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West Falls residents listen to local history lecture

WEST FALLS — Robert Goller, town of Aurora historian, presented a lecture on the history of West Falls and its surrounding area. The lecture took place on Nov. 16, from -2 p.m. at the West Falls-Colden Community Library.

“In the early 1840s, the town of West Falls, originally proposed to be called Florence, attracted numerous surnames of fame, including: Henshaw, Doty, Boies and Crockershire,” said Goller.

“During those years, James Henshaw purchased about 560 acres of land, which is now considered to be the western side of Davis Road. His brother, Joshua Henshaw, also bought property here, as well. James and his wife had 11 children. He was considered to be a justice of peace, served in the War of 1812, and his family was also running hotels, in the later years of 1890,” Goller noted.

“The Doty family were also settlers of the town, residing in West Falls in 1903, as were the Reading family. It is special to note, as residents of the present-day town may notice, many roads, back then, would often be nominated by the family’s surname; hence the familiar roads of West Falls, such as Reading and Boise,” the historian told the assembled.

“Horace E. Boies, born in 1827, [who] would later become the 14th governor of Iowa, also resided here. It was quite possible that he could have become president of the United States.”

The historian also pointed out the Union Church, which was erected in the 1830’s and rebuilt after a fire, as well as the Dog Bar tavern, are other historical sites.

“The Cattaraugus Buffalo Plank Road offered a unique water source for residents of the town,” he added. “In essence, the road was very close to nearby creeks, making them especially easier to utilize.”

Aurora residents have submitted numerous articles to Goller who said, “Several great photos are submitted, without any names or titles on the back, that would represent where and who was on that picture. It is the opinion of many to not write on the back, as they think it may decrease the value of the picture, but I do strongly suggest labeling such photos; it will be easier to date the artifact, or estimate where such a picture was taken. If you’re the owner of a one-of-a-kind artifact, it will greatly help the historians to better label who, and where it was.”

Goller also lectured on the Buffal0 & Pittsburgh Railway; the West Falls rail station, which was later converted into a home, the West Falls Creamery and presented the audience with a rare photo of a Thomas touring car parked in the center of West Falls, across from what is now the West Falls-Colden Community Library.


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