Tonawanda News


March 8, 2014

TUCKER: History buffs recall bridge

Tonawanda News — An update on last week’s column on National Fuel and a scheduled re-reading of my meter to adjust the bill that was six times normal.

NFG insisted the next available meter-reading would be March 11, due date of the bill. Lo and behold, a meter reader came early Monday morning followed by a call saying the reading was done and a follow up by a worker to check the meter. The latter, friendly and knowledgeable, said the meter was leaking gas, which he fixed and ordered a new meter for spring. That’s the kind of welcome service I expected first time around.


Bob Derner’s report on the railroad bridge garnered several responses, first from Bob himself.

My mistake,” Bob wrote, “the bridge was built by the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Co. Permission was granted in 1886. Sorry about naming the wrong bridge builder.”

Jack Van Slyke called to say his grandfather, Jim Kelley, was killed on the bridge in 1919 when he fell between two railroad cars.

“They brought (his body) home in a lumber wagon and laid him on the couch. I was 14 at the time. There were eight kids in the family. He’s buried in the St. Francis Cemetery.”

Chet Tacka of Bethel Park, Pa., sent an email about the bridge.

“I could ‘see’ the bridge in your column, but I could not pinpoint the location. While trying to do that, I found  pictures and railroad links. The reference in a railroad link reminded me of all that is gone from Young Street: Star Theater, the old hardware store, so much has changed.”

Chet passed on the following links in case any of you would  like to read more — they’re fascinating. and recently posted: as well as

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