Little Giant Arrives

December 11, 2012 Updated Dec 11, 2012 at 8:20 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Jaclyn Asztalos

December 11, 2012 Updated Dec 11, 2012 at 8:20 AM EDT

North Tonawanda, N.Y. (WKBW) - It's called the Little Giant but it took a lot of effort to get the beast of a boat through the doors of the North Tonawanda History Museum.

"The end result of nine months of planning to accept into our collect a 1935 Richardson Boat Company Little Giant Cruiser," Museum Executive Director Donna Zellner Neal said.

Richardson Boat Company was the anchor of the community for years. The company thrived in a time when North Tonawanda and Western New York focused mainly on industry.

"Try to promote the history of Richardson Boat Company around here. It was great employer, great company, that's why we put this together," Business Owner Tom Frauenheim said.

This boat is added to the hundreds of thousands of items here at the museum a collection that helps to bring North Tonawanda's history to life.

"There is so much history that is special and we thought we needed a museum so people other than us can know that," Zellner Neal said.

The community has been working on this museum for nine years and it's still very much in progress. William Bauza's family history in the town goes way back. He even has a special connection to the Little Giant.

"I learned that one of my relatives worked for Richardson Boat. He was a master caulker. We've got some pictures of him on the wall," Bauza said.

Bauza said keeping the history alive at the museum means a lot to, not only him, but also his family and the entire community.

"It is the lasting legacy of family members who put their love into North Tonawanda," Bauza said.

Keeping up a museum like this isn't easy or cheap. Museum organizers have $35,000 in the bank but still are working on raising about much more.

"Right now we have a campaign going on to raise $200,000 to get us out from under the mortgage and then we will go for grants," Zellner Neal said.

They hope to renovate the museum and preserve the priceless pieces of history stored there with the money they receive.