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A small, friendly place to live

Known as a "valley among the hills," the historic Village of Gowanda straddles Erie and Cattaraugus counties.

Located south of Buffalo, the area is mostly rural, but it does have a small business community made up of shops and boutiques.

The village was hit by a devastating flood in 2009, which it is still recovering from.

*What makes it unique:

Gowanda is a friendly town that has remained the same in some aspects, but like most places, finds itself changing. It continues to maintain a small-town quality of life, but its proximity to Buffalo opens many opportunities for its residents.

*Places to go:

The Gowanda Free Library. Zoar Valley. Local activities including: Pioneer Days, which take place every summer; the Hollywood Happening, formerly the Harley Happening; and the Heritage Harvest Festival. While it is currently being restored, Gowanda is also home to the Hollywood Theater, which is a New York and National Historic Landmark.

*A person you should know:

Barbara Weyand, who grew up in Gowanda, considers herself a jack of all trades. Throughout her life, she has always tried to take care of people. She has been a teacher, including a stint teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Alaska; has run a nursery school from her house; and has worked in a veterinary facility. She was also involved in the project to move Schoolhouse No. 8 in nearby North Collins.

>Q: What was it like to teach in Alaska?

A: It was one room in a very small village. I did receive an apple from a student, but I also received a bear's tooth. I did get up to Fairbanks before I came home, where I experienced very cold temperatures -- minus 50 degrees.

>Q: How is Gowanda doing since the flooding?

A: It's come back, but they're still waiting for some funds. I still have a great-niece attending school, so I have an interest in what happens.

>Q: How has Gowanda changed over the years?

A: When I was growing up, Gowanda was different than it is now. We did a lot more walking. We were not on computers and texting all the time. People watched out for each other. It was a place you walked, rode bicycles, ran home after school. You weren't in the house all day. I think you were healthier for it. You never locked a door. You didn't have to.