Tag Archives: Erie County

Buffalo and Erie’s 12th Annual ‘Paint the Town’


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The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society has announced its 12th annual Paint the Town fundraising event, which takes place this year on Thursday, September 23, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. In an updated format, the fundraiser will feature both live and silent auctions, and include a wide range of artworks by almost 60 artists with strong ties to the Buffalo region.

Items in the auctions will include paintings by Peter Fowler, Mark Lavatelli, Nathan Naetzker, and Catherine Parker; prints by Sally Cook, Roycroft Renaissance Master Artisan Dorothy Markert, Julian Montague, and Michael Morgulis; photographs by Lukia Costello, Lesley Maia Horowitz and Gene Witkowski; mixed media works by Russell Ram and Gerald Mead; and glassworks by Marcelo Florencio and Jane Jacobson.

The auctions will also feature works by historically important artists, donated by local galleries, including the Benjaman Gallery, Meibohm Fine Arts, Muleskinner, Dana Tillou Fine Arts, 20th Century Finest, and Vern Stein Fine Arts. Those works include vintage pieces by painter Carlo Nisita (1895-1990) and printmaker Amos Sangster (1833-1904).

Subjects range from the Buffalo Zoo, to views of the harbor, train station, and grain elevators, to Niagara Falls, to a wildflower growing through a crack in a Buffalo pavement.

Starting at 5:30, a buffet of appetizers and small bites will be served, while the silent auction begins. Thom Diina will provide musical accompaniment to the evening, and food will be catered by Oliver’s; an open bar, offering wine, beer and soft drinks, is also included.

After the anticipation and excitement of the silent auction, at 8 p.m., auctioneer Kelly Schultz of Kelly Schultz Auctions and Antiques will rouse the crowd to a frenzy of bidding over the live portion of the auction.

Tickets are $50 for members of the Historical Society, $70 for non-members. Those who would like to make an additional donation with their ticket purchase may select patron level tickets, which are $150 each. Such support will be acknowledged in the event catalog. Tickets are available by calling (716) 873-9644 x318.

The event takes place at the Historical Society’s iconic 1901 building, with views overlooking Delaware Park. There is ample free parking. The event is supported by HSBC.

The Historical Society will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2012.

Online: John Timon – Buffalo’s First Bishop



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New York History Review has just published online John Timon – Buffalo’s First Bishop
: His Forgotten Struggle to Assimilate Catholics in Western New York

 by Paul E. Lubienecki. Timon assimilated Catholics and Catholic women into the culture of western New York and established Catholicism while battling the local Protestant clergy and the Catholic hierarchy. You can read more about him here.

Mr. Lubienecki is a doctoral student of History at Case Western Reserve University. His dissertation topic is on the history and influence of the Catholic Church on the American labor movement. The article can be found here on the New York History Review website

Illustration: Bishop John Timon Bust, The Right Rev. John Timon, Bishop of Buffalo, 1847-1867, plaster, A. Pellegrini, Buffalo, 1885. On display in 2002 at Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.

Women and Divorce: 19th Century Outrage-21st Century Strategies


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The Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, in collaboration with co-sponsors Adrienne Rothstein Grace, Certified Financial Planner, and the Western New York Women’s Bar Association, will present “Women and Divorce: 19th Century Outrage/21st Century Strategies,” an evening of speakers on the topic of the changing rights and history of women and divorce in New York State on Thursday, August 26, at 7 p.m.
at the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, 25 Nottingham Court (at Elmwood Ave.).

Keynote speaker Dr. Ilyon Woo is the author of The Great Divorce: A Nineteenth-Century Mother’s Extraordinary Fight against Her Husband, the Shakers, and Her Times (Atlantic Monthly Press). The book tells the story of Eunice Hawley Chapman, whose husband left her, taking their children, and joined the Shakers, a reclusive religious sect. At the time, a married woman in her circumstances had few rights and no legal identity. Chapman sought unprecedented intervention, and fought hard for the return of her children, rallying even the State legislature. Dr. Woo will speak on the topics addressed in her book. She will also sign copies of the book, which is available in the Museum’s gift shop

Attorney Carol A. Condon will address present-day New York State divorce law. New York is the last state in America to consider putting no-fault divorce laws on its books. Condon is a member of the Family Law Committee of the Bar Association of Erie County, and of the New York State Bar Association. She is a frequent speaker and author on topics related to divorce and family law. Condon is the past president of the Western New York Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York.

