Tonawanda News

April 20, 2013

Memories top week's inquiries

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — A social studies teacher whose class is studying local history emailed an inquiry about Goose Island. Do any of you know exactly where it was located and why the name? She’s heard a bunch of conflicting stories and is looking for the right answer.


North Tonawanda History Museum supporter Richie Montesanti wonders if there is any interest in participating in a monthly meeting of North Tonawanda residents and former residents to share their memories of “the good old days.”

Donna Neal, executive director of the North Tonawanda History Museum, said no time or specific day has been set. Refreshments will be offered at the meetings..

If you are interested, call the history museum at 213-0554 or email and provide yout name and phone number.


This must be the Tonawandas’ history week because, in addition to the above, Dennis from Gratwick sent over a letter on the Gratwick section of North Tonawanda.

“Before the malls and franchise stores, people relied on neighborhood businesses,” Dennis wrote. “An example in North Tonawanda was the neighborhood known as Gratwick in the late 1950s and ‘60s. Within a 10-block-square area, there were no less than seven corner stores.

“Heading south from Oliver and Ward was Astolo’s (Pootso’s) at Stenzil Street, Krinkes at East Felton, Felton Market on Felton Street, Frank’s at Linwood Avenue, Archie’s at 17th Avenue, Mellenthine’s at Payne and Stenzil, and Holesko’s at Payne and Jackson and another was at Fredericka and Payne.

“In the same area on Oliver Street were three or four bars, Harold’s Club at Ward Road, Stan’s between Porter and Stenzil, Blue Danube between Felton and Jackson and the bar in Gratwick Lanes.

“The block between Allen and Washington included a small department store called Nieses and two barber shops,Walt’s and Frank’s.

“In fact, Oliver Street heading south past Archie’s was filled with storefront businesses including many bars, corner stores, bowling alleys, and other businesses. Many people born in the ‘40s and ‘50s lived above, behind or alongside some type of storefront business.”

Thanks, Dennis for this stroll through Gratwick. I had an uncle who lived with his family in Grawick not far from Ward Road and although we lived on Bennett Street, it seemed we drove into the country to visit the family. Thoughts of the Kardex bus and Carpenter bus line also come to mind.

If any of you would like to add to Dennis’ memories, send or email your reminiscenses. See what you recall. For myself, I never knew there Allen or Porter streets existed.


A couple of weeks ago, a reader called to say she and some friends are retired and bored. Here’s this list of volunteer opportunities as of yesterday, and thanks to all who called or emailed seeking volunteer help.

• Niagara Hospice seeks volunteers to share their dedication, compassion and talents with those in Hospice care. Call Allison Nemi or Andrea Haseley at 280-0748 or visit the website at

• The North Tonawanda History Museum is seeking volunteers for a number of positions. Opportunities exist at all times from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. except Sundays. For more information, call the museum at 213-0554. Applications may be downloaded from the History Museum website or may be obtained at the museum, 54 Webster St.

• “We are STILL in need of more volunteers at NT Meals on Wheels,” Joy Welch, director, said in an email. Delivery volunteers for North Tonawanda and the City of Tonawanda are needed from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays. Call Joy mornings at 693-1663.

• Schofield Residence and Schofield Home Health Care Services seeks volunteers to visit nursing facility residents, lead activities, accompany residents to doctors’ appointments, assist with outings, transport residents in wheelchairs to meals/therapy/activities and religious services, deliver mail and clerical support. Weekdays or weekends. For more information, call Mary Lou Tarquini de la Plante, assistant director of volunteer services at 874-1566, ext. 324 or email

• The Carrousel Museum, 180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda has a tremendous need for volunteers to perform many different tasks, especially with new rides being offered this summer. Call the museum at 693-1885 for details.

• Opportunities Unlimited in Wheatfield seeks volunteers for many tasks including its wonderful greenhouse. Call 504-2617 for more information.

• The Town of Tonawanda Aquatic and Fitness Center is seeking volunteers for its annual 5K Run at 6:30 p.m. May 16. Call the Aquatic and Fitness Center at 876-7424 for details.

• The Special Olympics State Summer Games has need for numerous volunteers to help at the opening ceremony June 14 as well to help staff sporting venues, set up and break down venues and distribute lunches. Volunteer assignments will be given out the third week in May and walk-in volunteers are welcome. For more information and to register online, visit the website at or email

So get busy, pick your spot and go for it!

Contact community editor Barbara Tucker at 693-1000, ext. 4110 or email