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When Buffalo to Fredonia was ‘disgrace’

March 17, 2013

By AGNES PFLEUGER For travelers headed out west in the early 1800s from Buffalo to Fredonia, their journey was notorious, especially during spring or wet weather....

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Mar-19-13 9:15 AM

KC gets it right. History says that people sailed up the 18 mile creek to Eden from Lake erie. these were not tiny boats either.versailles plank was a toll road too. Thats why there weree so many little towns. getting around was a problem. Taverns ? Booze was a large transport item on erie canal when it was built. equal to tanker quantities today.

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Mar-18-13 9:08 AM

timeisthefire: The lake isn't much affected by lunar tides, that is correct. However, an offshore wind will raise the water level (not just waves) along shore temporarily, which may be what they were referencing.

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Mar-18-13 12:16 AM

Sorry to say Lake Erie is not affected by the tides in any disernable way...

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Mar-17-13 10:17 PM

Not much different today..Only more taverns, an Indian gambling and tobacco complex and high tolls.

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Mar-17-13 5:12 PM

I like all the stops in taverns! Great article. Well-written. Keep up the good work, Observer, because nobody else is there to tell us about our rich history.

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Mar-17-13 12:05 PM

If you look at local area road maps dating back to the early 19th century you'll see that their right of ways would often go right down to the shorelines (in fact many still do, but it's common that adjoining property owners have placed their lawns over them), this included Chautauqua Lake, and pretty much everything else consider to be legally "navigable". This reflected the huge economic importance that those waterways had as transportation corridors.

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Mar-17-13 11:51 AM

Up until the Civil War, and even later, the best way to get up and down the lake shore was by shallow draft boats which could pull up too, or very near, the beach. When the lake was well frozen, heavy wagons & sleds made use of that, otherwise you really couldn't expect to get much more than a couple of miles,at best, from your home during the winter. The Holland Land Co. did map out some public right of ways (AKA: roads) but originally they did little more than too drop the huge trees, leaving everything, including the huge stumps, wherever they fell. As strange as it sounds today, road maintenace (which seldom never went beyond dumping gravel in the wet spots) was the responsibilty of the adjoining property owner, a practice which continued in some rural areas until the beginning of the 20th century. Generally speaking, the primary topic of discussion at every public meeting of the era would likely be that of roads and the dire need to improve them.

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Mar-17-13 10:59 AM

Wow, the NYDOT was a disgrace even back then. No surprise there!

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Mar-17-13 7:39 AM

Good history. I read that the rt 20 bridge over 18 mile creek was not built till 1929 .How tough those early pioneers were, just getting around was tough. Perhaps we could see an article on how the trees were simply burnt for their ashes. The wood was a nuisance.

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