Lackawanna, New York

Lackawanna, New York

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Lackawanna, New York

settlement_type = City
nickname =
imagesize =
image_caption = Lackawanna's City Hall


mapsize = 250x200px
map_caption = Location of Lackawanna in Erie County

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = New York
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Erie
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Norman L Polanski Jr (D)
established_date =
unit_pref = Imperial
area_footnote =
area_magnitude = 1 E9
area_total_km2 = 15.9
area_land_km2 = 15.9
area_water_km2 = 0.0
population_footnotes = [ Metropolitan & Central City Population: 2000-2005] . "", accessed September 3, 2006.]
area_total_sq_mi = 6.1
area_land_sq_mi = 6.1
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0
elevation_m = 190
elevation_ft = 623
latd = 42 |latm = 49 |lats = 10 |latNS = N
longd = 78 |longm = 49 |longs = 32 |longEW = W
population_as_of = 2000
population_note =
population_total = 19064
population_metro = 1254066
population_density_km2 = 1198.8
timezone = EST
utc_offset = −5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = −4
latitude = 42°49'10" N
longitude = 78°49'32" W
website = [ Lackawanna, NY]
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 14218
area_code = 716
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 36-40189
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0954863
footnotes =

Lackawanna is a city in Erie County, New York, U.S., located just south of the city of Buffalo in the western part of New York state. The population was 19,064 at the 2000 census. The name derives from the Lackawanna River. It is part of the Buffalo–Niagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area.The City of Lackawanna is in the western part of the county.


The City of Lackawanna has a mayor-council form of government. A councilman is elected for each of the four wards of the city. The mayor and council president are elected at large. Fire and police services are also provided by city run departments. [ [] City of Lackawanna History]


Originally part of the Buffalo Creek Reservation, the area was not open to settlement until 1842 when the land was sold by the Seneca Indians. In 1851 the town of Seneca was formed (changed to West Seneca in 1852) with the area now known as Lackawanna being called West Seneca or Limestone Hill. The Lackawanna Steel Company moved to the area in 1902, and in 1909 the residents of the area voted to split off from West Seneca and the City of Lackawanna was formed. [ [] City of Lackawanna - City History ]

Lackawanna was a center of steel manufacture throughout most of the 20th century. In 1899 all the land along the West Seneca shore of Lake Erie was purchased by the Lackawanna Steel Company. Construction was started in 1900 and the plant began operation in 1903. The Lackawanna Steel Company was acquired by the Bethlehem Steel Company in 1922. With the 20th century growth of the Bethlehem Steel plant, at one time the fourth largest in the world, came the continued growth of the city and its institutions. At its peak the plant employed 20,000 people. It attracted people from many lands to settle here and make their homes. However, the latter half of the 20th century saw the decline of the steel plant and finally its closure. [ [] New York Times Article "Bethlehem Rejects Lackawanna Plan" March 18,1983 ]

In recent years, efforts have been made to convert the former steel plant brownfields to other uses. The site does have a diversity of tenants, some occupy buildings remaining from the former steel plant and a few in newer buildings. These efforts have been opposed by many sectors, as the alleged contamination of the field has been said by some to have caused cancer and other medical issues. EPA reports are still ongoing and contested. [ [] Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton Statement & Releases March 20,2006 ] Wind turbines were built on the former Bethlehem Steel property in 2007. These initial eight turbines will provide power for up to 7,000 households.

