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Woodlawn-Lakeshore Road (north of Lake Avenue), circa 1916

In March of 1995 we used a photo showing Route 5 in Woodlawn, south of Lake Avenue, at the turn of the century. This picture gives an excellent view of the north edge of the community looking toward Lackawanna.

The early trolley tracks are clearly visible in the photo. These are the same tracks that carried passengers from Buffalo to several station stops as far west as Erie, Pa. Although we couldn’t bring up the name plate on the auto with a magnifying glass, it’s probably a Ford model.

The large building on the right with the dormers and the last one before leaving Woodlawn (east side of Route 5) was the former Lake Shore Hotel. Today it would be directly across Route 5 from the First Street Salvage. According to our best information, the hotel had several names and owners.

It was first owned by Joe and Mary Pizelli, who called it “Heart Break Hotel,” As the story goes, it seems that Joe, an avid hunter, would offer free venison dinners as well as free beer to his customers during hunting season. Of course, that’s if he was lucky enough to get a deer. The property was later sold to Iver Jacobson and June O’Day, and it’s also believed that a Bob McBratnie also ran the business for some time.

When this picture was taken, there was a street that ran from Route 5 along the side of the hotel east toward Blasdell. The street was called Hillside. Along this street and one other called Palmer, a small Polish community developed. The area came to be called “Goose Island.” Houses were built and then later razed or moved across the field to Lake Avenue to clear the way for Bethlehem.

The hotel was first moved and later deliberately burned to the ground by the Woodlawn Fire Department to expedite the plans for the coming of the Galvanizing Plant.

Across the road to the west side of Route 5, the building that presently houses the First Street Inn is visible as well as the home that is partially hidden which still stands today.

The two lower structures in the middle, housing a grocery and a meat market, were replaced by a diner and then later a liquor store.

The advertisement on the side of the grocery store is for “Oneida Biscuits.”

From the Archives...

Erie County Independent:

July 6, 1922 – There was an enormous attendance at the Legion Field on July 4th both morning and afternoon, In the afternoon, the field was completely encircled with cars. The Lacrosse game was the main feature of the afternoon and a pretty exhibition was put on by the All American Indians and the Iroquois Indian Clubs, the former winning by a score of 6. The All Americans had just completed a week’s trip through Canada and were on their way home. The Hamburg Legion boys were responsible for bringing the exhibition to Hamburg. Another Lacrosse game will be played between the All Americans a team of Canadians on July 29 at Legion Field.

Photo– the late F. Sumera

This column is written each week by Hamburg Town Historian Jim Baker.

Anyone wanting to submit photographs and/or materials can call the historian’s office in the Hamburg Town Hall on either Wednesday or Thursday between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at 649-6111 ext. 2400.

Readers can also provide feedback by writing to The Sun and mailing it to The Sun, 141 Buffalo St., Hamburg, NY 14075.


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