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Arts & Culture

LaSalle library's past proves useful as 'Marshall' filming commences

It's currently a satellite location within the Niagara Falls Public Library System. But the LaSalle Branch is proving to be a useful setting for makers of the film Marshall, and for more than just library space.

Crews began work Monday morning at the LaSalle Branch, located at Buffalo Avenue and 87th Street on the film portraying a case early in the career of Thurgood Marshall, who would later go on to become the first African-American justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

While the scenes being shot were inside the brick building, a block of 87th Street was closed to traffic as large trailers, heavy equipment, lighting and other gear were staged in the read parking lot. Also seen from a distance were two vintage cars that were used in scenes.

A century ago, before LaSalle was annexed by the City of Niagara Falls, the building now serving as a library had a different purpose. Remnants from that era are still inside the building, and are why producers of the film chose to shoot scenes there.

"This building in LaSalle used to be the courthouse and jail," explained acting Niagara Falls Public Library director Jennifer Potter. "There's jail cells in the back that they were interested in using and are using right now."

Some library space is also proving useful. Potter explained that the older woodwork and the overall looks of rooms were also appealing.

The library remains open for the duration of the filming, but Potter advised that some spaces will be closed to the public.

Many nearby reisdents curiously looked on at the activity outside the library. It's not every day, after all, that a Hollywood production comes to the neighborhood.

Angie Caraballo watched with her 4-year-old daughter, Mia.

"It's just awesome," Caraballo said. "Just to have her able to see it, too. She's only four. She's having a blast."

Library officials are also enjoying the opportunity for some bragging rights. 

"It's wonderful publicity for us," Potter said. "We're so excited for Niagara Falls and for our library to have this level of production going on here. Just a wonderful film about a historical hero. We're very pleased it's happening at our library."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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