Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Informal SWEARING IN of the new Police Chief Michael Niethe December 29th, 2015

My brother has been named the new Chief of Police for Lockport, New York.  There was an "unofficial" swearing in ceremony at City Hall today.  My sisters and I met up there for it.

We got to meet our great nephew Vincent for the first time.  Here he is with his Grampa.
Molinaro's catered a lunch of baked ziti, meatballs, salad and brownies.  Everything was delicious. 
There was this cake in honor of the leaving Chief of Police.  
Here are a couple of pictures from the short ceremony.  

My siblings and I are not often all together in the same room at the same time so we took the opportunity to take pictures of the four of us.  

Monday, December 14, 2015

Victorian Christmas at the Babcock House in Appleton, NY

The Babcock House Museum is a historic cobblestone house at 7449 Lake Road near the Village of Appleton in the Town of Somerset, New York not far from Lake Ontario. The Town of Somerset Historical Society maintains the Greek Revival house which was built in l838.
On Sunday, December 13, 2015 it was open to the public for a few hours in the afternoon for "A Victorian Christmas". Visitors to the house stepped back in time and were able to learn how our ancestors prepared for and celebrated Christmas.

In the kitchen, re-enactors were busy churning butter
and baking small cakes and biscuits in the beehive oven.  One of the recipes they were using is for One, Two, Three, Four Pound Cake. The ingredients are one cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour and four eggs. Visitors were encouraged to try the freshly made butter and biscuits and small pound cakes. Just beyond the kitchen with the fireplace, in the summer kitchen, punch and cookies were served.  Here visitors could see the old time knitting machine.

Those who came to the event were allowed to take self guided tours throughout all three floors of the house. Docents were available to give information and answer questions. In the basement, trains from the l950's were set up and small boys watched with wide eyes.
There was organ music in the first floor parlor, and Santa Claus waited for children to come and talk with him
. Upstairs, visitors walked through the bedrooms and saw the antique beds and other furnishings. The framed artwork made with human hair was interesting to see.

The three story gambrel roofed barn was open and visitors walked up a grassy sloped hill and into the building.  Once inside, while she was looking around, Rebecca Austin commented "this would be a great place to have a square dance." Down in the main part of the barn, horse and carriage rides were offered and Norm Atwater and the horse (Queen) took passengers around the property.
 Some of the passengers sang Jingle Bells during the ride substituting "one horse open carriage" for "one horse open sleigh." When asked what she liked best about her visit to the Babcock House, Elaine Stahler said "I have to say it was the carriage ride."

You might be wondering what is so special about a cobblestone house. With a few exceptions, cobblestone buildings are unique to Western New York.
 An experienced mason could lay up three or four courses of stone, on one side of a building, in a day.  This would only be about nine inches of wall. While the mortar was drying and hardening on the first house, the mason would go to another house and complete the same process. It took a long time to complete the building of a cobblestone house, sometimes two or three years, depending on the size of the house. Most cobblestone houses were built before the Civil War.

This particular house was built by Jeptha W. Babcock in 1848.  He and his wife, Mary, came to  Niagara County from Rensselaerville in Albany County in 1833. As well as being a farmer, he was a postmaster and state assemblyman. After his death, the homestead was owned by other families but much of the original  architecture was preserved. Presently, it is owned by the Somerset Operating Company.

The Babcock House Museum is open on Sundays from one until four p.m. starting the last Sunday n June through the second Sunday in October,  It is also open other times of the year for special events.  

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Lockport Community Band and Community Chorale Concert 12/11/15

The Lockport Community Band and the Community Chorale offered a Christmas concert at St. John the Baptist Church on Chestnut Street.  I arranged to go with my friend, Elaine and we met up with Judy, Bonnie B. and Crystal.  The concert was great and they had nice refreshments after.  We stopped on Ontario Street to see a popular well decorated house on the way home.

Complete set of pictures taken at the concert are here:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


I missed this event last year and heard from several people that it was really great!  So, I made up my mind to go this year.  Elaine agreed to drive, so she picked me up and then we picked Bonnie and Crystal up.