Notable Court Case

The City of Lackawanna was the defendant in the 1971 district court decision "Kennedy-Park Homes Association v. City of Lackawanna". This court decision forbade the municipal government (City of Lackawanna) from interfering with the construction of a low-income housing development in a predominantly white section of the city. It was decided that such action would amount to racial discrimination. [ [] NAACP Legal Defense Fund Timeline 1971 ]

The Lackawanna Six

The Lackawanna Six (also known as the Buffalo Six) are a group of alleged Al-Qaida members, who were convicted of providing "material support" to Al-Qaida. They were accused of traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the spring of 2001 to attend terrorist training camps. [ cite web |last = Purdy |first = Matthew |coauthor = Lowell Bergman |title = WHERE THE TRAIL LED Unclear Danger: Inside the Lackawanna Terror Case |publisher = The New York Times |date = October 12, 2003 |url = |accessdate = 2007-09-08 ] However, they claimed that their travel was only to Pakistan and was for religious instruction. The group was arrested in Lackawanna, September 13th 2002, by the FBI. In December 2003, the group pled guilty and were given various sentences in federal prison. [ [] PBS TV show Frontline "Chasing the Sleeper Cell" ] The incident had tarnished the city's reputation, but it is recovering. [ cite web |last = Vezner |first = Tad |title = The lessons of Lackawanna: Terror case leaves lasting mark on New York town |publisher = The Toledo |date = February 26, 2006 |url = |accessdate = 2007-09-08 ]

Religious Institutions

The City of Lackawanna is home to fourteen Protestant churches, the Masjid Alhuda Guidance Mosque (the largest mosque in the Buffalo area) , ten Roman Catholic churches, one of which is Our Lady of Victory Basilica (OLV), and Saint Stephen Serbian Orthodox Church.

Our Lady of Victory Basilica

Our Lady of Victory Basilica, located in Lackawanna, is a National Shrine. Next to Our Lady of Victory (OLV) Basilica is Holy Cross Cemetery. It has been a parish cemetery since 1849, although burials date back to 1830.
Father Nelson Baker was responsible for the building of working boy's home (protectory)in 1898. He also supervised construction of an infants' home in 1907, a maternity home in 1915, Our Lady of Victory Hospital in 1919, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Victory in 1926. Father Baker named the Basilica after the shrine of Notre Dame des Victoires in Paris, France, which he visited as a seminarian in 1874. He was in charge of the Basilica and the various institutions of charity until his death at 94, on July 29 1936.

Father Baker's social programs have evolved into Baker Victory Services, which care for more than 2,500 children each day. Our Lady of Victoy Hospital, closed in 1999, is being converted into senior housing . [ [] Finding A New Use For An Old Hospital by Terese Hudson Thrall] [ [] Hospital find new life in senior housing Health Facilities Magazine December 2006 ] The Homes of Charity provide the funds to continue his social programs through donations, and Our Lady of Victory Basilica had its 75th Anniversary in 2001. In addition, the Catholic Church named Father Baker "Servant of God" in 1987, the first step towards declaring him a saint. In 1999, Father Nelson Baker's remains were moved from Holy Cross Cemetery and re-interred inside the basilica. This was a recommended step for his canonization process. His cause for canonization is under review by Vatican officials. [ [] Father Nelson Baker the Apostle of Charity ] [ [] Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary :The Servant of God, Father Nelson Baker ]


Lackawanna is located at coor dms|42|49|10|N|78|49|32|W|city (42.819391, -78.825637).GR|1

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.1 square miles (15.9 km²), all of it land. Lackawanna sits on Lake Erie, although the waterfront is occupied by the remnants of the Bethlehem Steel facility. Smokes Creek (named after Seneca Indian Chief Sayenqueraghta who was nicknamed "Old Smoke") runs through the city before it discharges into Lake Erie.

Abbott Road is a major road that runs from north to south through the city. Ridge Road is also a main east to west road in the city.

Adjacent Cities & Towns

* City of Buffalo - north
*Town of West Seneca - east
*Village of Blasdell - south
*Town of Hamburg - south
*Lake Erie - west

Major Highways in the City of Lackawanna

*), runs through the extreme southeast corner of the city.

* (South Park Ave.), North-South roadway that runs through the city from Buffalo into Blasdell and Hamburg.

* (Fuhrmann Blvd., Hamburg Tprk.), North-South roadway through the city that runs from Hamburg to Buffalo. Busy north-south route for traffic to and from Buffalo.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 19,064 people, 8,192 households, and 4,775 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,114.0 people per square mile (1,202.7/km²). There were 8,951 housing units at an average density of 1,462.1/sq mi (564.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.99% White, 9.50% African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 2.30% from other races, and 3.49% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.08% of the population. The population of whites includes a significantly large Yemeni population.

