Saturday, July 26, 2008

Clarence Historical Museum

Today is the "History Day" part of the Clarence Heritage Days weekend celebration. That brings us directly to the front door of the Clarence Historical Museum, located at 10465 Main Street, on the north side of the Town Park. It will be open all weekend so that residents and visitors alike can view the collected materials relating to early and present day Clarence.

A couple of weeks ago I stopped by and was shown around by the museum curator, Clarence alumna ('71) Alicia Bush Braaten (pictured). There are various sections on military history (including current residents in the armed forces), domestic life, industry, schools (including yearbooks from back when through 2008), and much more.

The Goodrich-Landow log cabin is also located on the grounds and is available for inside tours. It was interesting to learn that the phrase "sleep tight" originated in the need to tighten the ropes that held the mattress up. The "bed bugs" part is self-explanatory.

I've posted the pictures I took in a web album for all to browse through. I'll be adding more as I go back on a later date and meander though the parts I missed that day, due to becoming fascinated on one side of the museum, while at the same time, reminiscing with a childhood friend :) So much to see, so little time alloted...Time flies, both that day and in the historical sense.

Today there will be a special focus on old time games and activities for an afternoon of memories. From the brochure:
"Outside there will be a checkers tournament, croquet, nine pins, game of graces, jacks, marbles, and more! Inside the building speakers will present short programs at the top of each hour. Historic re-enactors will be on the grounds to answer questions, especially the age old one, "Was life easier back then?"

The regular hours of the Museum are Wednesday 10am - 2pm and Sunday 1pm - 4pm (March 1 - October 31). The hours for Clarence Genealogy research at the Gerber Greatbatch Library, 10871 Main Street are Wednesday 9:30am - 12noon (716-749-1623).

Mark Putney - RIP

Clarence alumnus ('74) Mark Putney passed away July 23, 2008 after a long illness. He counted the late Rich Beyer (Class '70) among his closest friends . Rest in Peace Mark.

PUTNEY - Mark D. July 23, 2008 of Clarence, NY. Beloved brother Gail (Ken) Skeens, Michael (Elaine) Conover, John Putney, Nancy (Reginald) Sutton, Jeffrey Putney and Leslie Seamans; also survived by nieces and nephews. Predeceased by his mother Betty Jean (Staubitz) Putney. Friends received Saturday 3-5:30 with a service at 6 PM at SHEPARD BROS FUNERAL HOME, 10690 Main St., Clarence. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Roswell Park.
Published in the Buffalo News on 7/25/2008 Guest BookFuneral home infoFlowers Charities

Friday, July 25, 2008

In Memory of Jerry Gorman

Clarence alumnus ('74) Jerry Gorman died yesterday morning, with his partner and caregiver, Judy Monin, by his side. From Judy's walk page:
"Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound…Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman!

Yes, Superman! Strange visitor from another planet who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.

Superman! Who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who disguised as Jerry Gorman, mild-mannered IT Manager for a great metropolitan juice manufacturer, fights a never-ending battle for Truth, Justice, and to “Strike Out” ALS!"
Darn kryptonite, disguised as ALS...

Jerry first contacted me a short 2 weeks ago to ask everyone to join him in the Walk to Defeat ALS. The request still stands. From his sister Deborah (Class '72):
"In his last days, Jerry followed his team results in the ALS Walk avidly. It was something he could do even while bedridden, since he still had enough muscle function to use his computer. As a most avid competitor (we used to call him the "Terminator Moderator" when we played board games), he was happy to finally reach #1 in both team and individual races.

We are now asking anyone who wants to know of a charity to support in Jerry's name to donate to the Walk to Defeat ALS. We are determined to keep him as King of the Race in this year when he will not be with his walkers.

ALS is one of those diseases that doesn't get much attention because it affects a relatively small number of people, but it is so incredibly harsh and inexorable.

Jerry enjoyed life even when it threw him some very hard knocks. He had a talent for that, and I try now to take a lesson from him.

Jerry has generated love throughout his life, and it means so much to me as his sister to know that so many people honor him with their kind words."
Take the time to read previous posts that Jerry contributed to, and that many have left condolences on. Take the time to go to Jerry's Journey, and also the team page, to read the stories by clicking on the many names. Take the time to remember Jerry by donating to "Strike out ALS!"

Most of all, remember Jerry. He will live on in the hearts of many and continue to be an inspiration for us all.

"Rest in Peace" almost doesn't seem fitting. Somehow I have a feeling that he'll continue the fight from the other side. Rock on Jerry! We'll miss you.

