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Thursday, January 29, 2015

This book was put together by the Niagara County
Historian's Office. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)
A new book published by the Niagara County Historian’s office takes readers back almost 140 years to compare late 19th-Century locales to their present-day counterparts.

The 246-page pictorial publication begins in an era when Victorian architecture, steam powered machinery and large, prosperous farms were common sights in Niagara County, as told by a reprinting of a 1879 book by "History of Niagara County, N.Y. with Illustrations Descriptive of Its Scenery, Private Residences, Public Buildings, Fine Blocks, and Important Manufactories, and Portrait of Old Pioneers and Prominent Residents;" a volume that offered 19th century readers an impressive array of detailed drawings that showed prominent area homes, farms, industrial works and landmarks.

The 2015 edition is not just a reprint of the original work. Over the past two years, historian’s office staff members have researched the locations of the original scenes that stretch from Somerset to North Tonawanda and Royalton to Porter. Once the location of an original drawing was identified, historian’s office staff photographed the scene as it appears today so readers can compare how the Niagara County landscape has changed over the years in a “then and now” format.

Several of the illustrations depict scenes that have changed little in 136 years such as the James M. Morse Residence in the Town of Wilson. Others like the Edwin Whitcomb Farm in the Town of Hartland reveal how the forces of industrialization, suburbanization and social and economic change has greatly altered the local landscape.

Sanford’s Niagara: A Then And Now Collection 1878 - 2014 is priced at $24.95 and will be available for purchase at The Niagara County Historians Office, Ticklebridge Co-op, The Dory, Old Fort Niagara Gift Shop, and at other area locations.

For more information please call the Historian’s office at 439-7324 or email

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