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Thomas Walker, Barcelona brick yards, lime kilns and a plaster mill

Buzzings from BeeLines

December 19, 2012
By Marybelle Beigh - Westfield Historian (westfieldhistorian@fairpoint.net) , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

Tucked inside a folder of clippings and notes about Barcelona's history, I discovered a forgotten highlighted item in a photocopy of page 40 from "A History of Westfield 1802-1997," Part I, Chapter XI on industrial expansion.

Unfortunately there are no bibliographies, footnotes or endnotes indicating the source documents to support the information in this accepted official history of the town and village. However, the recent discovery of Thomas Walker's 1867 diary and access to detailed maps from the 1867 Chautauqua County Atlas have confirmed most of the items information in the following highlighted paragraph from the history book.

"In the (1870s) Thomas Walker operated brick and lime kilns at Barcelona. At the former two horses were hitched to a sweep which they turned to mix the clay. Limestone was brought from Kelley's Island about 275 miles up the lake, burned in the brick kilns, and used to make plaster. There was also a plaster mill near Barcelona on the east side of West Portage Street (our present Oak Street) and just south of where the street crosses Chautauqua Creek."

Article Photos

Submitted photo
Pictured is a section of the Town of Westfield map from the 1867 Chautauqua County Atlas including the Village of Westfield and the hamlet of Barcelona.

The Barcelona map from the 1867 Chautauqua County Atlas clearly shows the plaster mill on Chautauqua Creek next to West Portage St. It is true that in 1867 our present Oak Street was called West Portage Street, but the 1867 map of the Town of Westfield shows the Oak Street section of West Portage junctions North Gale Street just south of the Buffalo and Erie railroad. So the portion of West Portage Street in Barcelona is our present North Gale Street.

Another interesting thing to note regarding the differences between our current streets and roads and those on the 1867 maps is our present Lake Road or Route 5 through Barcelona and the western part of the Town of Westfield is identified as Fourth Street on the 1867 Map, which ends where it turns south as West Portage Street, or our present North Gale Street. To continue west on the Lake Road in 1867, you would follow West Portage south to where it junctions Hawley Street, and then turn right and go west-northwest on Hawley Street to where it ends and turns west as the Lake Road again. The "missing" section of the Lake Road between North Gale and Hawley was not constructed until the 1930s.

Fact Box

The office of the Westfield Historian is located at 117 Union Street, in the small green building on the north side of driveway. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 to 11 a.m., or by appointment. The Westfield Historian phone number is 326-2457, and the email mail address is westfieldhistorian@fairpoint.net.

 
 

 

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