Friday, January 31, 2014


A free lecture by Heritage Architect Clinton Brown on the “History of the Industrial City: Buffalo Past, Present and Future” will be offered at Daemen College on Monday evening.  All are welcome!

“History of the Industrial City: Buffalo Past, Present and Future”
Presented by Clinton Brown, FAIA, Heritage Architect
Our history starts with Niagara Falls - 400 years in 40 minutes!
Monday, February 3, 2014, 7:00-8:00pm
Schenck Hall, Room 202, Daemen College
Free and open to the public.
Buffalo Niagara native Clinton Brown, FAIA is the founder of Clinton Brown Company Architecture, a full service historic preservation architecture firm. He is a member of the Board of the Richardson Center Corporation that is rehabilitating the Richardson Olmsted Center, a Commissioner of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission and Vice President of the Willowbank National Historic Site and School of Restoration Arts in Queenston, ON.
Part of the Sustainability Lecture Series supported by Daemen College’s Global & Local Sustainability Program
Find directions to Schenck Hall by visiting:
Bill Parke AICP
Instructor, SUST 351: Urban Planning and Community Development
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Daemen College

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dialogues on disABILITY Speaker Series

Author Anthony Antek to Speak at Museum of disABILITY History
Book tells struggles, humor and adventures growing up Polish, Catholic and Bipolar in Buffalo during the mid-20th Century

The Museum of disABILITY History is pleased to welcome its first speaker of 2014 for its ongoing Dialogues on disABILITY Speaker Series: Anthony Antek, author of Bipolar Buffalo – A Mosaic of Minds Journey. The presentation, “The Bipolar Advantage: The Link to Creativity,” will be held on Friday, January 31, 2014, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 3826 Main Street in Buffalo.

Antek’s presentation will focus on his book, as well as personal stories about living and coping with Bipolar disorder. In 52 stories and 29 works of original art and photos, the book tells the struggles, humor and adventures of a steel-city, second generation working-class youth growing up Polish, Catholic and Bipolar in Buffalo during the mid-20th Century. Antek will address numerous other topics, including positive aspects of the disorder and reflections on the debate of neurobiology vs. social conditions as causal factors. The presentation will also include a Question-and-Answer session.

Please share this information with your friends and colleagues that may be interested to attend.
Members are free, $5 for adults and $2.50 for seniors, students and human service employees. (Includes museum tour.) For more information or to register, call 716-629-3626.

Thursday, January 23, 2014



It's written in Mark 14:7 of the Christian Bible, "For you have the poor with you always . . .", and it's obvious that many of their children will always be there as well. It's of these innocent human bequests that author/historian Michael T. Keene writes in "Abandoned: The Untold Story of Orphan Asylums".                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Charles Dickens wrote, "What place is this, to which the squalid street conducts us? They are a kind of square of leprous houses, some of which are attainable only by crazy wooden stairs.  What lies beyond . . . all that is loathsome, drooping, and decayed is here."

Dickens was writing of England's major cities. Those of the New World were just as bad.

Michael T. Keene writes of like conditions. His account begins back in the mid-1840s when Ireland's essential potato crop begins failing. In September of 1846, the 'great hunger' is devastating the farming population. Landowners often evict their tenants for non-payment of rents, by the following year forcing them to scavenge the countryside for wild food, including roadside grass and weeds. Cholera and typhus begins taking their toll. Keene tells us, "It became common to find entire families, homeless and infected with the disease lying dead on the roadside." To many of those still surviving, there finally seemed to be one solution.

America! Which for most of the new arrivals meant lower Manhattan.

In 1865 an estimated 30,000 homeless children were living on the streets around lower Manhattan's Five Points neighborhood - (seen on the book's cover; the name coming from the intersection of the streets known today by the names of Baxter, Mosco, and Worth). Wikipedia reports it was a, "disease-ridden, crime-infested slum for well over 70 years."

