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Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Rich History Of Westfield & Chautauqua

Cars came into vogue in the early 1900s, and for a couple of decades prior to the Great Depression, families prospered. After Main Street was paved in 1921, more automobiles were driven in the village of Westfield. Travel became a leisure activity, enabling people to venture from their hometowns to other destinations.

5/14/2006 - New ‘Images Of America’ Book Focuses On WestfieldBy ANASTASIA CONKLIN

Most people are familiar with Westfield’s ties to President Lincoln and William Seward — famous figures from the past. Others may not be aware of other people and stories that contributed to Westfield’s history. Not many know that Theodore Roosevelt visited Westfield in 1914 to campaign for the Progressive Party. Few may remember how Dr. Welch signaled the pressing of the grapes with an annual whistle blast. On April 24, Arcadia Publishing was released its newest book, entitled Westfield. The book covers the rich history of not only the village itself, but of Barcelona Beach and Lake Erie.The books authors are Kenmore, N.Y. native, Kathleen Crocker and London, England native, Jane Currie. The duo also wrote three other books about Chautauqua County including Chautauqua Institution, written in 2001; Chautauqua Lake Region, written in 2002; and Jamestown, written in 2004. According to Crocker, they began writing the books because they were curious about the role played by their ancestors in Chautauqua County’s history. They were eager to pool their talents and mutual passion for the region to not only learn of their heritage, but evoke a similar desire for their readers.‘‘For the most part we worked individually on our specialties,’’ said Crocker. ‘‘Jane located and scanned images and I researched and verified information. Together we organized chapters, assembled the layout and ultimately coordinated the images and cutlines.’’Both Currie and Crocker had a familiarity with Westfield which afforded them access to personal and family scrapbooks, albums, diaries, letters and other archival materials. They also found written dialogues with longtime residents and friends, including the current historian who remembered both of their fathers. With all the material that they gathered, they both learned things about the Westfield area that they had not known before, including Barcelona’s strategic location on Lake Erie that played a major role in opening up the Ohio Valley region for French and British exploration. This route was called the Portage Trail and was an essential route for both Native Americans and early pioneers.‘‘We hope that people will be amazed by the early days of Barcelona,’’ Crocker said. ‘‘Especially now since it is a simple lakeside community.’’Barcelona was also once a bustling port for commercial and passenger steamers between Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland and Detroit. They also learned that commercial fishing once sustained the Barcelona community and that Dr. Roswell Park, founding of the cancer research institute in Buffalo, traveled by train on weekends to assist at the Soules Training Hospital for Nurses.‘‘I think that people will be impressed that we have tackled a fourth Arcadia Publication in order to share and honor Chautauqua County’s rich history,’’ Crocker said. ‘‘People will find that Westfield had many ‘firsts’ and the number of renowned historical persons that were a part of Westfield’s past, including William Seward and President Lincoln.’’The book is available at several local retail stores and bookstores for $19.99, including Cadwell Cheese House and Gift Shop in Dewittville. The cheese house is owned by author Jane Currie. The authors will also be holding a book signing at Walden Books at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, June 16 and at 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 17.

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