History of Lockport

A Timeline of the Moments that Made Lockport

History Timeline

 

1816

New York State Legislature passes an act marking present-day Lockport and its surrounding region as the area where the Erie Canal will pass through.

1818

Jesse Haines, a Quaker settler, maps the future city of Lockport.

1822

Lockport citizens convince the owner of the printing press, Bartimus Ferguson, to relocate from Lewiston to Lockport, which in turn becomes the seat of Niagara County.

1823

As a solution to the 60-foot drop of the Niagara Escarpment that would prevent packet boats from completing their journey to Buffalo, construction begins on the Flight of Five lock system, an idea proposed by Nathan Roberts.

1823

During construction, canal workers, who were mostly Irish, derail two slave hunters that arrive in Lockport, attempting to arrest a black barber. The city establishes itself as a stronghold of the abolition movement.

1824

The Erie Canal opens from the Hudson River to the foot of the Lockport locks. Without their completion, freight and passengers are transported by carriage through Pendleton, then are repacked to continue their journey.

1838

A $4 million loan with 5 percent interest is granted to enlarge the canal.

1847

The Lockport Public School system is founded.

1860

Daniel Price proposes that 6 parks in the village be designated for residential use. He wanted the “Central Park” to be located at the current site of the F&M Building. The proposition did not go through.

1861

A saloon owner learns that President Lincoln is calling for civilian volunteers to fight in the Civil War before official notice is given. He rounds up Lockport residents, who are later recognized as the first volunteer regiment of the war.

1863

Lockport becomes the first official city in Niagara County on April 11 of this year.

1863

The first election held makes Benjamin Carpenter the city’s first mayor.

1863

The city police force is founded this year.

1869

Birdsill Holly, one of Lockport’s most prominent residents and the co- inventor of the steam fire engine, gets a patent for the fire hydrant.

1876

Lockport builds its first planned park, known as the West Avenue Park. A fountain was added to this park in the 1880s, and it ran until it was dewatered in 1944.

1907

Lockport City Hospital, which would later become Lockport Memorial, opens its doors with accommodations for 18 patients.

1911

Harrison Radiator official begins operations, shipping a radiator to Remington Standard Motor Co.

1920

Construction begins on Lockport’s largest park, Outwater Memorial Park, which is still in existence today. The land was donated by Dr. Samuel Outwater in honor of his wife, Louella Scott, who loved the view from its location. The park’s domain has grown over the years to exceed 80 acres.

1925

Lockport Palace Theatre opens, “built not for aristocracy, but for the people.”

1931

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument in East Avenue Park is completed. Local artist A. Raphael Beck was commissioned with a fundraised $30,000 the year earlier to design it. The monument has been repaired and restored several times since its creation, most recently in 2005.

1937

The Lockport Public Library opens at its present site on East Avenue.

1946

DeSales Catholic School opens its doors as an all- boys secondary school. It becomes co-ed about a decade later.

1967

Gulf Wilderness Park, also known as Rollin T. Grant Park, is established this year. It begins as a 6 acre territory but has expanded to 75 acres that are enjoyed by its visitors today. It attracts dozens of hikers yearly who are attracted by the small waterfall known as Indian Falls.

1987

Mike and Sharon Murphy start Lockport Canal Tours. They began their business with 2 pontoon boats.