For many of us growing up in the second half of the last century the word "orphan" brings to mind Oliver Twist, Fagan, Little Orphan Annie and Daddy Warbucks. More recently the musical "Newsies" would come to symbolize the problems faced by the parentless in this lower part of the state's largest city.

Keene has set out to fill in the blanks regarding the solutions arrived at over the following century, with emphasis on the state of New York. Beginning with the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, which began weaning the public from the viewpoint that poverty was the result of a lack of morality. Already New York had passed a law back in 1824 requiring each county to purchase land, and erect one or more buildings to serve as a "poor house".

Even as far back as 1735 pioneering Bellevue Hospital had been founded in Manhattan to provide services for the poor of all varieties, as well as the aged, the insane and even criminals. But it would prove incapable of providing for hundreds of orphans, especially when the casualties of the upcoming Civil War would greatly decrease the numbers of fathers across the country. The time for orphanages had arrived.

The seeds of such institutions had been sewn in 1807, when Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton founded the Orphan Asylum Society also in New York City. The book recounts a number of successive heroes, especially those in New York (only a few names relatively recognizable - Susan Fenimore Cooper, Cadwallader D. Colden, John Guy Vassar) who down through the decades have eased the situation of those children deprived of home and family, finally ending with the founders and participants in the Orphan Train Movement whose young passengers aided the settlement of the midwestern U.S. from 1854 on through 1929.

During the book's course "Orphans" touches on a number of tales of special interest to New York City and State residents.

Many Rochesterians will remember reading newspaper accounts looking back to the 1839 Rochester Orphan Asylum and the 1901 fire that destroyed this forerunnner to today's Hillside Children's Center, drawing some 1200 people searching for the bodies of their children and the young relatives of acqauintances.

Some Syracuse readers may learn for the first time of their own 1851 New York Asylum for Idiots (it was definitely a far-less sensitive period - the term "politically correct" had yet to be coined.

Finally, moving westward, the book ends with brief  personal experiences by four of the Orphan Train "riders". And a discussion of the program's failures.

As seen in hindsight.

The book will not actually be available until February 15th but interested people can
pre-order the book by contacting me via or by calling,

The price of the book and audio book will be $22.95 each.

The book will be available on Amazon as well but probably not for a month or so

My four books are:

Folklore and Legends of Rochester
Murder, Mayhem and Madness
Mad House

All of the books also have been recorded and are available as an audio books

I have also produced a documentary series titled, Visions which is available on DVD

Sunday, January 19, 2014



(Extract from: "Letters on the Natural History and Internal Resources of the State of New York" By Hibernicus (DeWitt Clinton) New York, 1822)

Page 22, Letter V.
Montezuma, July, 1820

My Dear Sir,
    In my voyage on the canal I met with several loaded boats and scows, ascending as well as descending, and also rafts. The facility with which boats pass each other without interruption or delay, strikes one forcibly at the first view. This canal  will make a great revolution in the internal trade of the country, and in the balance of political power.

     One horse can draw as much on a canal, as 60 on a road. The expense of transportation will be consequently greatly reduced. I saw an advertisement of Mr. Henry B. Ely, of Utica, wherein he offers to forward goods on the canal for 25 cents per Cwt. for 100 miles, including toll, which is about five cents a ton per mile, at least one quarter less than by land. But this I apprehend is too high; the maximum cost ought not to exceed three cents a mile per ton. I saw a Utica a raft of 440 tons of lumber, which had been floated on the canal for 20 miles, for about 50 dollars. It was drawn by four horses at the rate of two miles an hour.

The conveyance of this timber by land would have cost at least 1600 dollars. The price of wheat at Albany, is now about  (P. 23) 87 cents a bushel, and the land transportation, at any considerable distance, costs at least 44 cents. A bushel of wheat can be conveyed on the canal, when finished, from Seneca river to Albany for six cents.
     Gypsum is found all over the west; you can now buy it at Utica for $1.5o to $2 a ton. The great country lying on he Hudson can be supplied with this mineral for four or five dollars a ton. Salt will also be sold
at Albany for 2s. 6d. or 3s. a bushel.
     I enclose you a marine, or canal list, cut from a Utica paper. The activity of business which this communication has already created is perfectly surprising. 

