The Niagara County Historian's office has announced the publication of a new book that takes readers back almost 140 years to an era when Victorian architecture, steam-powered machinery and large, prosperous farms were common sights in Niagara County. The 246-page pictorial publication is a reprint of the Sanford 1879 "History of Niagara County, N.Y. with Illustrations, Descriptions of Its Scenery, Private Residences, Public Buildings, Fine Blocks, and Important Manufactories, and Portrait of Old Pioneers and Prominent Residents," a volume that offered 19th-century readers an impressive array of detailed drawings that showed prominent area homes, farms, industrial works and landmarks.
The 2015 edition is not just a reprint of the original work. Over the past two years, historian's office staff members have researched the locations of the original scenes that stretch from Somerset to North Tonawanda and Royalton to Porter. Once the location of an original drawing was identified, staff photographed the scene as it appears today. Contemporary readers can thus compare how the Niagara County landscape has changed over the years in a "then and now" format.
Several of the illustrations depict scenes that have changed little in 136 years, such as the James M. Morse residence in the Town of Wilson. Others, like the Edwin Whitcomb farm in the Town of Hartland, reveal how the forces of industrialization, suburbanization and economic change have greatly altered the local landscape. Captions provide historical information on the scenes and the people who were associated with them.
"Sanford's Niagara: a Then and Now Collection 1878-2014" is available at multiple locations throughout Niagara County. Call the Historian's Office at 716-439-7324 or email [email protected] for locations and book cost.