Much can be learned about Niagara by reading advertisements for its businesses from yesteryear. At the Atwood’s Western Hotel back in 1869, the Gazetteer states that the establishment “has recently been refitted and newly furnished throughout, and is now in good condition for the reception of travelers.” One has to wonder about the poor souls who stayed there before the hotel was “in good condition.”

Another item of interest pertains to the F.H. Mott China Hall at 5 Main St., Lockport. The business “keeps a splendid assortment of Crockery, China, Glass Ware and Cutlery which will be disposed of at prices to suit the customers. Mr. Mott understands his business and knows how to purchase goods.” We can only conjecture that perhaps a few other establishments did not know how to purchase goods?

The Masonic Society has built an organization around certain secrets and rituals. In the late 1800s, the Masons listed their Niagara County locations in the Gazetteer and stated their meeting times. It would seem that even this basic information was subject to secrecy, as the Hartland Lodge No. 218 listed: “Regular Communications are held on Mondays before the full moon.”

Health care has always been a large concern for Niagara, but the way we choose to address it has certainly changed. A 19th century advertisement for Robinson’s Infallible Dysentery and Cholera Syrup helps illustrate a few of these changes. “This valuable remedy is manufactured by Dr. E. Robinson. Thousands die every year for want of some safe and mild remedy for the diseases and thousands of others suffer untold misery from the same cause. Keep a bottle of this syrup in the house and take it as needed. Dr. R. is prepared to receive at his house those suffering from chronic diseases. Mrs. R. will be in attendance to nurse and treat all who may come under their care.”

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