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Norma B. Doherty (1927-2007), Winter Sky, Undated; watercolor on paper, 36 5/8 x 29 5/8; Gift of Elizabeth A. Doherty and Richard Wolin

Norma B. Doherty (1927-2007), Winter Sky, Undated; watercolor on paper, 36 5/8 x 29 5/8; Gift of Elizabeth A. Doherty and Richard Wolin

In this painting industrial smoke stacks can be seen on a distant horizon.  Norma Doherty, a native of Niagara County might have been painting The Hooker Electrochemical Company (now OxyChem), the Tonawanda Coke Plant, or any number of other industrial sights.  All of these facilities where built in close proximity to the Niagara River.  The easy availability of fresh water, and accessible routes for shipping improved the potential for profit for these companies as they established themselves in the early 20th century.

As the decades passed, the fortunes of these industries would greatly affect the economy of the region.  By the late 20th century when this painting was made, many of the companies that inspired so many people to move to the region where in decline.  The age of industry would eventually recede, leaving room for new opportunities for more sustainable economic growth.