Town of Niagara History: Cemeteries are part of town historyby jmaloni
Early Town of Niagara burials were in Oakwood Cemetery, which is now part of the City of Niagara Falls.
Witmer Cemetery, on the south side of Witmer Road, between Hyde Park Boulevard and Military Road, began as a family plot. It was later known as Homestead, Collins, Lieb and Rural cemeteries. Abandoned for some time, the grounds were restored in 1986.
Young's Burial Ground was a family plot west of Military Road between Porter and Packard, just east of I-190. The Youngs were re-interred in Oakwood and others were moved to the Witmer Cemetery. The last stones disappeared at the time of the interstate construction.
Another family plot was the Pletcher Cemetery at the northeast corner of Lockport and Military roads. The bodies were also removed to Witmer Cemetery with the monuments last being seen in the 1930s.
Havos Shalom, a Jewish cemetery, is just west of the Witmer Cemetery. The Town of Niagara Lions Club placed a memorial between the gates of both cemeteries.
The town was divided into four common school districts. Witmer was the first district, consisting of a one-room schoolhouse on the northeast corner of Witmer Road and Hyde Park Boulevard, then called Sugar Street. In 1928, a new schoolhouse was built on Nevada Avenue in Belden Center (off Hyde Park Boulevard and Lockport Road). It closed in 1976 and became a community center.
This historical note is reprinted by permission of the Niagara County Historical Society. Research was done by Town Historian Dorothy Rolling.
Editor's note: As part of its bicentennial celebration, the Town of Niagara will hold a ghost hunt at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 13, at Oakwood Cemetery, 763 Portage Road, Niagara Falls. The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at the town clerk's office at Town Hall, 7105 Lockport Road, Town of Niagara.