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HAL to host special January program


Mon, Jan 8th 2018 01:15 pm
The Historical Association of Lewiston's January program, titled, "If Ever There Was A Time, I Wish I Were There," will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, at the Lutheran Church of the Messiah Fellowship Hall, 915 Oneida St.
Former Town of Lewiston Councilman Ernest Palmer will premiere two of his original compositions along with corresponding videos. Both songs are part of a CD release of original songs scheduled for release later in 2018. After presenting the songs, he will go over the lyrics and explain the process of writing the songs, and their significance to this area.
The first song, "Lewiston Youngstown Frontier Railway Line," is about the electrically powered train that connected the two villages from 1896-1950. It started (or ended) at Rumsey's Grove, which was at the site of the old Club Lakewood. The main tracks ran parallel with Lower River Road, behind Stella Niagara and down Fifth Street to Lewiston. It could either go to the old rail depot by the Lewiston post office, or down to the riverfront. A person could connect at these points for the New York Central and go anywhere in the country, or take the Great Gorge route, which was a fascinating ride to Niagara Falls at the bottom of the gorge.
The second song, "If Ever There Was a Time, I Wish I Were There," follows the subject as he wanders into Lewiston just after the Frontier House was built in the mid 1820s. Over the next couple of days, he sees about 75 years of actual Lewiston history unfold. The lyrics are based on factual events.
The British burned Lewiston to the ground during the War of 1812. As it was rebuilt, people came back. The Frontier House was built. Hustlers Tavern was a popular stop for the rowdies in town, including famous author James Fenimore Cooper, who wrote "The Spy" and based one of his characters after the proprietor of the bar, Catherine Hustler. It is said the cocktail was invented at Hustlers. Kelsey's Tavern was also on Center Street - then called Main Street. It catered to the more well-heeled in town.
Palmer is a former chief of police in both Niagara Falls and Youngstown. He resides in Lewiston and is currently an independent auditor and policy consultant specializing in law enforcement use of force. He was also a former Lewiston Town Council member. He is a long time area musician and songwriter, currently plays bass and guitar with the Tom Keefer and the Celtic Cross Band.
This community event is free and open to all. Refreshments will be served.

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