Sunday, May 30, 2010

Getting Pinned - Niagara Falls High School

Getting "Pinned" at Niagara Falls High School

Do you remember back in the "good old days" when a guy would purchase a pin from his high school and give that pin to a steady girlfriend as a sign of their "bond?" A co-ed wearing a pin was then known to "be taken" by the other guys in school. Here is a pin from the 1957 year at Niagara Falls High School in the school colors of red and gray. Does anyone remember?

[Submitted by Jim Brunn]

Ground Observer Corps.

During the period following WWII, we were in what was called "The Cold War." Many of us can recall the drills while in school when we were instructed to get under our desks and "duck and cover." The overriding fear was that the Soviet Union was going to send planes over here and drop an atomic bomb on the U.S. During this time we had a strong Civil Defense Corps, which was headquartered in the basement bomb shelter of the Bollier Ave. Firehall (Engine 9). Many of our public buildings had bomb shelters that were stocked with emergency supplies and some people had well-stocked facilities in their own homes.
One of the interesting and more unknown divisions of the Civil Defense Corps was the Ground Observer Corps (G.O.C.). It was critical to the U.S. Air Force Defense Command to know at the earliest if a foreign power's airplanes were encroaching upon our fair land. All across the U.S., Ground Observer Corps observation stations were set up to observe and report all air traffic to the U.S. Air Force through a radio/telephone link. Volunteers in the Corps would sit in their stations and if an airplane were heard, attempt to spot it, identify the type of aircraft, and report its location and direction of travel. One might hear over the link that air traffic was reported over one city and that plane could be followed as other stations reported on it. If it was headed in our direction we kept our eyes and ears on alert.
Most folks in Niagara Falls were not aware that on top of our city hall there was a glass-enclosed building, equipped with a very sensitive microphone and the necessary communications equipment with which to report any aircraft. The microphone was so sensitive that on a quiet evening one could hear the conversations of pedestrians down on the sidewalks around city hall.

I was an active member of the G.O.C. from 1955 to 1959 and spent many hours in the little glass house on top of city hall. In order to facilitate the manning of the station by volunteers, NF Police Dept. cars could be asked to transport us to and from our homes and city hall. I know that the police felt they had better things to do than drive civilians around but the manning of the station was considered that important. Looking back on it today it almost seems ridiculous, but taken in the context of the absence of today's technology and what with the fear of annihilation it was community service of which to be proud. In appreciation for our service, we were issued our "wings" and a certificate of service. In the center of the wings (see photo) was G.O.C. indicating the division. I wonder if that glass building is still on the roof of city hall?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bell Aircraft Corporation circa WWII

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Vintage Postcards of Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls Trivia

Niagara Falls Trivia - How much do YOU know?

Thanks again to Jim Brunn (the top-dog of StenzTV viewers!) for sending in this nostalgic quiz written by Frank Thomas Croisdale. This quiz has been floating around the Interweb for a few years, but if ya haven't seen it, I'm sure you will enjoy it - be sure to pass it on! Have fun!
Many businesses have come and gone over the years in Niagara Falls. Since
the last great heyday of the 1960s and '70s, numerous stores that helped
make up the cultural landscape of Niagara Falls have closed their doors for
good. How well do you recall these businesses?
Take the following quiz of 30 questions (10 each in the categories of easy,
medium and difficult) to see how well you remember the way we used to be.
Score 1 point for each correct answer.

1. This fixture of the old downtown of Niagara Falls became the original
anchor store of the Rainbow Centre. Name it for your first point.
2. What was the name of the drive-in theater on Military Road that
brought the big screen experience to Niagara Falls?
3. What bakery famous for its Italian bread and cold slices of pizza was
located at 19th Street and Elmwood Avenue?
4. What department store occupied the building on Packard Road before
Gold Circle?
5. A car wash on Third Street in the Town of Niagara garnered a lot of
press in the late '70s because of what it was built to look like. Can you
name it?
6. What was the name of the Western New York chain that was bought out
by the Bon Ton at the Summit Park Mall?
7. What was the name of the meat market that stood at 18th Street and
Linwood Avenue until it was tragically lost to fire?
8. Name the department store that stood at the site where the Prime
Outlet Mall is now located.
9. Name the family grocery store on Linwood Avenue and Main Street that
used the motto, "Where Food Shopping is King."
10. What was the name of the K-Mart subsidiary that was operated from
the building on Main Street that now houses D&K?

