"Land of the Crabapples" ( JI-IK-DO-WAH-GAH ), named by the Seneca Native Americans referring to the apple-like fruit of the Hawthorn trees abundantly growing in the area. Cheektowaga was formed from Amherst on March 22, 1839, and on the formation of West Seneca on October 16, 1851, was reduced to its present limits—about 33 square miles (85 km2). Throughout the 19th century, it went by its original name: "Chictawauga".
Originally a rural farming area, the town was extensively developed during the post-World War II subdivision boom of the 1950s. Factories, such as the Westinghouse Electric Corporation plant on Genesee Street (since demolished) generated employment to the area for many decades. The town continues to maintain a strong blue collar presence. Cheektowaga has a large Polish-American community, much of which relocated from Buffalo's East Side, and about 39.9% of population is of Polish heritage.
In the town, there is a complex called the Garden Village Plaza. At one time this was a thriving complex full of retailers but by 2006 this had dwindled down to a few outlets including the Village Flea Market, a Dollar General and T-Birds nightclub. At this time, the plaza was acquired by Benderson Development Co for about $2 million from New York City investor Howard Drucker, who had originally asked for $5 million. This deal gained media attention   and Benderson vowed to give the location a revamp. However, since that time even more of the businesses have closed and most of the buildings are now derelict. Further talks to develop the site took place in 2010 and 2011.  
Other small plazas and malls like Como Mall and Thruway Mall were closed and turned into smaller business plazas with the growing popularity of large shopping malls. The Walden Galleria opened in 1989 in Cheektowaga, the largest mall in the Buffalo Niagara region.
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