                            From the Utica Patriot.

                            CANAL NAVIGATION.
   May 22, 1820, arrived, boat Montezuma, with passengers, Engineer, Experiment, Western Trader, and a Cayuga boat, with flour.
   Departed, Montezuma, passengers, and a Geneva boat with goods.

   23.  Arrived, Traveller, and Experiment.
  Departed, boats Engineer, Newell, and Experiment.

   24. Departed, boats Western Trader, and Experiment.
   Arrived, Lady of the Lake, with stone, and John Van Ness Yates, with 250 barrels of flour from Seneca Lake.

   25. Arrived, Experiment, passengers, Lady of the Lake, stone, Anne Maria, with salt, from Salina.
    Departed, Experiment, Anne Maria.

    26. Arrived, boat Montezuma, with passengers, his excellency the Governor, and Gen. Van Rensselaer.

    27. Arrived, boats Traveller, Clinton and the Western Trader.

   28. Arrived Engineer.
   Departed, boat Montezuma, with passengers, commencing her regular trips.

   29. Departed, the Experiment,  passengers, for Montezuma.

   30. Lady of the Lake, one scow, with stone.

   31. Arrived, two Cayuga boats with flour.
   Departed, Engineer, passengers.

   June 1. Two boats from the Seneca Lake, do.

   2. The Canastota and John Van Ness Yates, do.
  Arrived, Montezuma, with passengers.

   3. Arrived, one boat from Cayuga Lake, with pork.
   Departed, one boat for Geneva, and the passage boat Experiment.

   5. Departed, the Montezuma, for Seneca river, with passengers.

     At Montezuma, I was regaled with most excellent fish of the esox genus; and at Syracuse and Rome, on my way up, I had fine salmon. I shall on a future occasion, speak of the fishes of the west: The fish markets of the cities on the Hudson will be greatly improved by the canal. New species will be ground down in ice in a perfect state of preservation, and the epicures of the south will be treated with new and untried dishes of the highest flavor.
     The west is the favorite region of the peach and the plum. And these and other kinds of fruits of the very best quality will be conveyed on the canal.  I have seen in various places, a plant of fine appearance, which I am told produces excellent fruit of the size and color of a small orange. It is, if I mistake not, the podophyllum peltatum and is commonly called mandrake, or May apple. 