Co-sponsor Adrienne Rothstein Grace, Certified Financial Planner and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, will present information specifically on the topic of divorce financial planning. Rothstein Grace has a widely varied background in financial services. She is currently with Mass Mutual/The Buffalo Agency. In concert with attorneys and mediators, Rothstein Grace helps clients in divorce gain clear ideas of their financial position, outline different settlement scenarios, and forecast long term effects.

The event is $7.00; Free to Historical Society and Western New York Women’s Bar Association members. For more information log on to www.buffalohistory.org, e-mail bechspr@bechs.org, or call 873-9644 x319.

‘Perceiving Buffalo’ Autistic Artists Exhibit


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The Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society (BECHS) has announced “Perceiving Buffalo,” an exhibit of works by artists from Autistic Services, Inc. (ASI). The show opened in BECHS’ second-floor Community Gallery on July 1st and will run through Sunday, August 22, 2010. The exhibit is open to the public, and free with regular museum admission.

In addition, there will be a celebratory reception sponsored by Autistic Services Inc., on Thursday, July 22, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Historical Society. The reception is free and open to the public.

The exhibit, curated by BECHS Museum Educator Tara Lyons, and facilitated by ASI staff members Veronica Federiconi, Dana Ranke, Todd Lesmeister, and Brian Kavanaugh features work by Aaron B., Dan C., Stacey M. and Neil S., four artists from ASI’s Arts Work Program.

The selected paintings and drawings mesh the works of the artists with BECHS’ mission to tell the stories of people and places in the region. The show highlights the artists’ interests in and creative interpretations of iconic Buffalo landmarks and community figures. Portraits include those of Ani DiFranco, Tim Russert, and one featuring three local newscasters. In addition, there is a series of drawings of Buffalo public school buildings. A short film of artist Neil S. will describe the artists’ creative process and his deep personal connection to the subject matter.

Autistic Services Inc. is a community organization that promotes the awareness of autism and provides treatment, education, and care for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The Arts Work Program, through which the works in “Perceiving Buffalo” were created, is part of the ASI’s individual therapy rooted in the creation of visual arts.

The reception will be held in the State Court of the Historical Society, and will feature a performance by No Words Spoken, a group of musicians which also evolved through Autistic Services programming. Wine and cheese will be served, and the public is invited to attend this free evening event.

Buffalo & Erie Co. Historical Names New Director


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The board of managers of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society today named Melissa N. Brown, an expert in Western New York history and the Historical Society’s director of research and interpretation, its new director.

Brown, 36, becomes the museum’s 11th director and succeeds Cynthia A. Conides PhD., who will return to her full-time job with Buffalo State College, which “loaned” Dr. Conides and her expertise to the Society for the past four years. Dr. Conides will stay on part time as curator of special projects at the Historical Society’s museum.

Brown, who helped drive the popular “Buffalo Bills 50th Anniversary Season” exhibit last fall, worked closely with Dr. Conides, the head of the college’s Museum Studies Program, on a series of recent initiatives at the Historical Society. Brown is an expert in managing collections and has consulted on more than a dozen major exhibits at the Society and at other Western New York museums.

She will transition into her new position as Dr. Conides reverts to the college by Dec. 31. This will also give Brown time to complete work on a major museum initiative “John Mix Stanley’s Trial of Red Jacket,” opening in October at the Nottingham Court museum.

“This is a logical transition of expert leadership and the board of managers is delighted that Melissa can move seamlessly to carry on the work Cynthia initiated to grow and modernize the museum,” said Joan M. Bukowski, president of the Society’s board. “We are extremely gratified that Melissa has worked her way through the museum’s hierarchy to this position of ultimate responsibility. We are impressed by her innovation and imagination and look forward to where she will take us.”

“We are also cognizant that among Buffalo’s leading cultural institutions, including the Albright-Knox, Science Museum and Zoo, the Historical Society also now has a vibrant young leader from a new generation of museum innovators,” Bukowski said.

Brown returned to her native region from Boston to join the Society’s staff in 1998 as a collections assistant. She received her M.A. in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University in 2000, adding to her 1995 B.A. in history with a museum studies minor from the State University of New York at Oswego.

“This of course represents a fantastic opportunity for me to build on the superior example and leadership of Cynthia Conides and continue our effort to modernize the museum and bring its exhibits up to and beyond current expectations,” Brown said. “I’m grateful to the board of managers, and the excellent staff here at the museum for this opportunity and I pledge to use all my energy and expertise to make sure we reach our shared goals.”

