Understand the Background of Cheektowaga, NY
Cheektowaga, NY is the second-largest suburb of Buffalo in western New York, that has a rich and complicated history. Throughout its development, it has been a major hunting and fishing ground for early Native American tribes, a rural farming community, and a transportation hub. All of these factors have contributed to Cheektowaga becoming the intriguing and welcoming town that it is today.
Pre-European Colonization in Cheektowaga, NY
The first people to occupy the area were the Neutrals. They were then taken over by the Seneca tribe. Cheektowaga gets its name from an Erie-Seneca word that means “place of the crabapple tree”. The Seneca tribe was a member of the League of the Iroquois and those tribes used this area to hunt and fish for over a century once they took control over it.
Beyond the American Revolution
Following the American Revolutionary War, the Iroquois tribes were forced to give up their lands and move to a reservation known as Buffalo Creek. A portion of modern-day Cheektowaga was part of this reservation. The land that the Iroquois once controlled was quickly purchased by the Holland Land Company, a Dutch investment group, and settled.
Throughout the town’s history, many people of different backgrounds came to the area. The most common ancestries in the area today are Polish and German. Appollos Hitchcock was one of the first settlers and he and his descendants worked hard to make the town thrive. Initially, the area of Cheektowaga was known as Clarence, then that was changed to Amherst.
In 1839 Amherst was divided into Amherst and Cheektowaga with similar boundaries to today. Appollos Hitchcock’s son Alexander became the first supervisor of Cheektowaga in April of 1839.
The Town Thrives
Cheektowaga found its stride as a rural town that supplied food for Buffalo and other nearby cities as well as for shipment through the Erie Canal. Potatoes and grains were popular crops and as the town grew, taverns and sawmills began to pop up as well. By the time of the Civil War, the town was connected to the world by railroads.
Then the development of the electric trolley led to further advancement. However, transportation progress didn’t stop there, as the 1920’s brought an airport to the Cheektowaga area.
World War II made the need for transportation expansion very clear, and this city in NY became an extremely popular place for these industries to come to.
The Modern Era in Cheektowaga, NY
Once the war ended, the town remained a popular destination for many industries because of its advantageous location. It is both near the border to Canada as well as Lake Erie, Niagara Falls, and the Hudson River. It began to grow quite rapidly, and it began to lose some of its rural feel in some areas of significant progress.
At the centennial celebration of the town’s incorporation in 1939, its population was merely 25,000. Since then the population has nearly quadrupled to almost 100,000 residents. This rapid growth is representative of the town’s ingenuity and dedication to progress and growth.
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