Current Conditions
25 ° Cloudy

Sherman Says: ‘Path Through History’ overlooked big Buffalo area moments

BUFFALO — Earlier this year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled the state’s new Path Through History Program, aimed at connecting historically and culturally significant sites, locations and events, throughout the state.

This undertaking will promote tourism and economic development in communities in every region of the state.

New York state will provide a total of $1 million to the regions, to implement their heritage tourism plans. In partnership with the 10 regional economic development councils, regional workshops will receive $100,000 grants, based on their proposal for marketing, planning and regional promotion activities.

These groups will coordinate with local tourism entities to promote the state’s vast network of museums, historic sites and other cultural institutions, located throughout the state, according to a statement by the governor’s office.

Cuomo said that more than 200 new signs will be placed between exits of major, state highways to draw attention to key moments in New York and American history. The signs are in the same blue and gold color scheme that is now featured on our license plates. They are horizontal and not as disturbing to the eye as speed limit signs or placards advertising food options at the next rest stop.

Western New York was afforded 14 such signs. Following is the local list of the wording on the signs themselves. The collection includes: 1825, Flight of Five, largest locks on the Erie Canal, open in Lockport; 1813, Fort Niagara captured by British forces; 1905, the Niagara Movement is founded, begins modern civil rights struggle; 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt sworn in after President McKinley assassinated at Pan Am Exposition; 1901, Buffalo site of the Pan Am Exposition.

Also, architectural pioneer Frank Lloyd Wright designs several buildings in Western New York; 1832, Erie Railroad connects Western New York and New York City; 1874, world famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted completes Delaware Park; 1825, Erie Canal, which connects Buffalo to New York City, is completed; 1911, “I Love Lucy” star Lucille Ball born in Jamestown; 1945, Justice Robert Jackson of Jamestown named chief prosecutor at Nuremberg trials; 1874, Chautauqua movement for cultural and religious education begins; 1921, Allegany State Park, New York’s largest state park, west of the Blue Line, opens to the public; and 1933 – 1937, Civilian Conservation Corps members build new trails and shelters in Allegany State Park, during the Great Depression.

The signs mark a good list of engineering achievements, noteworthy residents and history-shaping events. Some are just about gatherings, while others explain how things got to be the way they are today.

Naturally, it takes only a moment to generate a list of people and events that, somehow, did not survive the cut. If the governor is open to additional suggestions, here are a few from me.

A sign on Route 16 in Chaffee should read: 1956, Earl Northrup opens the first drive-in restaurant to use jeans and cowboy boots for table legs.

A sign on Main Street in Amherst: 1932, Amherst Supervisor Alfred Beiter is elected to Congress, but holds both jobs for two years.

In Clarence: the home of Fay Graves, who owned a funeral parlor.

In Black Rock: Major Frederic “Squat” Miller earns his nickname during the War of 1812, by dodging British cannonballs.

At the old Channel 7 studios: 1998, Irv Weinstein asks, “It’s 11 o’clock. Do you know where your children are?”

In Clarence Center, 1887: Mr. Joseph Bartimes is one of the pioneers in making barrels.

On Fordham Road, Buffalo: 1901, Leon Czolgosz said that he is not sorry he killed President William McKinley.

In Orchard Park: Van Miller proclaims “fandemonium.”

At the site of the old Memorial Auditorium: Rick Jeanneret screams, “Top Shelf, where momma hides the cookies.”

In South Buffalo: 1985, Mayor Jimmy Griffin urges snowbound citizens to grab a six pack and watch a good football game.

David Sherman is the managing editor of Bee Group Newspapers and a columnist for the Weekly Independent Newspapers of Western New York, a group of community newspapers. The author can be reached at

You must be signed in to comment.

Click Here to create a Free Account

Click here to Sign in


Be the first to Comment