Dec. 31 also represents the end of the present four-year agreement between the museum and Buffalo State College. The “memorandum of understanding” allows the college, across Elmwood Avenue from the museum, to aid the museum, as it did with Dr. Conides’ involvement. The board and the college are currently negotiating an extension, which will start Jan. 1, 2011.

A resident of Gasport, Brown has been involved in nearly all the major archiving and collections work at the Society in the last 10 years. Her responsibilities included providing commentary, developing interpretive materials, facilitating exhibit design, performing historic research and scripts, and furthering and maintaining the museum’s collection.

More About The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society

The Society’s mission is to maximize the educational potential for our community’s vast resources and abundant narratives through innovative programming, partnerships and collaborations; to share, preserve and add to our outstanding collections to tell the stories of Western New York, from the ordinary to the extraordinary. The Society’s building, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, is the only permanent building erected for the Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo’s international fair attended by 8 million people from May to November 1901. The Exposition is best known for being the largest showcase to that time of the uses of electrical illumination. It celebrated the technological innovations that had recently harnessed the generating power of nearby Niagara Falls. During the Exposition, the building served as the New York State Pavilion and was the scene of an intensive schedule of receptions welcoming distinguished guests from around the world.

Awarded the design commission by a state-sponsored competition, young Buffalo architect George Cary (1859-1945), who had been classically trained in Paris, designed the building, faced and corniced with Vermont marble, in Doric style. The beautiful south portico, overlooking Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park, is a scaled-down version of the east front of the Parthenon, in Athens. Cary was able to complete his original design in 1927 when the building was enlarged to accommodate the present-day Library and Auditorium. Eleven relief sculptures, designed by Edmund Amateis, surround the building, each depicting a significant event in local history. The bronze entry doors, designed by J. Woodley Gosling and sculpted by R. Hinton Perry, show allegorical figures depicting “History” and “Ethnology.”

After the Exposition closed, the building became the headquarters of the Buffalo Historical Society in 1902. The Society, founded in 1862, had previously displayed its growing collections in a series of rented spaces in downtown Buffalo. Today the building hosts the Historical Society’s Research Library (collections include 20,000 books, 200,000 photographs and 2,000 manuscript collections), its Auditorium, long term exhibits BFLO Made! and Neighbors, galleries for temporary exhibits, and the Museum Shop. BECHS is a private not-for-profit organization tax exempt under Sec. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It receives operating support from the County of Erie, the City of Buffalo, the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA, a state agency), and from members and friends. BECHS is accredited by the American Association of Museums.

Local Radio Rewarded For Polish Legacy Piece


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Buffalo radio station WBFO (88.7) has received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award by the Radio-Television News Directors Association for a story about the Polish Legacy Project (PLP), a group of people whose aim is to capture the stories of Polish survivors of World War Two while they are still alive. The piece aired last year just before the PLP’s Untold Stories Conference.

The story was produced by Joyce Kryszak. You can listen to the story and hear clips of interviews with Polish WWII survivors here.

Buffalo Maritime Center Building War of 1812 Bateau


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The Buffalo Maritime Center’s new project to build a replica War of 1812 Bateau is now underway. Work sessions on the 25-foot boat will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:00 to 9:00 pm beginning February 23rd in the boat shop at 901 Fuhrmann Boulevard, Buffalo. According to organizers this will be the first bateau built in Buffalo in 200 years.

Anyone interested in participating can visit the shop any time during regular hours to check on the progress of construction. Check their website for shop hours, directions, and/or email for more information.

The boat building program officially began as a part of the Buffalo State College Design Department in 1988, recognizing the importance of boat design, naval architecture, and the craft of boat construction as important fields within the design disciplines.

Conference: Poland to Buffalo Through WWII


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The Polish Legacy Project in Buffalo will be hosting a conference, “Poland to Buffalo Through WWII: Untold Stories Come Alive” in that city on October 3rd and 4th. The aim of the conference is to highlight the stories of Polish WWII survivors who settled in Western New York as a result of the war. This is the first time an event such as this has been organized in the 60 + years that these survivors have been in this country. Up until now, they have kept their experiences to themselves and their children, speaking about them almost exclusively in Polish.

Among the survivors speaking at the conference will be: a veteran of the Warsaw Uprising, a veteran of the battle at Falaise, a survivor of Soviet labor camps and a survivor of German labor camps.

