The Long Homestead

The Long Homestead (HM1GS3)

Location: Tonawanda, NY 14150 Erie County
Country: United States of America

N 43° 1.271', W 78° 52.558'

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In December of 1828, Benjamin and Mary Hershe Long arrived here from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in a covered wagon drawn by oxen. With them were their five daughters, ranging in age from 6 months to 16 years.

Their home, built the following spring, is constructed of timber hand-hewn from trees cut down on the spot - black walnut for the walls and white oak for the beams. Pennsylvania German influence is reflected in the two front doors which open directly into the main rooms of the first floor.

The Erie Canal, completed in 1825, and its towpath passed directly in front of the homestead. The Long family, soon to include a son and another daughter, was witness for decades to sights and sounds unique to the Erie, its boatmen and their legendary animals.

Benjamin Long (1787-1959)

A New Canal Season - May 12, 1905

The Delaware Street Bridge spans the Erie Canal between Tonawanda (right) and North Tonawanda. The canal boat "Harvey H. Quinn" is moored in front of the Long Homestead awaiting the start of the canal's 80th season.

The Erie Canal travels through Tonawanda. circa 1905. As shown in the painting, the towpath ran along the south side of the canal past the Long Homestead and through the City of Tonawanda.

Rafting in Tonawanda Creek, 1860

During the late 1840s, a fledgling lumber industry took root in the Tonawandas. One of the men responsible was Henry P. Smith, husband of the Longs' daughter Christina. Settling with his family in Walsingham, Ontario, Canada, Smith began a business in rafting. Logs were chained together into huge rafts that were towed to the harbor at the Tonawandas. There they were dismantled and either treated in local sawmills or made into smaller rafts before being towed east on the Erie Canal.

Smith had discovered a niche for the Tonawandas, and over time, others would follow suit. In addition to rafts, lake vessels arrived here with timber to be unloaded for distribution elsewhere. Lumber, not only from Ontario but also from Michigan and points west, would be king in the Tonawandas for decades to come.

Henry P. Smith (1811-1874).

HM NumberHM1GS3
Series This marker is part of the Erie Canal series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 18th, 2014 at 1:40am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17T E 673069 N 4765356
Decimal Degrees43.02118333, -78.87596667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 1.271', W 78° 52.558'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 1' 16.26" N, 78° 52' 33.48" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)716
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 24 E Niagara St, Tonawanda NY 14150, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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