The Town of Tonawanda Highway Department is committed to supplying the finest services at the lowest possible costs to its residents. We are proud of our reputation as one of the finest highway departments in Western New York.
We are responsible for providing a number of diverse services in an effort to preserve the long-range health, safety and welfare of the public at large.
We are the only Highway Department in Western New York to provide Highway, Forestry and Sanitation services and we are very proud that we can bring such extensive service.
Highway Department History
The Town of Tonawanda was incorporated in 1836 and the first meeting of the Town Board was held on April 4, 1837. At that time there was no such office as superintendent of highways. The Highway Department was run by a group of three separately elected commissioners of highways. These individuals were elected to staggered four-year terms. The first commissioners in 1837 were John Simson, William Best and William Zimmerman.
The Office of Superintendent of Highways was created in 1905. The first Town of Tonawanda superintendent of highways was Philip A. Landel. He served from January 1, 1906 to November of 1913. He was succeeded by DeWitt C. Zimmerman. Superintendent Zimmerman served from November 1913 to December 31, 1921. On January 1, 1922, Fred Ebling became superintendent of highways. He served from January 1, 1922 to December 31, 1925. The next superintendent set the record for longest term in office. His name was Henry J. DeWitt. His record term was from January 1, 1926 to December 31, 1949.
All of these men were voting members of the Town Board until January 1, 1934, when a change in state law removed them from the Town Board.
Superintendent DeWitt won election to the Office of Town Supervisor in 1949 and his department clerk, Russell G. Corrie, succeeded him on January 1, 1950. Superintendent Corrie served from January 1, 1950 to December 31, 1969. On January 1, 1970, Paul F. Babcock, who had been Corrie’s deputy, took office. He served from January 1, 1970 through February 5, 1982. Deputy Superintendent of Highways Roger D. McClean took the oath of office on March 1, 1982. Mr. McClean served until December 31,1989. In November of 1989, 23-year department employee John G. Hedges was elected to succeed the retiring Roger McClean. On January 1, 1990, Mr. Hedges was sworn in as the eighth Town of Tonawanda superintendent of highways. He was reelected in 1993, 1997 and 2001. Superintendent Hedges passed away on August 5, 2003. On August 25, 2011 the Town of Tonawanda Town Board appointed Bradley A. Rowles as Superintendent of Highways. Mr. Rowles was elected in a Special Election in 2003 and re-elected in 2005 and 2009. On March 28, 2011, Superintendent Rowles retired after a 35 year career. On March 29, 2011 at a Special Meeting of the Town Board, William E. Swanson was unanimously appointed as the 10th Superintendent of Highways in Town of Tonawanda history. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Swanson served in a variety of positions, most notably as, Supervisor of the Forestry Division. Under his supervision, the Town received National Recognition as a TreeCity by the National Arbor Day Foundation in each year since 1997 and he spearheaded the effort to create the first suburban tree farm in Western New York located in the Old Town section of the Town. Bill was first elected in 2011 and re-elected in 2013. He retired on March 13, 2017.