For more information visit: http://PolishLegacyBuffalo.com

Saint Lawrence Seaway Celebrates 50 years


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July 9-12, 2009 marked the 50th anniversary of the engineering feat that created the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The best way to see the seaway is to take the 518-mile Great Lakes Seaway Trail which parallels the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River and Lake Erie in New York and Pennsylvania. A journey along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail offers an authentic American experience of the fresh waters and shoreline landscapes that has shaped much of America’s history.

Fifty years ago Queen Elizabeth II and Dwight D. Eisenhower opened the manmade waterway route into the North American interior. Since then, rhe Saint Lawrence Seaway has been called “the Gateway to North America” and the 120-mile east-to-west start of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail is its road-based parallel. The byway then continues another 398 miles to the Pennsylvania-Ohio border along Lake Erie.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Locks Visitor Center, from which you can watch the world’s oceangoing vessels rise and lower the equivalent of a six-story building in the locks at Massena, NY, is one of many iconic destinations on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail. Other popular destinations include the 1000 Islands, small harbors along the Lake Ontario and Lake Erie shorelines, Niagara Falls, and the Seaway Trail Pennsylvania Erie Bayfront. Learn more online at www.seawaytrail.com.

NY State Historic Preservation Awards Announced


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New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash has announced the recipients of the 2007 State Historic Preservation Awards. The Historic Preservation Awards honor the efforts and achievements of individuals, organizations and municipalities that make significant contributions to the effort of historic preservation throughout New York State.

The State Historic Preservation Awards were established in 1980 to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York’s historic and cultural resources. The recipients were honored at a ceremony at Peebles Island, home of the State Historic Preservation Office, Bureau of Historic Sites.

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt
Public Sector Achievement Award

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, who represents the 144th Assembly District (including Buffalo’s west side and Grand Island on the Niagara River), is honored for his outstanding contribution to advancing historic preservation and community improvement activities across the state.

Eldridge Street Synagogue
Project Achievement Award, Bonnie Dimun, Executive Director, Roberta Gratz, Founder and President Emeritus

The Eldridge Street Project is recognized for its outstanding contribution to restoring and revitalizing the Eldridge Street Synagogue, one of New York’s most prominent historic religious properties.

Universal Preservation Hall
Project Achievement Award, Mattthew Kopans, Director

The Universal Preservation Hall project in downtown Saratoga Springs is recognized for transforming a distinguished yet deteriorated historic church into a vibrant center for art, culture and community events.

Town of Roxbury
Community Achievement Award, Town Supervisor Tom Hynes, Town Historian Peg Ellsworth

The Town of Roxbury, located on the East Branch of the Delaware River, is being honored for its variety of creative approaches to integrating historic preservation into the everyday life of the community, especially in the hamlet of Roxbury.

Adirondack Architectural Heritage
Non-profit Achievement Award

This regional non-profit organization is honored for expanding and enhancing the public’s understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the area’s historic and cultural treasures.

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), which is part of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, helps communities identify, recognize, and preserve their historic resources, and incorporate them into local improvement and economic development activities. The SHPO administers several programs including the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit, state historic preservation grants, the Certified Local Government program, and the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places, which are the official lists of properties significant in the history, architecture, and archeology of the state and nation. There are more than 4,400 State and National Register listings in New York, including nearly 90,000 historic buildings, structures and sites.

Rochester, Buffalo Preservationists Join Forces


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The directors of two Buffalo area preservation groups voted to merge their organizations late last week. Both the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier and the Preservation Coalition of Erie County will now be merged into one organization – Preservation Buffalo Niagara.

According to Buffalo Business First, the decision comes after nine months of negotiations. Preservation Buffalo Niagara will be governed by a 21-member board; 10 of the seats will be filled from existing directors and the remaining spots will be filled anew.

Buffalo Rising has more of the story:

According to Harvey [McCartney, retired Director of the Landmark Society] and Cynthia [Van Ness, President of the Preservation Coalition of Erie County], the new organization will have its work cut out. In addition to playing a key role in preparing for the 2011 conference, several longstanding preservation issues need to be addressed, including conducting more historic resource surveys (Rochester was fully surveyed in the 1980’s, Buffalo has not been), and bringing more preservation attention to Buffalo’s east side. A common thread through the discussions was the need for the new organization to get out in front of preservation issues and be proactive, rather than reactive—which all too often results in bruising preservation battles with preservationists being labeled “obstructionists.”

There will be a national search for an executive director in the months to come.