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One year ago, on April 20, 2004, the North Tonawanda History Museum was transformed from a grass-roots interest group into a chartered New York State museum and educational institution.

The City of North Tonawanda was incorporated on April 24, 1897. It was very fitting that our museum be chartered in the city's anniversary month. We will celebrate both anniversaries annually. We held our first North Tonawanda's Birthday Party in April 2004, celebrating also the 90th anniversary of DeGraff Memorial Hospital.

This year at our North Tonawanda's Birthday Party, we celebrate the first anniversary of the museum we have created around the ideas, suggestions, comments, and dedicated efforts of the residents and former residents of North Tonawanda who have become a part of the project.

We celebrate as well the 140th anniversary of North Tonawanda's incorporation as a village on May 8, 1865. We proudly celebrate the 120th anniversary of First Baptist Church, the 100th anniversary of Rotary International and the 88th anniversary of our local Rotary Club of the Tonawandas.

We are an all-volunteer organization operating out of donated facilities. Because April is National Volunteer Recognition Month, we will also recognize the invaluable contributions of 28 of the volunteers who have given continuing service during those months. Without their help during our start-up phase, our numerous accomplishments might not have happened at all, and at the minimum, not as quickly. We wish to publicly thank as well through this letter the hundreds of additional wonderful volunteers who have helped us for occasional or short-term projects.

When we first envisioned a museum in North Tonawanda, we expected to create one for another existing organization. We offered our services to the Historical Society of the Tonawandas, the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, Oliver Street Pride and Project Pride. For a variety of bona fide reasons, none of them were able to add an additional venue to their responsibilities. We have solid working relationships with all of them and support each other's efforts at the organizational level, as well as at the individual level.

We are proud to have taken a leadership role in promoting the history and cultural venues of not just North Tonawanda, but the three Tonawandas, and Niagara County.

Do consider joining our effort to create a permanent future home in the historic 184 Sweeney St. building, which was built in 1895 to house the Buffalo-Niagara Electric Railway Powerhouse, then served as home to the Herschell-Spillman Co., and for decades housed the various Rand entities. This wonderful building was home to a great deal of our city's rich industrial heritage. Come visit us at 314 Oliver St., or join us Monday evening at 6 p.m., as we celebrate North Tonawanda's Birthday Party at the DeGraff Community Center at 139 Division St.

The Board of Trustees: Cynthia Fredricks, president; Barbara Wickman, vice president; Betty A. Brandon, treasurer and president-elect; Judith L. Mittiga, treasurer-elect; Donna Zellner Neal, secretary; Kay Learned, trustee emeritus

North Tonawanda