The Tower and its Memories

The Tonawanda Castle’s tower is undeniably a majestic feat of construction.  Erected in 1897, the red-mason brick turret rises to a height of 102 feet and still reigns over Delaware Street with unmistakable distinction 112 years later.

But the stories related to this turret are what endears this landmark into the hearts of many Tonawandians.  Already chronicled in the Buffalo News (,  Alice Weber told us how, as a 15 year old girl during WWII, she and a girlfriend climbed to the top of the tower to record the planes that passed overhead.  They were volunteers who spent a few hours of their summer afternoons monitoring the sky.  “We were young people,” Weber said. “So it couldn’t have been that serious.” She fondly recalled the lunches and candy the girls would carry up to the top of the tower to hold them over during their shift. “That was the fun of it,” Weber said. “Carrying [our food] all the way up there.”

Joyce’s memory of the tower is no less heartfelt. She e-mailed us her story from New Jersey having moved away from Tonawanda years ago. Her entire memory is reproduced in a post below.  But, in short, Joyce’s boyfriend – a Guardsmen – helped her fulfill a lifelong dream in the late 1950s by taking her up into the tower so she could “look out from the “tower” over the little City of Tonawanda, as the snow fell and Delaware Street glistened below.”

And although I never did receive confirmation as to whether anyone ever practiced repelling down the turret (…turret-stories/), these two women’s memories far surpassed any of our expectations.

The tower that provided such wonderful memories

**Thank you to everyone who shared their stories with our staff this past Sunday at out “Day of Memories” event.  Keep checking back for more unique stories of this historic building.


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