11. What restaurant specializing in steaks was located in the Summit
Park Mall across from the movie theaters?
12. What Niagara Falls bakery had a location on 20th Street in the city?
13. What Third Street nightclub featured nationally known blues
musicians like B.B. King and John Lee Hooker?
14. Name the Niagara Falls Boulevard chicken wing outlet that had a sign
on the front that also served as its menu. The sign read, "50 Wings --
15. Iney Wallens has done her Friday lunch radio broadcast from the
restaurant of a Buffalo Avenue hotel -- that most recently was called the
Best Western Inn on the River -- for years. What was it called for most of
the '70s and '80s?
16. The China Garden Chinese Restaurant is located at the intersection
of Pine Avenue and Portage Road. What coffee shop occupied the building for
decades before closing up shop in the '90s?
17. What national food chain used to do business out of the building now
housing Mighty Taco on Military Road?
18. What Pine Avenue bar was reopened, in the mid-'90s, by new ownership
under the name, "Studrats?" Hint: The new owner must not have had enough
money for a proper sign because the old name was an anagram of the new one.
19. What sinfully good ice cream chain had a franchise in the food court
of the Rainbow Centre?
20. What local hamburger joint had shops on both Pine Avenue and
Military Road in the 1970s?

21. What was the name of the first head shop to "turn on" Niagara Falls?
It was located on lower Main Street.
22. This drugstore on 18th Street and Cleveland Avenue had a sign out
front that stated that they carried Russell Stover Candies. Can you name it?
23. Name the two locations of "David's Steak Hoagy" before they moved to
their current spot.
24. In the summer of 1979 a strange airplane was frequently spotted
flying over the skies of Niagara Falls. Why was this plane different from
all others?
25. Name the Italian restaurant that stood on Whirlpool Street across
from the bridge in the 1970s.
26. This hamburger chain was located on Main Street where the Burger
King stands now. Do you know its name? Hint: If you know the name of the
corporation that owns most of the Burger Kings in Western New York, then you
know the answer to this question.
27. Name the Niagara Falls daredevil who briefly set up shop in the
Rainbow Centre in 1985, selling autographed keepsakes of his plunge.
28. Name the Summit Park Mall women's clothing boutique that was managed
in the 1980s by Niagara Falls television host Lori Caso.
29. The site of the current Fichte Eye Associates on 24th Street and
Pine Avenue once had a brief and disastrous incarnation as a drive-through
spaghetti house. Double garlic bread to you if you can name it.
30. The parking lot at Trusello's Bakery featured a billboard that had a
cartoon rendition of one man choking another. What did the caption that
accompanied the drawing read?

1. Beir's Brothers
2. Starlight Drive-In
3. Trusello's Bakery
4. Twin Fair
5. The Blue Whale Car Wash
6. AM&A's
7. Meranto's
8. King's Department Store
9. Slipko's
10. Kresge's
11. York Steak House
12. DiCamillo's
13. The Imperial Garage
14. The Chicken Coop
15. The Red Jacket Inn
16. The Wedge Coffee Shop
17. Wendy's
18. Stardust
19. Haagen-Dazs
20. Henry Hamburgers
21. The Fevertree
22. Stine's Drugs
23. Pine Avenue and Portage Road across from the old high school and in
Pine Plaza on Niagara Falls Boulevard
24. It had a scrolling dot-matrix advertising board mounted under its
wings and ran ads for businesses
25. The Checkerboard
26. Carroll's Hamburgers
27. Steven Trotter
28. Ormond
29. The Spaghettory
30. "What did you say about Trusello's bread?"
Scoring Table
27-30 points: You are a dyed-in-the-wool Niagarian. Congratulations.
20-26 points: You know your stuff.
15-19 points: You win the 10th cigarette prize -- middle of the pack.
9-14 points: You must have lost your long-term memory after drinking some
bad Love Canal water.
0-8 points: You're not from 'round these here parts, now are you?