LEWISTON – Last month’s spectacular re-enactment of the Battle of Queenston Heights was on the minds of Village Board members when they presented certificates of appreciation Monday to the leaders of the program and looked forward to more of the same.
Certificates were awarded to Lee Simonson, organizer of the Oct. 12-13 re-enactment; Bruce Sutherland, director of field operations and president of the Historical Society of Lewiston; and Pam Hauth, executive director and curator of the Historical Society’s museum. Sutherland also is a village trustee.
Mayor Terry C. Collesano said Lewiston’s re-enactment of one of the earliest and most fierce battles of the War of 1812 was “a magnificent event” that drew accolades from many of the re-enactors from throughout the United States and Canada, and from some of the hundreds of people who gathered along the Niagara riverfront to see and hear the simulated bombardment by vintage cannons aimed at British military positions on the Canadian side of the river.
Simonson praised the “tremendous cooperation of everyone, especially the 250 volunteers” who made the program possible. Hauth called it “an amazing project.”
During the battle, U.S. forces briefly seized Queenston Heights, but they ultimately were repelled by British reinforcements, causing severe casualties to both sides.
Simonson read excerpts from a handful of letters of thanks from re-enactors who camped here from distant communities, most of them saying Lewiston’s program was the most satisfying in which they ever had participated. Simonson said many of their comments, and a large number of photographs, are being compiled in a 60-page limited-edition, hardcover book to be published next month.
The book is intended to be both a historical keepsake and a “how-to” manual for organizers of similar future events. Simonson said a re-enactment of the British burning of Lewiston is scheduled for Dec. 15, and a monument to the wartime role of the Tuscarora Indians is being planned.
Board members said they were so impressed by the fireworks that accompanied the October re-enactment that they authorized an $8,000 contract with the same company, Skylighters of Western New York, headquartered in Orchard Park, to put on a fireworks display next July 4 on the Lewiston plateau – “a longer show with larger shells.”
In other business, Collesano announced:
• Raked leaves piled loosely at curbside in residential neighborhoods will be picked up until Nov. 30. Effective Dec. 1, all leaves must be packed in bags before they will be collected. The mayor explained that snow and ice make piles of leaves difficult to handle, and work crews will not pick them up after Dec. 1 unless they are wrapped in bags.
• Parking on village streets will be prohibited between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. from Dec. 1 to April 1 to facilitate snow removal. “Illegally parked cars will be ticketed,” the mayor said.