Chestnut Street or is it road?
Many street names around Niagara County have been a perennial source of confusion during Niagara’s two hundred years of history. One area of contention concerns Chestnut Street and Chestnut Road, both in Wilson. To make matters worse, the two streets once shared the same name.
Many years ago, the story is told, that the Wilson Fire Company, located in the village, received a cryptic call to attend to a fire “behind the church on Chestnut Street.” The fire trucks made a hasty trip to the East Wilson Church on Chestnut Street, but search as they may, there was no sign of a fire. (It didn’t take too long for the fire chief to realize that the church in question was probably the Baptist Church, located on Chestnut Street, but in the village, not the town.) When they returned to the village they discovered a grass fire was still burning behind the church. This case of mistaken identity may well be the reason that town residents sought a cure for the dilemma and began to call their street Chestnut Road instead of Chestnut Street.
To make matters worse, Chestnut Road in East Wilson was also known as Marsh Settlement Road. Another sign post listed another name of the same street as Warrens Corners-South Wilson Road. This identity crisis persisted for several decades. Residents in the area now seem to cope with the street’s newest name, Chestnut Road, but they admit that it still causes “outsiders” considerable confusion.
Douglas Farley, Director
Ann Marie Linnabery
Erie Canal Discover Center
24 Church St.
Lockport NY 14094