History Lost as Carriage House Demolished

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Niagara Falls historical landmark in DeVeaux Woods State Park torn down.


By: Nicholas D. D’Angelo

The Carriage House, also referred to by some as the Carriage Barn, was one of the longest standing buildings in Niagara Falls prior to the State tearing it down this week.

The grounds of DeVeaux Woods State Park feature several buildings, the oldest among them being the Carriage House, which is a brick structure built in 1863.

To put it in context, it was built the same year President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.

Councilman Bill Kennedy, who grew up in DeVeaux, described its demolition as “los- ing 155 years of history.”

“To some it doesn’t mean a lot,” said Councilman Kennedy, “but to others it means that we aren’t doing our part to preserve our amazing history. Something that was built during the American Civil War should have had historians, preservationists, and our leaders seeking every option to maintain the integrity of the structure.”

To many residents in Niagara Falls, including Councilman Kennedy, the Carriage House is more than just history.

“I have many fond memories of being on the former Niagara University Deveaux campus, most recently when I filmed part of a campaign video seeking a seat on the Niagara Falls City Council,” recalled Councilman Kennedy.

“I played and coached little league baseball on that campus, often played hockey with my friends on the tennis courts, and walked through every part of wooded land possible.”

The demolition occurred despite numerous efforts over the years by residents and elected officials alike to preserve the site.



“We [the council] did a resolution, but we didn’t do enough to save this. We should have stood up better and we should have been more proactive. The Mayor was supposed to do something a couple of years ago. It’s on our backs. We need to be stronger. We need to put a bigger voice out there. Shame on us for not doing it. We did a little but we didn’t do enough.”

Ultimately, no amount of opposition was enough to stop New York State from achieving their ultimate goal of tearing it down.

If the State wanted to save it, they would have saved it,” said Councilman Kenny Tompkins.

“They knew about it last year. They could have secured it. That could have been saved. They didn’t want it. That’s why it’s down. No other reason than that. Apparently it’s not important enough for them to save our history.”

Although state and local officials have said that the remnants of the building will be re-purposed, it is unclear what the plans are at this time.

“The only serious idea that I have heard with regard for the remnants is a care station,” said Councilman Kennedy.

“I’m not sure at what scale, but that’s what I have heard so far. I encourage everyone reading this to send suggestions to me via email william.kennedy@niagarafallsny.gov or by calling 286-4301.”





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