NIAGARA FALLS – Teresa Lasher-Winslow is looking for the public’s help as she continues to dig into the history of the former Village of LaSalle.
Lasher-Winslow will give a lecture titled “Tourist Cabins and Motels of Historic LaSalle” at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the second-floor meeting room of the LaSalle Library, 8728 Buffalo Ave. The program also is sponsored by LaSalle Pride Inc.
Lasher-Winslow will give a PowerPoint presentation about LaSalle during the introduction of the automobile, but it will be more of a “give and take” with the audience than a staid lecture, she said.
“When I give these lectures, I come with a certain amount of history, but it’s really a neighborhood reunion for people, and I give them some information, and they correct me or add to it,” she said. “This is really interactive, oral history. People also bring photographs, and one of our members scans them while I talk.”
Lasher-Winslow is a former Niagara County historian whose great-grandparents owned a farm on Cayuga Island, while her father grew up on 92nd Street. She and several family members continue to live in LaSalle.
LaSalle, once a part of the Town of Niagara, became an official village in 1897 and then was annexed into the City of Niagara Falls in 1927.
The main travel route between Buffalo and Niagara Falls was through the Village of LaSalle, and it was considered “the main drag,” Lasher-Winslow pointed out. It helped change LaSalle from a rural farming community to a suburban development during the first half of the 20th century.
With the introduction of the automobile into American society and increase in travel, the need for gas stations and accommodations grew. In LaSalle, the main routes of travel were the River Road/Buffalo Avenue and the Niagara Falls Boulevard/Pine Avenue/Cayuga Drive corridors. To increase their income and provide a service, farms along these corridors installed gas pumps, refreshment stands and, finally, cabins to accommodate the traveling public.
Lasher-Winslow pointed out that on LaSalle’s Pine Avenue in 1941, there were 12 tourist cabin camps. By 1951, only two of these camps remained, but they were replaced by 61 motels. Today, these motels are slowly being replaced by hotels.
The public and former residents of LaSalle are encouraged to attend Tuesday’s lecture and bring photographs and other memorabilia of this unique style of architecture and business, which will be scanned and returned to the owners that night.
The History Committee of LaSalle Pride is hosting a series of lectures and tours on the neighborhoods, waterways, schools and other historical topics throughout the year. They include: “Picnic Groves and Parks of LaSalle” at 6 p.m. March 4 and “Farms of LaSalle” planned for 6 p.m. March 18, both in the LaSalle Library (rescheduled from January due to weather).
For more information, call 283-3295 or 425-4005.