A tree honoring Abraham Lincoln. A Broadway show business memento. A nod toward a prominent local scientist and paleontologist.
History lovers in the Southern Tier now have five separate markers – each erected in the past 4½ years – to read and learn from in their travels around Chautauqua County.
The five New York State historical markers have been erected since 2008 as part of commemorations of the bicentennial of Hanover, a town in the rural county.
The project was undertaken and has been executed by Vincent P. Martonis, historian in the Town of Hanover and curator of the Hanover History Center in Silver Creek.
“It’s a permanent way to put this historical information into the minds of people, and keep it there,” Martonis said. “They will see it day by day – and remember. And know they are driving through some significant historical territory, in little old Hanover in Chautauqua County.”
The markers installed so far, according to Martonis, include:
• A marker honoring native son George F. Abbott, the famous theater producer and director who carved out a high-profile career on Broadway in the early part of the 20th century.
The Abbott marker is on Route 39, in the Village of Forestville, where Abbott was born and spent his early life, before moving to Hamburg.
• A marker noting an obscure event of the American Revolutionary War, in which Lt. John Docksteder, a British soldier, was stationed at Cattaraugus Creek and banded together with the Seneca Indians of the area to oppose American forces.
The marker is in Sunset Bay, at the Hanover boat launch.
• A marker noting the local connection to James J. Strang, the leader of a sect of Mormons in the mid-1800s, who contested with other leaders of the time for control of the Mormon community. The marker is at King and Dennison roads in the town, near where Strang attended school. Strang spent time as a lawyer in Silver Creek and ran a local newspaper for a time.
• A marker honoring the well-known archeologist, paleontologist and historian Everett R. Burmaster, an Irving resident, who served as a curator of the Buffalo Museum of Science and died in the 1960s. The marker is at Buffalo Road and Routes 5 and 20, near the site of Burmaster’s former home.
• A marker for a historic tree in the town, the so-called “Lincoln Maple,” that was planted by local schoolchildren to honor the memory of slain President Abraham Lincoln after his death. The marker is in Balltown, near Allegany and Mackinaw roads.
“Some were almost completely unknown, like the American Revolution marker,” said Martonis, of the events the markers commemorate.
Martonis said that private donations have covered about half of the bill of the five-year project, which cost nearly $7,000 to complete.
To learn more about any of the markers, contact the Hanover History Center at 985-4141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.