Retrospective — June 24

Twenty years ago — 1997

Gowanda is a unique community for many reasons, but the most striking difference is the village is located in not only two different towns — it is in two different counties. Village officials believe there is no other community with this distinct split personality in New York state. The northern portion of the village and about one third of its 3,000 inhabitants is in Erie County – Town of Collins. To the south, where two-thirds of its population lives, the village is in Cattaraugus County – Town of Persia. The Cattaraugus Creek bisects the village and forms the line between the two counties. One can literally place one foot in Erie and the other in Cattaraugus County, while standing on the downtown bridge.

Thirty years ago — 1987

With $168,000 pledged or donated thus far in the Fredonia Preservation Society’s Opera House Campaign, the reopening of the facility in safe condition is assured. Based on architect’s estimates, that sum is more than enough to complete Phase 1 of the project, which is to bring the 1890s structure up to occupancy codes. Phase II of the project will involve decorative restoration to the late 19th century style as well as purchase and install modern theatrical equipment. Progress on Phase II will depend on the amount of money raised locally in the closing weeks of the campaign and on the amount generated from outside funding sources.

Forty years ago — 1977

He’s a towering 6 feet, 6 inches tall, a former resident of Dunkirk and one of the luckiest clowns alive. Richard Fick, 32, has made the big time as one of the 29 clowns who are touring with the famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey “Greatest Show on Earth.” The circus is currently presenting shows at the Niagara Falls Convention Center as part of its 19-month tour. Mr. Fick was raised in Dunkirk by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Fick.

Fifty years ago — 1967

Ever since the completion of the new St. Hyacinth School in 1963, the library has stood empty, waiting for books to arrive. Today, it has 1,426 books. The library opened Feb. 15, 1967 and is probably one of the most up to date as it also features records, filmstrips and other audio-visual aids.