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History comes to life for students on Lewiston tour

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Tue, Jun 6th 2017 02:50 pm
Students stand in front of the Freedom Crossing Monument on Water Street in Lewiston. The Silo Restaurant caboose is shown in the background.
Students stand in front of the Freedom Crossing Monument on Water Street in Lewiston. The Silo Restaurant caboose is shown in the background.
Fourth-graders from Grabiarz School #79 visited the Village of Lewiston and The Silo Restaurant on Tuesday. They are reading "Freedom Crossing" as part of their English language arts/social studies curriculum, and were given the chance to visit some of the landmark sites up close and personal.
Teacher Jill Birmingham coordinated the fieldtrip with The Silo's Stacey Sheehan.
"Academically, the students will have an opportunity to understand the importance and proximity of the crossing site," Birmingham said. "Environmentally, they will experience the area's natural beauty and unique architecture. And socially, the fact that Mr. Hastings is willing to treat everyone to lunch will impress on the children the sheer goodwill and humanity that obviously lives on in Lewiston. Hopefully, it will encourage them to act in a helpful way when faced with the opportunity in their own lives."
As part of their fieldtrip, students visited an Underground Railroad crossing site in Lewiston and were treated to lunch -- courtesy of The Silo owner Alan Hastings.
Students were able to pick any children's meal combo on the menu. Plus, they received ice cream.
"We wanted to welcome the students to Lewiston and extend the helping hand that our area is known for," Hastings said. "The important history and the modern-day coming together of people, food and friends is a theme that I want the students to remember.
The Silo has its own place in history, which goes back to the 1920s. Back then, tourists boarded steamers to Toronto at that very site, which overlooks the Niagara Gorge.
The park surrounding the restaurant also features the well-known Freedom Crossing Monument, which was created by artist Susan Geissler. Students stopped at the statue to read about its significance, and its place in Lewiston's history.
Set in Civil War-era Lewiston, the "Freedom Crossing" book takes readers to the secret network of trails and homes that helped slaves from the southern U.S. escape to Canada.
Students read the sign leading to the Freedom Crossing Monument.
Students presented a thank you card to The Silo in appreciation for lunch. Pictured, from left, are Stacey Sheehan, Lexi Alfiere, Alan Hastings and student Briah Burney.
Teachers and students pose for a photo after lunch -- and right before ice cream.

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