Even though we arrived a half an hour early, the parking lot was almost full.  We were, however, able to get good seats near the front.  My cousin Becky joined us.

The program was spectacular.  The special surprise guests were  a Johnny Mathis impersonator
and a Liberace impersonator.  The GRINCH who stole Christmas was also there!   There were several kinds of music presented.  All was enjoyable!

After we got back to Lockport, Elaine took us to see the house on Ontario Street that is very well decorated for Christmas.

complete set of pictures can be found here

Saturday, December 5, 2015

New Candy Store in Lockport!!


How long has it been since Lockport had a candy store?

I really don't know, since I moved away in l967 and

just returned last year. However, I do remember going

to a candy store on the north side of Main Street, not

far from the big bridge in the mid l960's. It was so

much fun to go in and look at all the sweets lined up 

behind glass.  I particularly liked the round flat mints

that came in different colors and flavors and the owner
would let me buy one or two at a time, which she put into
a small white bag for me to take with me. What a treat
that was!!

On Saturday, December 5th, Pinky Sweets Candy Shop
opened up at Windsor Village on Stevens Street. They
offered a free bag of treats to the first twenty
customers. I was lucky enough to be one of the first

I met two young ladies
who were cheerfully running 

the shop. I was delighted with the many colorful 

displays of candy on the walls, tables and shelves
So much to choose from! Ohhhhh......I was surprised

to see SKY BARS, which brought back happy memories from

my childhood. It was fun to break a Sky Bar into four

parts, each section had a different filling: either caramel,

vanilla, peanut or fudge. Now I can do that again!

PINKY SWEETS will be open Tuesdays and Wednesday from

ten a.m. until six p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from ten

a.m. until eight p.m. and Saturdays from ten a.m. until

four p.m. They offer a wide variety of all kinds of 

candies. I am sure there is something for everyone! 

If you need items to fill your kids or grandkids Christmas

stockings, PINKY SWEETS can help!  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Winter's Fest Eve at the Bond-Hawley House

The Bond-Hawley House on 143 Ontario Street in Lockport
is the oldest brick home in Lockport and is also one of the first brick homes built in Niagara County. It was built by Colonel William Bond between 1823 and 1824 and later owned by his brother-in-law Jesse Hawley. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built using the Federal Style and is primarily furnished in the l820's Empire  period style.

The Niagara County Historical Society opened the house to the public on the evening of Thursday, December 4th for Winter's Eve Fest.

I arrived to the beautiful sound of a drummer.  A young man named Connor was drumming on the front steps of the house.
He and his grandmother, Karen, greeted us and asked us to sign the guest book.
 Karen explained that she was dressed for the Christmas Eve ball which would be enjoyed by their friends and family. We picked up booklets printed up for this occasion. The booklet has sections about each room and tells the stories of what Christmas may have been like in this house in an early canal-era family home.

 My friend and I did a self guided tour. Each room on all three floors of the house was decorated for Christmas.
Docents offered guided tours for those who were interested in doing that. I listened to parts of the talks and descriptions given by the docents and I was impressed with their enthusiasm as well as their knowledge. My friend and I walked through all the rooms, enjoying the antiques, the trees and the holiday decorations
. We did a lot of pointing and exclaiming as we saw various antique items and furnishings.

The nineteenth century holiday spirit was evident all through the house. Seasonal music was offered in the elegant downstairs dining room by brother and sister team Lucas Herman and Sheryl Bates.
In the kitchen, cookies and hot cider were offered.

I learned that feather trees were popular in Victorian times. Candles were one of the first widely used
Christmas tree decorations but could only be lit for a few minutes at a time while the family stood nearby with buckets of water or sand in case of fire. In the 1830's and 1840's seashell collecting was a popular hobby and often the shells were made into Christmas ornaments.

It was an enjoyable evening full of both historical facts and pleasure. If you were unable to go to this event, the Bond-Hawley House holiday exhibit will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. on the following Saturdays: December 5th, 12th and l9th. If you go, you won't be disappointed.