Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Twenty-Five Things That Made Genesee County Famous: #10 Dean Richmond

On March 31, 1804, in Barnard, Vermont, a son was born to Hathaway and Rachel Dean Richmond. The boy, named Dean, was destined to become a powerful businessman who helped influence the way people traveled.

Dean Richmond became a titan of industry and New York State politics. He was a man who knew Abraham Lincoln and, as legend states, was asked to run against Honest Abe in 1864. He allegedly stated, "I want to be the man behind the scenes, not in the front."

He was an early supporter of the use of steel rails on the rail lines. The use of steel rails helped grow the American steel industry.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

The Twenty-Five Things That Made Genesee County Famous: #11 Ely Samuel Parker

Who would have guessed that a boy born on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation in 1829, would grow up to be a great leader both the Native American and white man's world?

Before he was born, his pregnant mother, Elizabeth Parker, had a dream.

It took place in the village of Buffalo. In her dream, it was a snowy winter day. "Suddenly the sky opened, the clouds were swept back by an invisible hand and she beheld a rainbow that reached from the reservation to the Granger farm [Judge Erastus Granger, a former Indian agent. His farm is near where Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo is today], when it was suddenly broken in the middle of the sky. From the lower side of the rainbow were strange pictures, which she recognized as resembling the signs over little shops in Buffalo."

Superstitious, she went to a dream interpreter. He said, "A son will be born to you who will be distinguished among his nation as a peacemaker; he will become a white man as well as an Indian, with great learning; he will be a warrior for the pale faces; he will be a wise white man, but will never desert his Indian people nor 'lay down his horns as a great Iroquois chief'; his name will reach from East to the West - the North to the South, as great among his Indian family and the pale-faces. His sun will rise on Indian land and set on the white man's land. Yet the ancient land of his ancestors will fold him in death."

The dream proved to be great prediction for the life of Ely Parker.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Twenty-Five Things That Made Genesee County Famous: #12 Darien Lake Theme Park

In 1960, Buffalo entrepreneur, Paul Snyder, opened a small campground and picnic area in the town of Darien and called it, Snyder’s Darien Lake.

Almost 50 years and millions of visitors later, Darien Lake is Genesee County's favorite theme park.

Its gone through a few name changes, and has added many rides and attractions, but the family fun atmosphere is still there.

I remember my first visit there all those years ago. There was the swimming pool, some water slides, and who can forget Skateboard City.

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