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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tonawanda in Erie County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Gastown

Erie Canalway Trail

 
 
Gastown Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 26, 2015
1. Gastown Marker
Inscription.  In 1884, the Tonawanda Gas Light Company was incorporated to supply gas to both Tonawanda and North Tonawanda for street and house lighting.
The "gas works" was located on property once owned by Mary Long. Between the Canandaigua and Erie railroads, it consisted of a brick building on East South Canal Street and of a huge tank 60 feet in diameter. The tank consisted of two cylinders, one of which was inside the other. One cylinder was stationary and the other movable, rising and falling in accordance with the amount of gas inside. When the gas works tank was up, it was noticeable from a great distance and became, therefore, a well-known landmark. As years passed, the entire area eastward from the confluence of Ellicott Creek and the Erie Canal became commonly known as "Gastown". And today, the name persists.

In the photo at left, the framework of the tank indicates how high the movable cylinder could climb. From where you are standing, you can see the building in the photo as it exists today.

Canalboat nearing completion in yard of Ira M. Rose on Ellicott Creek, circa 1890. One of many boatyards in the Gastown area.

On
Westward image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 26, 2015
2. Westward
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a Oile of Wood Shavings - Shingle Mill Employees, 1880s.

The Lumber Mills of Tonawanda.
The Tonawandas resounded with the screeching, humming sounds of its many mills. Sawdust was tracked everywhere; the very smell of it was in the air. Sadly, it was not unusual to see local men missing fingers or hands as a result of accidents on the job, accidents that could prove fatal as well.

Lumber Fire at the Eastern Lumber Company in Gastown.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Erie Canal series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1884.
 
Location. 43° 1.326′ N, 78° 52.329′ W. Marker is in Tonawanda, New York, in Erie County. Marker is at the intersection of East Niagara Street and East Avenue, on the right when traveling west on East Niagara Street. Marker is between the railroad bridge and East Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Tonawanda NY 14150, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. City of Tonawanda (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The People (about 500 feet away); Long Homestead (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named The Long Homestead (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Schoolhouse
Eastward image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 26, 2015
3. Eastward
The extant building pictured and mentioned on the marker is the partially seen red brick building beyond the railroad bridge and behind the orange construction roadsign.
(approx. Ό mile away); The Railroad (approx. Ό mile away); Lumber Port (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Dam (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tonawanda.
 
Gastown Marker & Erie Barge Canal image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 26, 2015
4. Gastown Marker & Erie Barge Canal
Tonawanda Creek is the canal here. North Tonawanda, in Niagara County, is the other side of the creek/canal. The railine owned by CSX, carried by the bridge, runs north to Niagara Falls.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 29, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 400 times since then and 75 times this year. Last updated on February 4, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 29, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Aug. 9, 2022