10 on Tuesday – Lockport (Hometown Series)
(Day #5: 30-Day Blog Challenge)
To continue on with my Hometown Series, I thought I would do a special 10 on Tuesday post that highlights some of the unique things about Lockport.
1. William Gregory: He was born in Lockport, NY and graduated from Lockport High School in 1975. He went on to the Air Force, graduated from Columbia & Troy Universities and in 1991 he became an astronaut. He served as a pilot on the Space Shuttle Endeavor. I remember being in elementary school and William Gregory came to talk to us. As a child I felt it was amazing and you know something; I still feel that way!
2. Transit Drive-in: In 1957 the Cohen family purchased the Transit Drive-in and 3 generations later, they are still running it. What started off with a single screen, now it has 4 screens and is the largest drive-in in New York State. The weekends typically see up to 1,000 movie watchers and we have been there many times. There is nothing like seeing a movie at the drive-in and even though I tend to sleep through the 2nd movie (haha), it’s a great time.
3. The Underground Railway: Seeing as that we were so close to Canada and the Erie Canal, Lockport was one of the final stops along the Underground Railway. The local YWCA (before it became that of course) was built with hidden rooms and was used to hide passengers. Many farms in the area helped transport slaves into safety and there is a rich history all over the area related directly to the Civil War times. Growing up it was always said that the house across the street from us had a secret passage way that went from one side to the next, so the slaves could escape quickly. I don’t know if it was really true, but given all of the other buildings in town with hidden rooms and tunnels, it wouldn’t surprised me.
4. Hodge Opera House: Built in the late 19th-century, it was a building of culture and commerce in Lockport. The Opera House was on the top and offices and stores filled the space below. In 1881 there was a fire and it badly damaged the building but it was rebuilt the next year. Years later there was yet another fire and they were unable to save it. Part of the building still stands today and it now houses many offices and stores and is still recognizable as the Hodge Opera House from the front of the building.
(This is what it looked like inside the Hodge Opera House. It looks amazing! Below is the Bewley Building as it stands today.)
5. William G. Morgan: the inventor of volleyball was born and raised in Lockport, NY I was always told as a child that volleyball was invented here too but during my research, I came to find out it wasn’t. However, it wasn’t exactly clear either if it was or was not.
6. Model Kim Alexis was born and raised here as well. She actually went to school with my mom during the 60’s & 70’s. I find it awesome to look through her year books and see her as a child.
7. Over the past couple of years, the Lockport High School has had 1 Million Dollars in renovations done to the inside and outside of it. I can’t believe how awesome the school looks and they have done an amazing job! I have only been inside the school once since I graduated in 1999 (for my niece’s play: you can read about that HERE) and I was floored by the transformation. Some of the Elementary Schools in the area have been getting upgrades too. (One being Shawn’s new school in the fall! This happens to be the same school that Michael and I attended as children too.)
(more photos will be coming of the high school in another post)
8. The Rialto Theatre: In 1918 Henry Thurston erected an “Air Drome” theater on the southeast corner of Pine and Walnut Streets. In 1922, with the help of the Schine Company, Henry remodeled the “Air Drome” into the Rialto Theater. The Rialto Theater seated 1,400 people and featured cowboy movies and a serial every Saturday. They still offered live entertainment plus an organ to entertain people before the show started. In 1924, Henry decided to retire from the theater business and turned the operation over to his son Ray. In the late-1930’s the Rialto Theater was sold to the Schine Company. The Rialto closed in l957, was torn down a few years later and now a bank stands on the site.
9: Hallmark Commercial: In 2005 Hallmark Hall of Fame decided that they were going to film one of their Christmas commercials right here in Lockport! However, it was November and there wasn’t any snow and leaves were still on the trees. They transformed the neighborhood into a winter wonderland by removing every single leaf from the trees and bringing in fake snow to cover the ground, houses and other things around the street. It was amazing to see! I was working at a clothing store at this time and we were actually approached by the wardrobe crew to select the clothing for the actors/actresses to wear during the commercial. This commercial only aired 1 time (to my knowledge) for only 30 seconds and I will say this: it was amazing to see part of my town on TV. I have looked for any video of this commercial and I have yet to find one.
10: We have had a few movies mentioned Lockport or show glimpses of it in the distance in the past. However, film crews have started to really film here (and not just in Buffalo). From what I have been told it’s because Lockport is “new and undiscovered” and not overly filmed. We really hope that more film crews find our area to be worth filming and do it more often.
The Hometown Blog Series goes along with a postcard exchange with my Chatterbug blog friends. I thought it would be nice to show everyone more about my town and the interesting things that we are known for. Come back to see more highlights about my hometown and even some other interesting things about my area.