Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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December 21, 2013

NIAGARA DISCOVERIES: Wrights Cos. had right stuff for settlement

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — In the very early 19th century, when Niagara County was still part of Genesee County, those few people who ventured west toward Niagara Falls traveled on the Indian path along the Ridge (now Route 104). The high ground, though bumpy and tree-ladened, provided the best route through the forests of this area. The road was generally dry until one reached what is now present day Wrights Corners. 

This stretch, between Wright’s and Warren’s Corners, was once part of the ancient Lockport-Newfane Bay and Delta. The high ridge was interrupted for a few miles, giving way to swamps and springs, until you reached Warren’s Corners and the resumption of the Ridge. 

In 1832, when British traveler and diarist Fanny Trollope arrived at what was then called Wrightsville, she wrote, “when this ridge ceased, the road ceased too, and for the rest of the way to Lockport, we were most painfully jumbled and jolted over logs and through bogs, till every joint was nearly dislocated.”

During the War of 1812, the U.S. military built a log or corduroy road through this section to accommodate infantry going back and forth from Fort Niagara. At this time, a man named Thomas Barber arrived at the present intersection and built a log tavern on the southwest corner of Ridge and Lockport-Olcott roads. He saw an opportunity for weary soldiers and travelers to rest there before continuing their journey either east or west. 

Five years later another log tavern opened directly across the road from Barber’s. This one was operated by Alva Buck. Barber died in 1818 and his wife continued the business until 1820, when the tavern caught fire, killing two of their daughters. 

In 1822 Solomon Wright leased the Buck tavern and purchased it in 1830. After extensive expansion and remodeling, he ran the hotel for the next 31 years until it too burned in 1861. Solomon Wright died in 1872.

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