Tonawanda News


May 4, 2013

TUCKER: The rest of the story

Tonawanda News — Last week’s column was cut for space, this week’s is a catch-up.

A few weeks ago a social studies teacher inquired about Goose Island. Doug Taylor sent the following which was forwarded to the teacher who said Doug’s reply cleared up questions and brightened her day. With that in mind, perhaps Doug’s reply will brighten your day as well.

Doug wrote: “The original Erie Canal required that the water level in the canal at the Tonawandas be roughly six feet higher than it is today. This is because the water level in the Niagara River at Tonawanda is roughly six feet lower than that at the Buffalo Harbor and the resulting current made it impossible for the old canal boats, especially those pulled by horses, to go upstream. To fix this problem, a spillway dam was located close to the present Main-Webster Street bridge to raise the canal water level. There was a series of locks at Tonawanda to allow you to ‘lock up or down’ to the river. The canal itself ended at these locks and from Tonawanda to Buffalo the boats traveled what was called the Black Rock Channel which went down the middle of the present Niagara Street and continued towards Buffalo along what is presently River Road, although a bit closer to the river’s edge than the present River Road location. The Black Rock Channel and the Tonawanda locks formed a man-made Island informally called Goose Island starting at where the HSBC First Trust Bank is located. The bank’s site was actually on Goose Island along with the present site of Tonawanda City Hall, Tops, and the condos. By the 1920s, the Black Rock Channel was no longer needed, since the boats running cargo on the canal had enough power to make it upstream on the Niagara River to the present day Black Rock Ship Canal, bypassing the high speed currents by the Peace Bridge, and then head to the Buffalo Harbor. The Black Rock Channel was eventually filled in, and Goose Island ceased to exist. Note that despite the rants and whining by the Buffalo politicians, the Erie Canal today terminates at the Twin Cities and has always terminated here since in early times it terminated with the last locks on the Canal at the Tonawandas.

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  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo