Tonawanda News — Well, most of life’s wants, anyway. But for those with a penchant for gaming, the drive isn’t a long one from the mall. Turning Stone Resort and Casino is a half-hour drive east on Interstate 90 and is pretty breath-taking in its scope. There is an expansive gaming floor, two hotels, a championship golf course and one of the better buffets in the entire state.
As with the more local gaming venues, smoking is allowed on casino property. But Turning Stone allows 18-year-olds to gamble and has a larger gaming surface, so if you can deal with a bit of second-hand smoke it’s worth at least a brief visit.
If gambling isn’t your thing, though, a drive in the opposite direction might suit you better. Auburn is a small city about a half-hour’s drive southwest of Syracuse in Cayuga County. The community is on the shore of Owasco Lake, one of the Finger Lakes, and is home to a maximum-security prison whose employees make up a good chunk of the city’s population.
The prison, as would be expected, plays a pretty big role in the city’s history. The first electric chair execution took place there in 1890. The man who killed President William McKinley in Buffalo, Leon Czolgosz, was also executed there in 1901.
But the city’s history by no means stops at the prison walls. Indeed, a drive through the city streets will lead one to dozens of historical plaques noting the places and people of note from there. Abner Doubleday once called Auburn, and the man who invented baseball inspired the nickname of the city’s Single A baseball team the Auburn Doubledays. Abolitionist Harriet Tubman lived there, as did former Secretary of State William Seward -- the man who arranged the purchase of Alaska -- and “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh. “Talkies” were also born in Auburn, as talking film inventor Theodore Case lived there and perfected the process of recording sound on film in Auburn.