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Father Baker of Lackawanna, New York
Father Baker of Lackawanna, New York


 

South of Buffalo, the city of Lackawanna once boasted the world's largest steel plant. Originally known as Lackawanna Steel, it later became Bethlehem Steel. The plant closed in the early 1980s, leaving behind a desperate city. Memories of the steel plant loom large, along with memories of Father Nelson Baker, "Padre to the Poor." Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity, the organization founded by Father Baker, is thriving in a city greatly in need of charity. listen
NPR's Andrea DeLeon reports.


Utopian vision of a future apartment building from the Human Drift by King Camp Gillette
Utopian vision of a future apartment building from the Human Drift by King Camp Gillette

The natural power of Niagara Falls engendered grand dreams of how to harness its raw vitality, and put it to use for human purposes. listen


As NPR's David Kestenbaum reports, the area drew many dreamers, industrialist/utopians like King Camp Gillette and William T. Love. Facilities like the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant realized their dream of wrangling the Falls' power. But innovations by Nikola Tesla, which allowed electric power to be transported long distances, ensured that Utopia would never emerge here, along the Niagara Gorge. listen Hear the continuation of Kestenbaum's report.

NPR's Margot Adler behind Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario
NPR's Margot Adler behind Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario
 

Just across the Niagara River from each other -- Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario -- have vastly different recent histories. Niagara Falls, Ontario, has boomed thanks to Casino Niagara, family attractions, and a Vegas-style skyline. Niagara Falls, New York, has seen the continuing erosion of its industrial base, as well as the demise of small and family-owned businesses. Leaders on both sides of the border believe local politics may be at the root of the city's problems. NPR's Margot Adler has the story. listen


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