Weekly Feature



2018-07-11 / Local News

Snyder walking tour rekindles past

by ALYSSA CURTIS Intern


Julianna Woite, shown at right, starts the Snyder Walking Tour on Saturday at Amherst High School, which began construction on Christmas Eve 1929 during the Depression. The tour was part of the Town of Amherst bicentennial calendar of events. 
Photo by Jim SmerecakPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Julianna Woite, shown at right, starts the Snyder Walking Tour on Saturday at Amherst High School, which began construction on Christmas Eve 1929 during the Depression. The tour was part of the Town of Amherst bicentennial calendar of events. Photo by Jim SmerecakPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com As residents of Snyder pass by familiar landmarks such as Amherst Central High School, Bomi Jewelers and Denny’s, they rarely think of the history that occurred right under their feet.

Julianna Woite led the Snyder History Walking Tour on Saturday and uncovered the past — the history of a small neighborhood called Snyder.

It began with the sound of high school band instructor Craig Incontro and members of the band. The sun was shining, and people were mingling and chatting.

Under the shade of Amherst Central High School, a group of about 40 to 60 people eagerly awaited the beginning of the tour.

Though Woite used in a portable speaker, she didn’t want the story to come solely from her microphone. Instead, she urged the crowd to download or print pictures that she had uploaded online.

These historical photos portrayed Snyder as it used to be. The crowd was able to compare the pictures to the sites right in front of them — how Snyder is now.

The juxtaposition of the old photographs with the existing locations was surreal.

As members of the group left the front of the high school, they walked along the Main Street sidewalk until they reached Denny’s. Woite explained that the entire distance they had just walked had been owned by one of the first residents of Snyder: Timothy Hopkins.

As the tour continued with occasional murmurs of “so cool,” “interesting” and “unbelievable,” Woite led the group to the Snyder Fire Department. While the group enjoyed the air conditioning in the building, Past Chief Tom Merrill spoke about the history of the volunteer organization.

He explained that from its humble beginnings to today’s department, the organization has helped extinguish fires and keep the community safe, and has also helped unite the community.

After Merrill’s talk, the group crossed Main Street and stopped in front of Bomi Jewelers. Though it is a commercial property now, it has previously been a residence and housed members of the Snyder family. Woite recalls stories of the trolley that ran in front of the property, as told by her grandmother, Beulah Snyder.

Stopping intermittently for glimpses of the past, the group ended the tour at the old gatehouse property on the northwest corner of Main and Getzville Road. After being invited in by the owners of the property, the group could see the transformation of the past into the present.

“It’s been interesting enhancing the knowledge of the cultural, business and educational traditions of Amherst back to its roots. … Julianna gave a fantastic historical timeline of Snyder,” said Janet Battaglia after the tour.

With technological advances and architectural changes, Snyder is ever evolving. Yet it’s possible to see remnants of the past if one only knows where to look.

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