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Get your passport to Erie County history

Historians from around Erie County have come together to produce a passport that helps you celebrate the county's bicentennial.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Every week we highlight a bit of unusual, or little-known history with our Unknown Stories of WNY series, this week we are taking a bit of a different approach and introducing you to a program that will help you discover your own "Unknowns." It is a passport, launched by Erie County to celebrate 200 years of history. The Erie County Heritage Passport features every town and village historical society, along with points of interest in the specific communities.

Buffalo History Museum Executive Director Melissa Brown says it is good timing because with the pandemic, many people have turned to exploring their own community. 

"When is there more perfect time to appreciate what's in your own backyard and get out and explore these community gems," Brown said.

Brown adds that this is not only a celebration of Erie County's Bicentennial, it is also a collaboration of the communities that make Erie County what it is. 

"It was developed by a team of volunteers to really get people more aware about the historic resources that are in our community discovering our community through our past and getting out and it," Brown said.

Newstead Historical Society President Pat Pearce says it has also been a great opportunity for historians to see what other communities have to offer. 

"In the passport there are so many other towns and little treasures around Western New York that I didn't even know about," Pearce said.

The passports can be downloaded from the Erie County website, or you can pick up your own booklet at any of the 37 branches of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system.