There were 8,192 households out of which 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.2% were married couples living together, 16.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.7% were non-families. 37.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.5% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 18.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,354, and the median income for a family was $39,237. Males had a median income of $32,063 versus $22,794 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,727. About 13.1% of families and 16.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.4% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.


Children in Lackawanna attend school in the Lackawanna City School District. Grades Pre-K to 2 attend Truman Elementary School. Martin Road Elementary School has grades 3-6. In a shared building, Grades 7 through 8 are in the Lackawanna Middle School section and Grades 9 through 12 are in Lackawanna High School section. [ [] Lackawanna City School District ] Also, Our Lady Of Victory Elementary School offers education from Kindergarten through Grade 8 [ [] Our Lady of Victory School ] along with the Global Concepts Charter School which offers education from Kindergarten through Grade 5. [ [] Global Concepts Charter School ] Lackawanna Senior High School was nationally famous in the 1960s because of race riots.Fact|date=April 2008 It was also famous in the 1960s and early 70s because of its dominant football teams (quarterbacked by Ron Jaworski for some of those years).Fact|date=April 2008

Notable Residents

*Father Nelson Baker, a Roman Catholic priest responsible for building the Basilica of Our Lady of Victory. This "Padre of the Poor" established social programs (for orphans, people with disabilities, unwed mothers, etc.), which still serve over 2,500 people a day.
*Ann Burke, former radio co-host on WGR (Bob & Ann Show, topic Buffalo Bills), was the one of the first female sports radio call-in hosts in America.
*Dr. Vincent Burke, senior book editor at The Johns Hopkins University Press.
*Ralph J. Galanti, Jr., Athletic Director of Erie Community College.
*Ron Jaworski, ESPN broadcaster, and former quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, and Kansas City Chiefs. [ [] Ron Biography ]
*Jack Jurek, a professional bowler (since 1986).
*Michael Kogutek, 1980-81 National Commander of the American Legion.
*Thomas Kubiak, an actor who has appeared in "The Purple Rose of Cairo" and "Law & Order". [ [] Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) biography for Tom Kubiak ]
*Mike Mamula, a defensive lineman at Boston College who was selected #7 in the first round by the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL draft. [ [] The Sporting News: NFL Headquarters Mike Mamula ]
*Connie Porter, an author best known for her books for children and young adults. [ [] Uncrowned Queens Biography: Connie Porter - Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research and Education of Women, Inc. ] (Her novel "All-Bright Court" is set in Lackawanna.)
*Ruben Santiago-Hudson, an actor and playwright. (He set his musical "Lackawanna Blues" in the Lackawanna of 1956.) [ [] Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) Lackawanna Blues (2005) (TV) ]
*Dick Shawn, an actor/comedian (born Richard Schulefand) who appeared in "The Producers", "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", etc. (His parents owned a store in Lackawanna.)
*Dr. Lonnie Smith, an award-winning jazz organist who has worked closely with George Benson; he has also appeared with Dizzy Gillespie, Gladys Knight, and Dionne Warwick.
*Margaret M. Sullivan, the current editor of "The Buffalo News". (In 1999, when she was promoted from managing editor, she became the paper’s first female editor and the youngest female newspaper editor in the nation.)
*Raymond Thorne (born Raymond Mihok), an actor. [ [] Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) biography for Raymond Thorne ]
*Bobby Scanlon, Irish American boxer, grew up in Father Baker's orphanage.
*Sam Cardinale, Professional Boxing Manager, managing Lackawanna's Dick Topinko, Joe Capuani and Poncho PadillaNicholas DeSantis, The current Head Supervisor of Parks and Recreation.

Photos of Lackawanna


External links

* [ Official Web Site of the City of Lackawanna]
* [ Brief Lackawanna history]

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