by Connie Oswald Stofko
A lot of history — and stone — make up the landscape of the Morello Family in Lockport.
I visited the family’s gardens on the Twilight Garden Tour of Lockport in Bloom in 2019. Lockport in Bloom is scheduled to be held this year on Saturday and Sunday, July 11 and 12. Watch our Events page and the Gardens Buffalo Niagara site for more details as they become available.
The Morellos’ house on Locust Street was built in the 1880s, said Selena Truax Morello, who lives there with her husband, Chuck, and children Angelo, 11, and Bode, 9.
At the time the house was built, quarrying stone was an important industry in Lockport, said Selena’s mother, Margaret Federspiel Truax, who is the City of Lockport historian. There were six quarries in Lockport that shipped stone to the growing City of Buffalo and as far away as New York City.
At the turn of the last century, one of the quarries made bricks, too, and the streets in Lockport were paved with bricks. Willow Street is still paved with brick.
“They had to lay the bricks in just right,” Margaret said. “That’s a skill that’s lost.”
There’s a personal connection to the local stone in the Morellos’ landscape. Large rectangular blocks of stone ring a garden bed in the front yard. Those blocks came from the home of Chuck’s grandfather, who had lived across from the Erie Canal.
The Morellos acquired other stone in different ways. They bought huge slabs of of Medina sandstone from friends and used them to build their front patio. A friend lent them heavy construction equipment to move the slabs, which were four to five inches thick and weigh about 200 pounds each.
Selena designed all the garden beds in the landscape.
“Gardening is a way to have peace of mind,” she said. “I can get my hands dirty. It’s therapy; a labor of love.