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Steampunk-themed scavenger hunt under way in Lockport

Brock A. Stein | 7/14/2015, 9:25 a.m.
“Superheroes of Innovation” mixes history and fiction to explore the city's history as participants gather cards at various locations around ...
Lockport Mayor Steven Streit (from left), Lockport Public Library Director Scott Pointon and Joe Vourteque, of Vourteque Entertainment, pose with a steampunk version of Abraham Lincoln outside Lockport City Hall. It's one of several displays that make up the city's Summer Art Series, which features a scavenger hunt. Courtesy of the City of Lockport

Participants in the Lockport Summer Art Series scavenger hunt can pick up a map leading them to 41 collector cards at Lockport City Hall.

Courtesy of the City of Lockport

Participants in the Lockport Summer Art Series scavenger hunt can pick up a map leading them to 41 collector cards at Lockport City Hall.

The centerpiece of this year's Lockport Summer Art series features a trip back in time to 1895 via a scavenger hunt through the city’s history -- both real and imagined.

“Superheroes of Innovation” celebrates the founders of Lockport with 41 steampunk-themed collector cards scattered around the city at local businesses and other points of interest.

The goal is to get people exploring Lockport and its history, Summer Art Series chairwoman Wendy Streit said. The hoped-for end result, she said, is people have a better appreciation for Lockport’s history and the residents who have lived there.

“We realized that we here in Lockport, with our rich history, have so many innovators,” said Streit, who said the program offers a fictional time travel story that includes real historical figures from the canal town’s history.

Scavenger hunters who gather all 41 cards will be able to read the story of the town along with the people who helped make it what it is today, she said. That story, said Streit, was being lost to subsequent generations.

“There are so few people who know about the history of the town,” she said. “We don’t want that information to die off.”

At the same time, the hunt will also introduce residents to area businesses with which they may not be familiar, she said.

The time travel story was written by Streit’s husband, Lockport Mayor Steven Streit, and local comic store owner Joe Gentile. It includes details about historical figures like Willam Gooding, the first engineer for the I&M Canal, who serves as the villain of the fictional story -- a twist that Streit calls “historical fiction.”

Dorothy Woebbeking Worst, a Lockport resident who earned seven battle stars serving as a nurse in World War II, poses with Lockport Mayor Tim Streit in front of a display depicting her experiences.

Courtesy of the City of Lockport

Dorothy Woebbeking Worst, a Lockport resident who earned seven battle stars serving as a nurse in World War II, poses with Lockport Mayor Tim Streit in front of a display depicting her experiences.

Another card features Dorothy Woebbeking Worst, a current Lockport resident who was a battle field nurse during World War II, serving in five campaigns and earning seven battle stars.

“Here’s a living woman whose seen more battle fronts than many men in World War II that we’ve met,” Streit said. “And she’s alive here to tell her story.”

Maps of the card locations are available at Lockport City Hall, 222 E. 9th St., and the White Oak Library-Lockport Branch, 121 E. 8th St.

The hunt continues until Aug. 31.

A special card, No. 41, will only be available at the Summer Art Series Pop-Up Shopping tent during a celebration weekend July 31 to Aug. 2.

In addition to the scavenger hunt, related artwork will be on display throughout the city and full-size reproductions of the card artwork can be viewed on the second floor of the Gaylord Building, 200 W. 8th St.

More information about the program can be found online at summerartseries.com.

Contact Brock A. Stein at Brocknewstips@gmail.com or on Twitter at @BrockAStein.