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Lackawanna High School seniors aid in preserving Lackawanna‘s history

By: The Lackawanna Historical Association

Students with historical artifacts

Above: Pictured are Lackawanna High School seniors, who assisted cataloging World War I and World War II artifacts. Clockwise, from front-left: Ahmed Alawdi, Mohammed Saeed Ali, Haris Bekric and Fatimah Salman. Missing: Ghaith Fayed-Ahmed Ali and Tahani Mutia Futeh.

As part of their community service requirement for the participation in government class at Lackawanna High School, several seniors volunteered to catalog materials from World War I and World War II that were donated to the Lackawanna Historical Association by Commander Paul (Doc) Strycharz and Archivist Mike Duggan of the American Legion Post #63.

Thought to be the oldest American Legion Post in Erie County, it is located at 144 Kirby Ave. It received its charter in 1919 and was formerly at the site of Memorial Hall on Ridge Road. The first commander was Captain C. Hamilton Cook.

James Schichtel, a trustee from the Lackawanna Historical Association, had initially contacted the Post to see if they had any information such as photos or histories of World War I veterans from Lackawanna for a centennial display. Once the materials were donated, the Association realized that they would need help inventorying and cataloging the donation. Trustee Sandra Falsioni, a retired Lackawanna teacher and a former Teacher Center director, suggested contacting the Social Studies Department at the Lackawanna High School. Including the students in the process turned out to be the icing on the cake.

Under the guidance of their teacher, the students’ goal was to organize and inventory the artifacts so that they might be used in displays celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I. The role that more than 500 Lackawanna citizens played in “The War to End All Wars” will figure prominently in the exhibits. Some of the artifacts were original copies of newspapers from the era and were too brittle to handle. Artifacts such as those have been stabilized in packaging and will be turned over to professional curators so as to not damage the rare periodicals. Other items include photographs from the time period and news clippings documenting the activities of American Legion Post #63. The students had the opportunity to examine first-hand artifacts pertaining to world and local history.

The Lackawanna Historical Association is grateful to Post #63 for its donation and to the students and teacher for the outstanding job they did cataloging the artifacts.

If you have any artifacts from World War I and/or World War II or information about Lackawanna citizens or relatives who served, contact the historical association by emailing lackawannahistorical@gmail.com. Items will be returned.

Please write "Veterans" in the email's subject line.

Historical photo of Captain Hamilton

Above: A photo of Captain Hamilton, the first commander of Post 63.

Historical newspaper

Above: A newspaper clipping announcing the end of the war.