Did you know that…
1. Until 1904, what is now the City of Tonawanda was actually part of the town. Along with North Tonawanda, it was a village inside the town.
2. The town of Tonawanda itself separated from the town (now city) of Buffalo in 1836.
3. Kenmore became its own town in 1899 and is sometimes called “Buffalo’s first suburb.” It’s one of the largest villages in the state of New York.
4. One of Kenmore’s most famous natives is Wolf Blitzer. The CNN anchor was born in Augsburg, Germany but raised in Kenmore, eventually graduating from Kenmore West High.
5. Wolf was named for his maternal grandfather. Zev (זאב) is the Hebrew word for “wolf.”
6. Mad-TV alum Paul Vogt is a graduate of Kenmore East High.
7. Sgt. Warren Muck, a member of the legendary World War II Easy Company, was born and raised in the City of Tonawanda. Though killed at the Battle of Bastogne, he would later become a character in the HBO miniseries, “Band of Brothers.”
8. As a fraternity initiation dare, Sgt. Muck once swam across the Niagara River.
9. The French controlled the area until the end of the French and Indian War when it was ceded to the British.
10. Although it’s called Tonawanda Creek, it is technically a river. The name Tonawanda comes from the Iroquois language meaning “swift river.”
11. There was also once a “Lake Tonawanda.” At the end of the last ice age—aproximently 10,000 years ago—a lake stretched from what is now Grand Island to present day Holley in Orleans County.
12. Near its peak, Spaulding Fibre employed over 1,500 workers in 1961. By the time the plant closed in the early 90’s it employed only 300.
13. The stream for which the neighborhood Millstream is named has been most channeled underground.
14. Longtime Kenmore West High School coach Jules Yakapovich is credited with developing football’s radar defense. He even wrote a book about it.
15. The City of Tonawanda was once home to a football team called the Tonawanda Kardex Lumbermen. They are most notable for being the shortest-lived team in NFL history: They played only one game in 1921.
16. The team was named for (and probably sponsored by) the American Kardex company, an office supply company who’s owner was born in North Tonawanda.
17. North Tonawanda is called the home of the carousel because it was once home to several ride-making factories, most notably The Allan Herschell Company. A handful of carousels and other rides manufactured here are still in operation around the country.
18. One of the company’s factories, later sold to Remington Rand, has been converted into loft apartments.
19. North Tonawanda was once home to the Sugar Bowl. Not that Sugar Bowl… The Pullman Brothers operated a candy store there from the 1920’s to the 1960’s.