This country also contains different species of wild plums of fine quality.  The opening of a market for grain will prevent its conversion into ardent spirits - the curse of morals, and the bane of domestic felicity. Whiskey now sells for eighteen cents a gallon. What a temptation to inebriety! a man may now keep constantly drunk, for three or four shillings a week. Nothing but a heavy excise can banish the use of this deleterious poison.
     Cattle which are fattened for the market can be transported on the canal with less expense and with more celerity, (and without any diminution of flesh) than by driving.
     In one word, new uses and striking advantages will daily present themselves to observation from this great operation.  It alleged that the canal will make a good ice road in winter, but I have no faith in this opinion. The use of it for such purpose will be but short. It will be in use for vessels about ten months in a year; and what is not a little extraordinary, it freezes later, and thaws sooner, than natural waters. The philosophy of this fact I will endeavor to develop on some future occasion, but such you may rely on it is the case. When the Onondaga Lake, which lies below the canal, was closed  up with ice last spring, the latter was open and navigable.  By the continual passage of boats in winter, the canal can be prevented from freezing; and when frozen, a vessel may open its way by placing stampers for breaking ice at its head, as I have seen in the Forth and Clyde canal, where they are worked by  a steam engine that propels a barge. 
                            LETTER VI.
     My Dear Sir,
          Before leaving London a bought "An account of the Great Western Canal of New York, with an illustrative map," which was reprinted at that great literary mart, and when I arrived here, the great outlines of the country and of the canal were familiar to my mind. Actual inspection  has exceeded the most sanguine anticipation. Sometimes I think that I am in the region of enchantment, and that the magical operations of eastern fiction are acted over again in this country. Two canals of 124 miles, uniting to a certain extent the great fresh water seas of the interior, with the ocean;  and all this done without noise, and as it were without effort, in less than two years and a half, must shut the mouth of scepticism,  and excite universal astonishment. The more I examine into this subject, the more I examine into this subject, the more important consequences do I observe.  The men who are the premum mobile of this scheme, appear to understand the genuine sources of national wealth, and the orthodox principles of
political economy. Internal trade is the great substratum of riches. It excites all kinds of industry, sharpens the faculties, and multiplies the exertions of man; and inland navigation is the lever of Archimedes, which will set in motion this world of occupation and exertion.
       Both sides of the canal are in fence.  This is necessary in order to protect the bank from cattle, and the farms from depredations. I was shewn at Whitesborough, a fence, the materials of which were conveyed from Canasaraga last fall, on the canal. Twenty-two hundred cedar rails were transported with one horse, two men and a boy, and it took in going and returning, three days, at $3 per day; in the aggregate, $9; while by land it would have employed 40 wagons two days, which at $2 per day, would have cost $160.
      I am of opinion that the salt of Salina can be sold at Albany, when the canal is finished, for 31 cents a bushel, and the expense will not exceed six cents. The principal cost now is the barrel,  but when conveyed in bulk, this of course will be done away. I saw a salt boat building near Syracuse, which was intended to convey 1600 bushels in bulk.
     In like manner gypsum can be got at Utica for $2 a ton, and delivered at Albany for $1 1/2 or $2 more. This source of fertilization will be diffused through this channel over the whole state. I have much to say on this subject, and am now considering  whether it will be best to prepare it by calcination or grinding before transportation, or transport the raw material. Suppose that 100,000 farmers should each save twenty dollars a year in gypsum, and ten dollars in salt, by means of the canal, here would be an annual saving of three million dollars, a sum more than sufficient in two years to make the whole canal. And this is a very moderate calculation. Salt is essential to the health of cattle, and the consumption of this (P. 29 article for that purpose, for the table, and for preserving  fish and meats, is immense.
     Gypsum rises every year in public estimation, and I am told that during the late war, the farmers of Saratoga and Dutchess counties would go to the gypsum beds of Madison and Onondaga counties for a supply, a distance of 150 or 200 miles. To shut out the foreign supply of gypsum and salt, would be a great saving to the public in every sense of the word: and this will be most effectually accomplished.
     A horse can easily draw 25 tons on a canal. This would take at least 20 teams for land transportation. The conveyance of commodities by water will supersede the use of an animal for draught, which is the most voracious and wasteful of the graminivorous class of brutes. Two beneficial consequences will result, and in a most extensive manner. 1st. The diminished demand of horses for domestic accommodation, will enable exportation to foreign markets; and 2d. Their place will be supplied by neat cattle, sheep, swine, and poultry, which will be increased in proportion to the augmented stores of grain and grass for their benefit.
It has long been anxiously desired by good agriculturalists to substitute the ox for the horse in farming, and though this has partially succeeded in the eastern states, yet the (P. 30) horse is almost exclusively used for the conveyance of commodities a distance. 
     Every diminution of expense in transportation, will add so much to the profits of the farmer and manufacturer. Hence manufacturers will be enabled to sell their fabrics at a low price, and to this canal I look for resurrection and form establishment of the manufacturing of the State.

