Thursday, November 10, 2011

E. Dent Lackey - City of Niagara Falls Mayor 1963 to 1975

The following excerpt is taken from Daniel M. Dumych's "Niagara Falls, Vol. II"
(text only - Photos courtesy of The Niagara Falls Public Library Local History Department)

E. Dent Lackey, mayor of Niagara Falls from 1963 to 1975. Mayor Lackey, an outgoing, ebullient man, was elected on a campaign that called for urban renewal, the re-establishment of the city as a tourism capital, and industrial expansion. Under Lackey's administration, the city actually came to lose much of its industry. Many of the city's factories were built late in the last century and early this century and companies chose to relocate their works instead of rebuilding them. Tourism, too, would falter even more during the Lackey years. Throughout the 1960s, Falls Street deteriorated and tourists lured by the flash and glitter of Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls, Ontario. City residents, too, abandoned Falls Street, choosing to shop at plazas near the edge of town instead of supporting Falls Street businesses. Lackey and other city leaders felt that there was only one answer for Niagara Falls's ills - urban renewal. By the early 1970s, much of the south end resembled war-time Europe. The properties had been cleared - an yet, there were no takers. The city waited in vain for a return to prosperity.

On a personal note, my father referred to E. Dent Lackey as the "(expletive) on the white horse," as do many of the people still to this day who lived in Niagara Falls at the time when Urban Renewal took place. Many still hold Mayor Lackey responsible for what became (or what didn't become) of Niagara Falls in the aftermath of Urban Renewal.

(click all photos for larger images)