The following information contains excerpts from the book:
Lancaster, New York Architecture and History
Editor – James Siemon Keysa
Published by the Village of Lancaster Historic District Commission in 2007 in collaboration with the Town and Village of Lancaster
Permission to include the content posted on this web page was granted by the Chairman of the Village of Lancaster Historic Preservation Commission in November of 2013.
Originally part of the Town of Clarence, the Town of Lancaster was established as a separate government by an act of the New York State Legislature in 1833. The southern portion of the Town of Lancaster was taken in 1857 to form much of the new Town of Elma. Other land for the Town of Elma came from the Town of Aurora. Within the Town of Lancaster there are two villages. The Village of Lancaster was incorporated in 1849 and the Village of Depew in 1894. Depew straddles Transit Road and extends into both the Town of Lancaster and Cheektowaga. The Town of Lancaster is located approximately eleven miles east of downtown Buffalo. About thirty-seven square miles in area, the Town is approximately six miles wide on all sides. It is bounded on the north by Wehrle Drive, by Townline Road on the east, by Hall Road on the South and by Transit Road on the west.
In the early 1800’s Native American Seneca Indians were joined by settlers from New England. Many became successful farmers and merchants as time went on. They were joined by Germans and Dutch and later by immigrants from eastern Europe and Italy. Five major railroads, including New York Central, Erie, Lackawanna, Lehigh Valley and West Shore Railroads all crossed through the Town of Lancaster. Rail lines are still active today.
The “little red schoolhouse” on Bowen Road and William Street was constructed in 1868. The one room schoolhouse was built of locally-made brick and was heated by a pot-bellied stove in the center of the room. Each desk has its own ink bottle hole. The school was in operation until 1948. A fire in 1968 destroyed the roof and building interior. With a goal of restoring the building and preserving its history, the Lancaster Historical Society was formed in 1973. Work was completed in 1978 and the school continues to be open to the public to date.
Twelve buildings in the Town of Lancaster have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Eleven of these are found along Broadway in the Village of Lancaster Historic District. The other is the Hull House on Genesee Street in the Town of Lancaster.
Copies of the book “Lancaster, New York Architecture and History” are available at the Village of Lancaster Clerk’s Office for a nominal purchase price of $15.00.