(the pictures are from Jerry's team pages and include Jerry & Judy, and at the Brown's in FL)

GORMAN - Gerald V. (Jerry) July 24, 2008. Loving companion of Judy (Kaminski) Monin; dear father of Jeanna, Michael and Alexandra Gorman; son of Jeanette B. (Buccella) Licata and the late Donald Gorman Sr.; brother of Deborah (Benito Cachinero) Gorman, Rosemary (Robert) McLennan, William (Kathleen) Gorman, late Donald (Carla) Gorman, Jr.; uncle of Benito and Alexander Cachinero-Gorman, Chase Gorman, Ashley and Natalie Gorman, Emma, Abby, and Hannah Palmerton; also survived by many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Funeral from the JAMES W. CANNAN FUNERAL HOME, INC. (Southtowns Chapel) 3155 Orchard Park Road, Monday at 9:30 and from St. Mary of the Lake Church at 10:30 AM. Friends may call Saturday and Sunday from 2-4 and 7-9 PM. In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to Jerrys Journey-Buffalo Walk to Defeat A.L.S., P.O. Box 784, Dunkirk, NY 14048. Online registers book at
Published in the Buffalo News from 7/25/2008 - 7/27/2008
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Monday, July 7, 2008

In Memory of Becky Neiss

Clarence alumna ('79) Becky Neiss passed away suddenly on July 4, 2008. She has been described by everyone as one of the nicest people, and a really wonderful person. Becky was fun to be around, and she was caught on camera at last year's Labor Day picnic as she was hanging out with friends (pictured above).

Becky worked as an administrative assistant in the Economics Department at UB. She loved her work family, and they were very important to her.

Becky will live on in spirit in the hearts of many. Condolences to both family and friends.

Rest in peace.

From the Buffalo News:

NEISS - Rebecca July 4, 2008, age 47, of Williamsville, NY, beloved daughter of Rebecca J. (Woodworth) and the late Charles R. Neiss; dear sister of John C. (late Marylouise), Sharon A. (Mark) Phillips, Charles V. and James C. (Marie) Neiss; also survived by her loving dog and companion, Bailey Blueberry Neiss, nieces, nephews, many relatives and friends.

Friends received Tuesday 4-8 PM at SHEPARD BROS. FUNERAL HOME, 10690 Main St., Clarence where a Funeral Service will be held Wednesday at 10 AM. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Animal Humane Society of your choice.

Becky was a 1979 graduate of Clarence High School, and also of SUNY at Buffalo, where she earned a BA in Psychology.

Published in the Buffalo News on 7/6/2008. Guest BookFuneral home infoFlowers Charities

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

At The Foot of Breckenridge Street

Much has been in the news lately about the collapse and potential revival of the historic White Brothers Livery. Sam Savarino was able to take ownership of it yesterday for $1, and thus insure maximum effort and ability towards restoring it. That's a far cry from the original $400,000 asking price for a building assessed at $40,000. After allowing it to deteriorate, the previous owner didn't want to take responsibility for his lack of action. Surprise, surprise.

This started me wandering, camera in hand, to another old building in the area. Sort of a "whatever happened to" type of thing.

Also on the west side is the Breckenridge Street Church (pictured) which was built in 1827. Located at the end of Breckenridge, it too was the focus of much hand-wringing until Rich Products agreed to preserve it. I think that means mothball it, but at least it's not demolished.

The Breckenridge Street Church (also known as the Union Meeting House) exists on land that was originally part of a large parcel owned by Peter Porter, of Porter Avenue and War of 1812 fame. Supposedly when President Grover Cleveland was in town he attended services there. It is now classified as a warehouse.

Right around the corner from it, at 19 Mason Street, is a little house that was built in 1800. That means (if the date is accurate) that it survived the War of 1812, in which most of Buffalo was burned to the ground.

Although Mason is listed as a street, it actually is a narrow alley. Located among warehouses, it's easy to miss - I thought it was a driveway for loading docks. The house itself is the only residence left on the street that at one time overlooked the Niagara River.

Currently, the Mason Street House has bars on the windows and doors. It has siding on it, so it has been taken care of but lacks the "original look". However, it's so isolated that I wouldn't want to be there after the workers have left for the day (as a matter of fact, even with a worker visible I didn't get out of the car).

It doesn't seem to be architecturally significant, and other than being old, nothing special. I would think it's construction and interior details would be historically interesting though, unless it was gutted somewhere along the line.

The Mason Street House survived the burning of Buffalo...that alone should count for something!

(the map is from 1894 and is part of the City of Buffalo Atlas located on the Erie County/Real Property website; click on sections within for detail)

Update: More pictures of the church and the little house on Mason