Governor signs off on renaming portion of 31 for Santa School founder

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 November 2020 at 2:39 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Albion Betterment Committee had this sign honoring Charles Howard erected in 2015 on Route 98 in Albion.

This photo shows Charles W. Howard with a Santa at Christmas Park in Albion. Howard operated the Park and a school for Santa Claus in Albion until his death on May 1, 1966.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed off on state legislation to name a portion of Route 31 in Albion in honor of Charles W. Howard, who ran a Santa School in Albion from 1937 until his death in 1966.

Howard also was the Santa for nearly 20 years in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. He remains a revered figure among the people who portray Santa today. The Santa School continues to operate in Howard’s name in Midland, Mich.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) and Sen. Robert Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) both are pleased with passage of their legislation which designates a portion of New York State Route 31 in the town of Albion as the “Charles W. Howard Memorial Highway.”

“Mr. Howard was known for his hard work, his love for community and his jolly spirit; he represented the best any New Yorker could hope to achieve,” Hawley said in a statement. “With this highway dedication and the committed partnership of Sen. Ortt, Western New York has finally given the man the recognition and reverence he deserves. This holiday season and  year-round, we can all learn from Charles about how to be good neighbors, how to work to spread cheer and joy and how to live life to the fullest.”

The Orleans County Legislature in August 2019, passed a resolution, urging the state to recognize Howard by naming a portion of Route 31 in his honor.

Signs proclaiming the section of Route 31 in Howard’s honor will be displayed when entering the Town of Albion – northwest corner of Transit Road from the east to the southeast corner of Wood Road from the west.