Look Up, Buffalo! A Walking Tour of Buffalo, New York
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. This walking tour of Buffalo, New York from is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes historical, architectural landmarks, cultural sites and ecclesiastic touchstones and provides step-by-step directions. More
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a downloadable walking tour is ready to explore when you are.
Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.
Governor De Witt Clinton traveled through the wilderness of western New York in 1822 to chair a meeting that promised long-range ramifications. The digging of “Clinton’s Ditch,” the Erie Canal, had begun five years earlier and would soon reach its western conclusion. But where? There were two contenders. One was Black Rock, on the Niagara River, and the other was a small village two miles further south that had only been incorporated in 1816. It was originally called New Amsterdam but the residents preferred to call it Buffalo after the small creek that poured into Lake Erie. Black Rock had the better harbor but the Buffalo Harbor Company was working hard to overcome that by borrowing $12,000 and constructing a new breakwater. At the meeting Judge Samuel Wilkinson successfully advanced the case for Buffalo and the little village was awarded the coveted prize. Buffalo became a great city and Black Rock disappeared.
As the continent’s major hub of east-west trade, Buffalo grew rapidly. Manufacturing followed commerce and by 1850 the city was speckled with iron works, foundries and plants churning out mirrors, picture frames, porcelain bathtubs, millstones, soap and candles. At that time, the coming of the railroads threatened to siphon business away from the Erie Canal but city leaders need not have worried. The city soon was being served by eleven main railroad lines as Buffalo grew into the second largest railroad center in America.
By 1900, Buffalo claimed more millionaires per capita than any other city in America. Only 96 years after the first streets were laid out in the village, more than 350,000 people called Buffalo home. Those streets were created in a spoke-like radial plan by Joseph Ellicott, the surveyor for the Holland Land Company who mimicked those of Washington D.C., which his brother Major Andrew Ellicott had helped draw up several years before. Frederick Law Olmsted, America’s greatest landscape architect, called Buffalo “the best planned city as to its streets, public places, and grounds in the United States, if not the world.”
Our walking tour to explore those streets will begin at the hub of those spokes but there is nothing there today that Frederick Law Olmsted would recognize...