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COMPANY EXPANDS LINE OF POSTCARDS BOOSTING NIAGARA FRONTIER

Only In Buffalo is now Also In Niagara Falls.

Only In Buffalo Advertising & Promotion has added a line of 18 Niagara Falls postcards to its array of historic images of the Buffalo area, to help its "Million Card Postcard Campaign."

Instead of luring tourists into buying postcards of this area to send to folks back home, the company wants Western New Yorkers to buy some hometown images to send out into the world.

"The main concept is to further Buffalo's image," said Allan Korn, a Buffalo State College professor who helped former entrepreneurship student Steve Szpakowski launch the company.

"If we get enough people -- individuals, companies, organizations -- to send enough cards to their friends, enemies and contacts around the world, it would have an impact," he added.

He hopes that 1 million postcards will be mailed out of town.

Earlier efforts included the "Historic Buffalo" series, a line of cards depicting a number of local buildings designated as National Historic Landmarks or listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and cards with portraits of Grover Cleveland, Millard Fillmore, Mark Twain and other famous Buffalo residents.

"Our Buffalo series was designed to create greater pride locally, by making residents more aware of what the area has to offer, and to improve Greater Buffalo's national image by letting out-of-towners know the fascinating truth about our great metropolis," Szpakowski explained.

"There is much more to our area than snow, chicken wings and abandoned steel mills."

One of the postcards features two black-and-white photographs of the Michigan Street Baptist Church at 511 Michigan Ave. It depicts the church in 1996 and in the 1890s, when -- as explained on the back of the card -- it was a rest stop on the Underground Railroad for slaves trying to escape to Canada.

Korn said that when he asked local residents about the Underground Railroad, many thought they were talking about the subway system.

"There's a lot of local ignorance, and we'd like to try to overcome some of the ignorance," Szpakowski said.

The new Niagara Falls series continues that approach, with most of the images coming from the Niagara Falls Public Library archives.

"Promoting Niagara Falls is part and parcel with promoting Buffalo," said Szpakowski.

"Card one in the consecutively numbered series is the first picture of Niagara Falls ever published, the Father Hennepin view of 1697," Szpakowski said. The last view shows a view of the dewatered American Falls, during inspection and anti-erosion work in 1969.

The company plans a contest this fall to promote the concept of local residents sending cards from home to other places, rather than the traditional reverse route.

The concept can sometimes seem daunting, even to the originators.

"As far as a million cards goes -- that's a lot of postcards," Szpakowski said.

Only In Buffalo postcards are sold at most Tops Markets, Wilson Farms and Vix stores, as well as Hart Hotel's five Holiday Inns in the area. The retail price is three cards for $1.

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