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Lockport (city), New York facts for kids

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Lockport
Downtown Lockport with Locks 34 and 35 Below
Downtown Lockport with Locks 34 and 35 Below
Nickname(s): 
The Lock City
Location in Niagara County and the state of New York
Location in Niagara County and the state of New York
Country United States
State New York
County Niagara
Government
 • Type Mayor-council
Area
 • Total 8.45 sq mi (21.87 km2)
 • Land 8.40 sq mi (21.76 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.12 km2)
Elevation
614 ft (187 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 21,165
 • Estimate 
(2019)
20,305
 • Density 2,417.26/sq mi (933.33/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
14094-14095
Area code(s) 716
FIPS code 36-43082
GNIS feature ID 0955783

Lockport is both a city and the town that surrounds it in Niagara County, New York, United States. The city is the Niagara county seat, with a population of 21,165 according to 2010 census figures, and an estimated population of 20,305 as of 2019.

Its name derives from a set of Erie Canal locks (Lock Numbers 34 and 35) within the city that were built to allow canal barges to traverse the 60-foot natural drop of the Niagara Escarpment. It is part of the BuffaloNiagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

Lockport bartlett color
Lockport 1839, by William Henry Bartlett

The New York State Legislature authorized the Erie Canal's construction in April 1816. The route proposed by surveyors was to traverse an area in central Niagara County, New York, which was then "uncivilized" and free of White settlers. At the time, the nearest settlers were in nearby Cold Springs, New York. As it became known where the proposed canal was to be built, land speculators began to buy large plots along and near the proposed route of the canal. By December 1820, when the exact location of the step locks had been determined, the area that would become Lockport was owned by only fifteen men, many of whom were Quakers.

The canal reached Lockport in 1824, but the locks were not completed until 1825. By 1829, Lockport had become an established village. The community was centered on the locks, and consisted mainly of immigrant Scottish and Irish canal workers, brought in as labor. The workers remained in Lockport after the completion of the locks, giving the city a heavy Celtic influence still discernible today, especially in the Lowertown and North Lockport neighborhoods.

The city of Lockport was incorporated in 1865.

The Erie Canal was supplanted by the larger New York State Barge Canal in 1918, and the famous south "flight of five" locks was replaced by two much larger locks E34 and E35. The north "flight of five" lock chambers still remains as a spill way.

In recent years public officials and private businesses have made an effort to incorporate Lockport history into a regional or national tourist attraction. This includes the completion of the Canal Discovery Center, the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride tour, and the Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises. Local officials are seeking state grants to reconstruct the historic "flight of five" and make it a living history site complete with boat rides and reenactors. Published reports state a living history site in Lockport marketed as a day trip from Niagara Falls could draw thousands to Lockport each year.

The city has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places. They include the: Bacon-Merchant-Moss House, Col. William M. and Nancy Ralston Bond House, Chase-Crowley-Keep House, Chase-Hubbard-Williams House, Nathan Comstock Jr. House, Conkey House, Day Peckinpaugh, Dole House, Gibbs House, High and Locust Streets Historic District, Hopkins House, House at 8 Berkley Drive, Lockport Industrial District, Lowertown Historic District, Maloney House, Benjamin C. Moore Mill, Niagara County Courthouse and County Clerk's Office, Thomas Oliver House, Pound–Hitchins House, Stickney House, Union Station, United States Post Office, Peter D. Walter House, Watson House, and White-Pound House.

Lockport's largest employer is General Motors Components, the former Harrison Radiator Corporation, which was founded locally in 1912 and which became a division of General Motors Corporation in 1918. Following 10 years of ownership by Delphi Corporation as Delphi Thermal Systems, it returned to General Motors in October 2009.

In 1948, the Lockport Chief of Police denied a permit for a Jehovah's Witnesses minister to preach in a public park using a sound truck. In Saia v. New York, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the city ordinance as a violation of the First Amendment.

Geography

ErieCanalRRBridge04 1A
The current double lift Lockport Lock is left in the distance with the northern "Flight of Five" to its right. St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church is in the background. The Falls Road Railroad runs above.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22.4 km²), of which 8.5 square miles (22.1 km²) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) (1.39%) is water.

The Erie Canal passes through the center of the city, turning south toward Tonawanda Creek. It climbs the Niagara Escarpment through a series of two modern locks. Originally, a double set of five combined smaller locks were used.

Flight of five at Lockport
Original northern five step lock structure crossing the Niagara Escarpment at Lockport, now without gates and used as a cascade for excess water. Double 24 12-foot-high (7.5 m), 40-foot-wide (12 m) modern locks are to the left which replaced the original southern "Flight of Five" lock structure

Lockport is at the junction of several major truck roads, including NY Route 78 (Transit Road), NY Route 31, NY Route 77 and NY Route 93. It is 17 miles north of Interstate 90 via NY Route 78 (Transit Rd.).

Lockport lies in the 716 Area Code.