                        LETTER VII.
                                                                           Geneva, June, 1820.
     My Dear Sir,
    Just before you arrive at Syracuse, 61 miles from Utica, you meet with the two first locks on the canal. Here are three which let you down into (P. 32)  the Salina Plain. These locks are made of lime and sand stone. Both abound with marine exuviae and organic remains. I never saw more substantial erections. The water cement made use of is derived from a mixture of sand and a meager lim stone found all over this country, and is said to be superior to any hydraulic mortar ever used. I had at Utica an account of this discovery from a Dr. Bartow, one of the agents of the Canal Board, a gentleman, who possesses a great fund of information, which he was by no mean parsimonious in imparting. I spent thee hours very pleasantly with the Doctor at the great Utica Hotel. He informs me that on a chemical analysis, it is proved that the component parts are not the same with the Septarium. Lias or Aberthlaw lime of Great Britain - that he and Mr. White, on of the Canal engineers, had originated and matured the discovery and that it had been
successfully tried in cisterns as well as locks, and found to unite stones as firmly and solidly as if they had been originally joined by the hand of nature.
     The Doctor states the constituents to be as follows: to wit.
     35 parts carbonic acid, 25 lime, 15 silex, 16 alumine, 2 water, 1 oxide of iron.
     After the process of calcination, it is to be ground, and then mixed with an equal weight of clean sand, which will be twice as bulky as the lime, and it must be mixed with clear water, as little as possible.
     I am told that a great limestone ridge runs through the whole of this country, east and west - that north of it a ledge of gypsum commences; also a range of salines - and that on the borders of the gypsum and salt regions, there is a tier of limestone alternating with sandstone, and full of organic remains; adjacent to which the water lime is found - and that this valuable fossil is in great abundance over a line of country of at least 100 miles extent. The most eastern salt spring as yet discovered is about 25 miles west of Utica; at the same distance gypsum commences.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Greece Historical Society – January 2014 NEWS

January 14th, 20147:00 p.m. Greece Town Hall, One Vince Tofany Blvd. 50 Hidden Gems of Greater Western New York by Christopher Carosa.  Discover the secrets in your own backyard.  Mr. Carosa will tell spell-binding stories of Greater Western New York’s hidden gems. He will reveal some of the most delicious underexposed treasures of the region in a light-hearted and entertaining manner. The people, places and events that not only helped define Greater Western New York, but have often helped define America as well. Christopher Carosa is the author of three books, a stage play and more than 400 articles on everything from modern portfolio theory to white cream donuts, but what he enjoys most, is sharing the spell-binding stories of Greater Western New York’s hidden gems with area clubs, societies and organizations. Autographed copies of his book will be for sale after the program for $26.95 (price includes sales tax.)  Public welcome. Reservations are not necessary. Greece Historical Society members free. A $2.00 donation is appreciated from others. 

Thursday, January 16th 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Greece Community & Senior Center – Look for the Greece Historical Society at theGreece Chamber of Commerce Outdoors Fair

Sunday January 19th  2:00 p.m. at the Greece Museum, 595 Long Pond Rd. Patchwork Pieces of Life in Greece and Parma as told by Marilyn Lowden Koss Wright.  Marilyn, the daughter of Homer and Berenice (Cole) Lowden, grew up on Elmgrove Road during the forties and fifties.  She will tell  stories from her books about the people and places she loves, including memories of Ridge Road, school days, summers at the lake, and Manitou Beach to mention a few.    Marilyn, a retired Hilton Central School Secretary, also has a home based Antique and Collectible business.  She is currently working on a third book which will highlight the Braddock’s Bay Area.  Autographed copies of her two books Patchwork Pieces Vol. I & II will be available for $10.00 each or $18.00 for both.

MUSEUM HOURS  The Greece Museum and museum gift shop are open Sundays 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 or by appointment.  The museum gift shop is also open on Mondays  10:00 a.m. – Noon.


Sunday, February 9th  2:00 p.m. Greece Museum - Queen of Bremen The true story of an American child trapped in Germany during World War II  by Greece resident Marlies Adams DiFrate.

 Tuesday, February 11th 7:00 p.m., Greece Town Hall, Cycling the Erie Canal Democrat & Chronicle Annette Lein and Justin Murphy will share with us the story of their bicycle trip along the Erie Canal as reported in the Democrat and Chronicle in July, 2013.

