On this webpage are some images of
various scenes in the town of Panama, in Western New
York, near Christmas time. The photos span three
generations of my family's photo albums, dating back to
the turn of the century.
The photo above of the Baptist Church
was taken at Christmas time when my great grandfather,
William A. Howes, was minister of the church. At that
time my grandmother, Grace Anderson, was attending the
church and was attracted to at least two of the
minister's four sons. She was courted first by Roy, but
later married William J. Howes.
August Anderson's home on North Street circa
She was the daughter of August
Anderson and at that time lived in the house he built
just above the town line on North Street (Route 33).
After a life traveling and teaching, the Howes' retired
to a house that they bought in 1933 on Wiltsie Road,
adjacent to the Anderson's farm. In August Anderson's
days Wiltsie Road continued east all the way to North
Street. My wife and I live there now.
William & Grace Howes' home on Wiltsie Road
Panama, with its lake effect snow, has
always been picturesque at Christmas time. When the snow
has turned to brown slush in Jamestown, you can almost
always come home to the hills of Panama and find a fresh
dusting, if not a blanket, draped over the ground and
tree boughs. Below is a picture of what we always called
Baker's Place on School Street (now owned by Carl Olsen).
It's just down the hill from our house on
Baker's farmhouse on School Street after the plow
A life long resident of Panama, Norm
Button, visited my office as I was assembling these
photos and saw for the first time the bridge over the old
Mill Pond spillway (now Route 474).
Route 474 Bridge at Panama Mill Pond circa
He remembered that his
great-grandfather, on his father's side, had been killed
constructing the bridge in 1911. This jogged my memory
about a photo I had seen that Fred L. Yagear had taken of
a construction accident involving a collapsed stone
Millpond Bridge Construction Accident
Sure enough, in my grandmother's photo
album was a reproduction of that photo. Between us we
realized we had glimpsed into an event, 85 years old,
that Norm had only heard about.
Panama storefronts at site of current Post Office
Norm Button can also tell you about
the stores pictured here. He remembers who lived upstairs
before the buildings came down. Ask him; it might be part
of a life story you're connected to.
Editor's note: All the private
homes shown in this article are still standing and look
much like they do in these photos.