About This Place
North Tonawanda is a city in Niagara County, New York, United States. The population was 31,568 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Buffalo–Niagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is named after Tonawanda Creek, its south border. Tonawanda in the Seneca tongue means "Swift Running Water".
Tonawanda Creek, which flows into the Niagara River, once had large stretches of rapids (see Rapids, New York) until it was tamed with the construction of the Erie Canal. The city also calls itself "The Lumber City," due to its past primary industry and once was the largest port on the Great Lakes during the height of the Erie Canal. Along Goundry Street are mansions built for the lumber barons, including 208 Goundry Street, called "Kent Place", designed by Stanford White. It is also home to the 2009 Class AA NYS Football Champion Lumberjacks.
After the first settlers arrived in 1809, North Tonawanda became part of the town of Wheatfield, New York in Niagara County, from May 1836. An abortive attempt at a village containing portions in two counties and two towns from January 1854 until April 1857, it was part of the Niagara County/Town of Wheatfield component, with the other portion being located in Erie County and the Town of Tonawanda. The experiment was abandoned after New York State removed the North Tonawanda component from the village. Oral history claims a dispute between merchants was the cause, but the combination of communities in two different counties and two different towns was unwieldy. After becoming a village on May 8, 1865 (still in the Town of Wheatfield, but as part of Martinsville, New York), North Tonawanda was incorporated as a City on April 24, 1897.