Bill Peglowski is pleased to announce the relaunch of his GowandaOnline website. As of today, the redesigned site will sport a newly enhanced Social Community section.
Peglowski has been providing online venues in the Gowanda area since the mid-1980s. At that time, before there were the websites of today, Bulletin Board System sites provided a means for computer users to interact with each other. Using special BBS software, individuals could set up one of these early sites which could then be accessed from other computers by dialing the BBS owner's phone number.
The BBS site run by Peglowski from his home was known as The Falcon Loft BBS and was just one of several such sites operating in the Hamburg-Gowanda-Springville area at the time. As was common for BBS sites, The Falcon Loft provided message boards, chat and a game area in addition to allowing users to upload and download files.
The emergence of AmericaOnline, in late 1989 and early 1990, brought the end of the BBS era. The early AmericaOnline was essentially a huge BBS that was duplicated on computers in major metropolitan areas across the U.S. with all of those computers being connected by the emerging Internet computer network.
With the arrival of domain names and sites based on remote "hosting" computers, Peglowski returned to web development launching the GowandaOnline site in April 1999. At that time, Gowanda Electronics had already become the first local business to register a domain name, taking the Internet address: gowanda.com and Gowanda resident, Chris Pearson had already registered the domain name: gowandany.com. These two choices being unavailable, the hyphenated domain name Gowanda-NY.com was taken for GowandaOnline. (Site addresses are not case sensitive and the use of capitals in the domain name are only for readability.) The URL, Gowanda-NY.com, has been the address for the site ever since.
The original GowandaOnline featured whatever statistical information could be found about the village of Gowanda as well as original coverage of local events and archived articles from the Gowanda PennySaver-News. Over the years, the site became very popular with former Gowanda residents who had relocated elsewhere around the world. Even so, GowandaOnline had not become a major destination among the residents of the village.
In an attempt to become more useful to the local community, the decision was made to provide more user interactive function and become more of a social community. After an initial effort which didn't provide the new direction and wasn't adaptable to the original material on the site, a new model was chosen. The new GowandaOnline is actually two separate sites running parallel to each other. One has been designed to house the "classic" archives-based material; the other, features the interactive and social community activity.
New features of the site include: Facebook-style common and individual sharing walls and a yard sale directory. Other features which had previously been added to the site are: private messaging and IMs, chatrooms, message boards, alumni directory, community directory, online classifieds and community calendar.
"As has always been the case, I remain dedicated to keeping GowandaOnline completely free to use and hope that it proves to be a useful resource for the Gowanda community. I am always open to suggestions of ways to make the site more useful," Peglowski said.