not just about farming and livestock, but offers workshops and challenges that vary from gardening, modeling, nutrition and animal care to dinner theater, tours, and ecology concerns. They provide a 24-hour phone service for questions from the community.

The Niagara County Fair is held on these grounds the first week in August and features 4-H projects and activities for all ages. Rides, food, competitions and entertainment are part of the festivities.

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Lockport, NY on the Historic Erie Canal

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