Tourist attractions

  • The Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises boat rides are offered on the Erie Canal, with one proceeding upward through the modern locks for a short cruise, and returning to pass downstream under two lift bridges and then returning to the docks.
  • The Lockport Erie Canal Museum is located in an old lock control structure between the modern Locks 34 & 35 and the remaining original "Flight of Five" Locks spillway and contains historic photographs, maps, engineering drawings and antique machinery.
  • The Canal Discovery Center is housed in an old church about 100 yards to the west of the locks.
  • Lockport has the widest bridge (399' wide x 129' length) in North America which spans the canal to the southwest of the locks.
  • The Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride tour can be taken near the locks.
  • The Niagara County Historical Society located at 215 Niagara Street. It is a complex of buildings that together tell the story of Niagara County history.
  • 100 American Craftsmen is an annual show of arts and crafts held at the Kenan Arena. The arena is located on the historic Kenan Center campus.
  • Ida Fritz park plays host to the Taste of Lockport every August and to a Cruise Night every Monday during the summer.
  • Lockport has recently added a new ice rink for the Clarence Mustangs and Lockport Express called Cornerstone Arena.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 10,871
1870 12,426 14.3%
1880 13,522 8.8%
1890 16,038 18.6%
1900 16,581 3.4%
1910 17,970 8.4%
1920 21,308 18.6%
1930 23,160 8.7%
1940 24,379 5.3%
1950 25,133 3.1%
1960 26,443 5.2%
1970 25,399 −3.9%
1980 24,844 −2.2%
1990 24,426 −1.7%
2000 22,279 −8.8%
2010 21,165 −5.0%
2020 20,876 −1.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

At the 2010 census, there were 21,165 people, 9,153 households and 5,172 families residing in the city. There were 10,092 housing units. The racial makeup of the city was 87.5% White, 7.2% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.8% from other races, and 3.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 3.2% of the population.

At the 2000 census, there were 9,459 households; 30.5% of households included children under the age of 18, 41.4% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.7% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 3.03.

25.8% of the population were under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.

The median household income was $35,22, and the median family income was $44,614. Males had a median income of $35,197 and females $23,944. The per capita income was $19,620. About 11.7% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.9% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.

Notable businesses

  • Yahoo operates a large data center to the west of the city.
  • First Niagara Bank, founded in 1870 as Farmers & Mechanics Savings Bank, has grown to include branches throughout New York and Pennsylvania and, with the April 2011 acquisition of NewAlliance Bank based in New Haven, Connecticut, is one of the largest regional banks in the country.
  • General Motors, Lockport was founded in 1910 as the Harrison Radiator Company for the purpose of designing, manufacturing, and selling automotive radiators and components. Since that time the company has flourished into a lean manufacturing site that produces a wide array of Powertrain Cooling and HVAC components and systems. The company has historically been a significant employer of the local population and currently employs almost 1400 people.
  • The Palace Theatre a neoclassical theatre, was constructed by Charles Dickinson beginning in 1922 and opening July 18, 1925. During opening, Lock City Theater Company President A. Edmund Lee was quoted as saying it was "built not for the aristocracy, but for all the people.” It is designed with a mix of art deco and Italian Renaissance styles complete with wall and ceiling murals. The theatre underwent an interior redesign in 1936, with John Eberson as the architect. In 1969, the Palace Theatre closed its doors, and it stood vacant until it was bought by Granchelli Real Estate in 1972. Although there was talk of demolishing the theatre, the Palace reopened later that same year "under either direct or indirect management of the Dipson Theatres chain." The theatre underwent restorations in 1973, and it reopened in 1974. By 1999 profits started to dwindle as other businesses began to leave Lockport's downtown area and patrons became less frequent. Later that same year, "Curtain Up Productions" leased the space until 2003, when the theatre was sold to Historic Palace Theatre Inc., a community-based not-for-profit organization which has maintained its commitment to keeping the theatre active. In 2021, the Palace Theatre finished its most recent restoration project at a cost of $4.1 million, with "$600,000 coming through Lockport's Downtown Revitalization Initiative award."

Notable businesses

  • Yahoo operates a large data center to the west of the city.
  • First Niagara Bank, founded in 1870 as Farmers & Mechanics Savings Bank, has grown to include branches throughout New York and Pennsylvania and, with the acquisition of NewAlliance Bank based in New Haven, Connecticut, in April 2011, one of the largest regional banks in the country.
  • Transit Drive-In Theatre, opened in 1952.
  • The Lockport Palace Theatre, operating since 1925, is notable for retaining its original proscenium arch style space.
  • Intertech Digital Entertainment, a local retailer and installer of DISH Network. The Intertech shared partnership group was one of the first retailers of DISH Network in the United States.

Education

Lockport City School District oversees all local public schools.

  • Anna Merritt Elementary School
  • Charles Upson Elementary School
  • George M. Southard Elementary School
  • Roy B. Kelley Elementary School
  • Emmet Belknap Intermediate School
  • Aaron Mossell Junior High School
  • Lockport High School
  • Lockport High School West

DeSales Catholic School is a local private elementary school within the regional Diocese of Buffalo. The school was named after St. Francis de Sales. Previously a high school, it now teaches classes from pre-school through eighth grade.

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