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Letter: It’s been an honor to serve as Cheektowaga historian

It’s been an honor to serve as Cheektowaga historian

It is with some regret I write this last letter as Cheektowaga’s town historian, a position I have held for nearly 20 years. It has been my great pleasure to serve.

During my tenure, I was able to accomplish much to help cultivate the interest and edification of the residents of Western New York in the history of this great town. I have written numerous pamphlets on the history of our town, including those of the railroads, the airport, the Urban family and Julia Reinstein, our former town historian and a Cheektowaga icon. I have also written papers regarding the influence of the churches in the development of the town as well as the lives of the town supervisors prior to World War I.

As town clerk, I was able to persuade the Town Board to preserve the Maryvale Drive library as the town’s Records and Archive Building, which has become the repository of much of our town history. With the assistance of the town’s then record manager, Lisa Bolognese, we were able to electronically digitize our Town Board meetings dating back to the 1800s, as well as the town newspapers – the Cheektowaga Times and the Cheektowaga Bee. Also, I have digitized thousands of historical photographs to preserve for future generations.

One of my most gratifying endeavors was creating PowerPoint presentations – the history of the town through photographs – for school children, senior citizens and many organizations.

Also rewarding, after three years of research, was achieving the national landmark designation that placed the War of 1812 Cemetery on the National Register. I was then able to apply for and receive a grant that allowed the town to replace the wooden fencing with the historical wrought-iron fence and gateway entrance to the cemetery.

With the change of administration, the incoming supervisor has decided to take on the mantle of town historian, and I wish her much luck.

Mary F. Holtz