Share this article

print logo

Living in 'our own little world'

What it's like:

At one time a lumber town and colonial battleground, Grand Island -- which declared its "independence" in 1852 -- is home to several residential areas, businesses, restaurants, churches, parks and an amusement park. It is located halfway between Buffalo and Niagara Falls and is also minutes away from access to Canada.

What makes it unique:

Many residents who live on the Island think of it as "our own little world." The Niagara River opens it up to summertime recreation as well as to fishermen and water skiers. Because it is an island, there are no suburbs or cities that abut it. In its early days, the only means of transportation to and from the Island was by boat.

Places to go:

In addition to numerous restaurants and stores, Grand Island is home to several attractions: Martin's Fantasy Island. Beaver Island State Park. Buckhorn State Park. The Niagara Sailing Club and the Sandy Beach Yacht Club. The Buffalo Launch Club. Five public marinas. Veterans Park. Grand Island Memorial Library. The Grand Island Historical Society. Miles of paths are open to walkers, bikers and joggers, as well as trails prepared for snowmobiling.

A person you should know:

Theodora Linenfelser, known as Teddy, who resides in the south end, is a lifelong resident of Grand Island. She and her husband, Jim, raised their family there. She was a teacher and director of her own business, Teddy's Islettes Baton and Drum Corps, for 27 years. After that, she went into the newspaper business, working at the Island Dispatch and the Grand Island Record before becoming editor of, the Island's online newspaper. She is the town historian and is very active in the Grand Island Historical Society, serving on its board. She is also on the Grand Island Historic Preservation Advisory Board.

>Q: How did you get involved with teaching baton twirling?

A: That was so fun. I got out of high school and started a baton class. At one time I had over 100 twirlers. I ran my own drum corps for a little while. We were in a lot of parades over the years and recently had a reunion. More than 30 girls who twirled with me as children came for the town's sesquicentennial.

>Q: You don't live in a "neighborhood" per se. Why is that?

A: There was never any reason to split it into neighborhoods. Grand Island is a community.

>Q: How has it changed over the years?

A: Of course there are more people, more houses. Even though some people say it's changed so much that it's overdeveloped, there is still a lot of green space.