Wednesday, February 19th  12:30 – 3:30 p.m. at the Greece Museum, 595 Long Pond Rd. Vintage Games Tournament  Children ages 8-13 are invited to come that day and test their gaming and competing skills. Reservations are required, call 225-7221.

Monday February 24th 7:00 p.m., Chili Public Library, 3333 Chili Ave.  Early Aviation in Rochester by Bill Sauers.  Learn about the first aeroplane flights in the Rochester area and other early aeronautical facts of this area. Included in the program will be the history of our current airport and stories about some of the characters who tried, or actually did fly those early aeroplanes.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Jack and Misty - nearly homeless

(From the Book "Finding Her Voice", by Robert Oerman and Mary Bufwack.) "Misty Morgan and her husband Jack Blanchard are so different that nobody can figure out exactly what they are. Born in Buffalo, New York, Misty was a piano prodigy who entered professional music in pop combos of the sixties. In 1967 she married Jack, a wonderfully off-center songwriter, and they teamed up in Florida to perform jazz, rock, Dixieland, or anything else it took to put bread on the table. Misty hooked up all kinds of electronic devices to her piano, so the two never really needed more band members."

 We had some great hit records in the seventies but with changes in country music, our fans eventually moved on and we are now retired and living in Florida. There are no residuals from music and most of the proceeds during our performing years were taken by studios and managers. The rest of our income we lived on during that time, eventually moving into and living in an older motor-home.  We now live a modest lifestyle in our little mobile home rarely selling a CD and living on a meager fixed income with no reserve, savings or cash on hand. We are admittedly and humbly broke. Had it not come to this plight, we might have convinced the world that we were doing fine for a couple who had some great and humorous hit records and appeared and performed on talk shows and the CMA awards.

Friends of ours heard of our plight when the mobile home park we are living in sold the land and many of the tenants like us couldn't afford the thousands of dollars to move their homes. The land is being bulldozed, people are moving away and their trailer homes are being destroyed one by one. We thought we would retire here but other plans were made that have broken our hearts. We can't afford to move the trailer and we have thirty days to vacate.

Our lives have been turned upside down. After writing and performing hits like "Tennessee Bird Walk and Humphrey The Camel" our royalties and CD sales have dried up and our situation is currently dire. We are considering selling our small collection of memorabilia from our performances just to get into an apartment, however we have no means to move anything and have no storage area to take it to. It is heartbreaking to ask for help from our friends, our fans and others.
  • Your contributions will help us to get help relocating, finding a moving company and movers and to come up with security deposits and utility deposits. We otherwise have no options and with failing health can not do it ourselves. 

Friends of Jack and Misty ask for your help!

  • Ideally it would take $10,000 to pack, ship and relocate. If we can not secure help with that, then we will be forced to take our clothing and family treasures and leave our furniture behind hoping that some charity will help furnish an apartment we find. In this case, our belongings will be destroyed along with our home.

  • We have very few possessions in life but they are ours, and we have each other for which we are very grateful. Our greatest blessings are our friends, family and fans who have stood by us through the test of time.

  • Our stress level has been high with mostly sleepless nights and worry. Our daughter now has terminal cancer.  With our age and current housing crisis we are unable to be at her bedside in Salt Lake City. (Jack's health is declining and Misty is not well enough to even take an airline flight to see her daughter.)

  • Even if we don't reach our entire goal, we will be grateful for any help that is offered to us and will make do with what we have.

  • You will receive the satisfaction of knowing who you are helping and how. We will post updates on our Facebook.

  • We are grateful for your help.

The Impact

You will help us find another little place to call home, it doesn't need to be fancy or large, but it will bring amazing peace of mind to two retired folks who have loved to sing about chickens and camels for many years.

Other Ways You Can Help

Some people just can’t contribute, but that doesn't mean they can’t help:
  • Spread the word about this situation. Someone may have another mobile home available or perhaps they own a moving company. The more people come to know about this situation, perhaps they will know someone who can assist.

And that’s all there is to it.