Niagara Frontier Region Facts

Each Friday a new fact about a region of New York State is posted to the Exploring Upstate Facebook Page. In case you haven’t been following along there, here’s what you missed!

-The lit up floor that appears below the fast moving feet of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever was designed by a company in Buffalo called Litelab. [source]

– On November 30, 2014 residents of Western New York reported a loud, earth-shaking ‘boom’ while residents in parts of England reported the exact same experience at the exact same time. [source]

– On July 17, 1902 William Carrier of Angola, New York invented the modern air conditioning system. He got the idea while standing on a railroad platform in Pittsburgh and watching the steam pass by, realizing he could dry the air by forcing it through water to create fog.

– Parts of the cult classic film “Sharknado 2” were filmed inside the Lockport Cave. [source]

– On May 1, 1901 the Pan-American Exposition world’s fair opened in Buffalo and featured the first ever x-ray machine. Later during the Exposition, President William McKinley was shot on September 6. Though the doctors had an x-ray machine at their disposal, they wouldn’t use it on the President to find the bullet because the side effects were still unknown.

– At the site of Niagara Falls, the Niagara River spills 40 million gallons of water 180 feet downward each minute across a ragged ledge nearly 2/3 of a mile wide.

– The Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School is the oldest operating and highest respected of all the Santa Claus Universities. It currently is in Michigan, but was originally founded by Charles W. Howard in Albion (Orleans County) in 1937. [source]

– Millard Fillmore, 13th POTUS, was the last President to NOT be affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican Party. He now rests in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo. [source]

– The very last stronghold of the Confederacy after the Civil War was a town in Erie County. Town Line, NY seceded from the Union during the war and even had residents who went to battle for the South. They didn’t technically re-enter the Union until 1946 after prodding from President Truman and a town vote. [source]

– Charles W. Howard of Albion, New York first portrayed Santa in the 4th grade during a school play. He later founded the oldest-continuously run Santa Claus school in the world and was the featured Santa in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1948 through 1965. [source]

– The University of Buffalo is one of only two higher education institutions in the U.S. to have been founded by a U.S. President. [source]

– Frances Folsom was born in Buffalo in 1864 to a close friend of then 27-year old Grover Cleveland. He took a particular liking to the child and doted on her with gifts right from the day she was born. Later, when Frances turned 21, she and sitting President Grover Cleveland would marry, making her the youngest First Lady, the only First Lady to marry in the White House, and also the only First Lady to preside over two non-consecutive administrations when her husband was elected for a second term. [source]

– As a child, 21st President Chester A. Arthur lived in the village of Perry for a few years. [source]

– The first President to ride in an electric car was William McKinley in 1901. He was shot while attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo where the theme was electricity and was carried from the fair in an electric powered ambulance. In an odd turn of themed events, his assassin was later put to death by electric chair at Auburn Correctional Facility in Central New York. [source]

– The song “Are You From Dixie? (‘Cause I’m From Dixie Too)” was written by Jack Yellen, who was not from Dixie at all, but rather born in Poland and then at the age of 5, moved to Buffalo, New York with his family.

– On November 5, 2015, President Barack Obama signed into legislation a law naming the United States Post Office in Del City, Oklahoma. It is named after Bob Kalsu, who is the only active professional athlete to be killed while serving in the Vietnam War. He played for the Buffalo Bills in 1968 and was named Rookie of the Year for the only NFL season he ever played. [source]

– The “cocktail” was first created in Lewiston by Catherine Hustler. During the war-torn year of 1813, American troops brought roosters and hens from a raid on British troops to her tavern. They asked Hustler to cook up the birds, and as she did, she placed feathers from the rooster’s tail in each of their drinks. From then on, Hustler’s Tavern would become synonymous with the “cocktail”. [source]

– The Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo was the first museum in America to host an exhibit featuring photography as a fine art. The International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography opened on November 3, 1910 and ran through December 1. [source]