SMALL TOWN WNY
A GREAT DRIVE
OR WALK THROUGH
& these West Seneca businesses...
One of my litmus tests to see if people can pick up on this type of feel, is to take them on a drive down Main Street in West Seneca right into the heart of Ebenezer.
And outside of a few places in and around my old home of Sonoma, California that would have the same effect, I have never seen a place that makes people feel this certain warmth. A home vibe, I guess. And if they have never been there, it never fails...“What a pretty street.” “I really like this place.” “This street reminds me of…” Yep, it works every time.
I’ve done this test dozens of times over the years since I moved back to Western New York and my home town of West Seneca in the spring of 2014, and it always reinforces my belief that there’s something really special going on in this place. What is it? I have no idea and I have been chewing on this thought for decades.
Is it the way the light refracts and reflects off of and through the old trees lining the streets? Is it the wealth of architecturally warm homes? Is it the good energy left behind by generations of folks who have so lovingly called this place home and turned it into what it looks like today? I wish I knew and I wish I could bottle it and take it with me everywhere I go and live.
But, like all things so nuanced and deep and solely inherent to its beholder, you can’t take it with you. It can only be experienced in its place in this very special spot tucked into the heart of West Seneca. I swear, even as little toe-headed kids in the 1970s and ‘80s riding our bikes through almost all of the streets here, we all felt it.
Yes, there’s a lot of old Western New York history here but this isn’t what I’m focusing on today.
Today, I just want to focus on how this place makes people feel and what it evokes and get you up off your butt to check it out for yourself.
Yes, there was a group of 800 German immigrant Lutherans, “The Community of True Inspiration,” that were known as the “Ebenezers” and settled here between April of 1843 and October 1845, purchasing 5,000 acres of the just vacated Buffalo Creek reservation for $10.50 an acre. They had their own governing body and communal society and eventually left for Amana, Iowa as the modern world encroached on their lifestyle and ideology.
And yes, maybe they did leave behind some of their more hippie-dippity energy that always sees to wrap around anyone who visits this place. And yes, there were centuries of indigenous people that lived off of the bountifully beautiful land here along the Buffalo Creek.
And maybe… just maybe… all of this goodness got so deeply embedded into the flora and fauna’s DNA and the very hallowed ground they exist upon that it seeps into the very quantum, molecular grains of anyone who enters it. Or maybe it’s just a coalescence of many things that, like all places that inherently have a good feeling, are just too complex and subcutaneous for us to ever know. It just is. And that is really all that matters, I guess.
But if you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods in Western New York, park at Mill Road Park next to Cazenovia Creek, get out and take a walk up Mill toward the Queen of Heaven Church across Seneca Street. Then walk up Mill to Main Street where the Masons building sits and head right up Main to Seneca again and then head back down the opposite side of the street again and see, just see… if you don’t very well feel it, too.
I’m telling ‘ya, it’s real and it’s there and some days, you can almost take a big ‘ol bite of it right out of the air.
What is it that gives this hamlet such a strong sense of place in a town that is mostly faceless? Again, damned if I know. But its a great walk through with some great history and is easy on the eyes. ~AA