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This post is the first in an occasional series about the men and women who played important roles in Buffalo’s early history. Ever wonder why the name “Ellicott” seems to pop up all around Western New York? Buildings, businesses, streets and even municipalities contain the name. The answer lies in Buffalo’s earliest days as an American settlement. Joseph Ellicott…

Attractions

The Hotel @ the Lafayette is at the heart of downtown. You could say it is the heart of downtown. Because as Buffalo goes, so does this hotel. When it opened in 1904 as the Lafayette Hotel, Buffalo was the eighth-wealthiest city in the country. A century later, things weren't looking so good. The grand hotel in the heart of downtown had fallen on tough times. You …

History

This post is the first in an occasional series examining the history of the names of Buffalo’s streets. South Park Avenue is one of Western New York’s major thoroughfares, beginning at the foot of Main Street behind KeyBank Center in downtown Buffalo and ending when it enters the Village of Hamburg and becomes Buffalo Street. For most of its length, South Park carries U…

Buffalo

Fire Wednesday destroyed a pre-Civil War building that was to become part of a new attraction in the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor. The two-story federal-style brick building at 68 Sycamore St. was to have been restored as an African-American art gallery with artist work spaces. Developer Rocco Termini, who bought the building in July, planned to co…

History

Although it happened 34 years ago, it is a tragedy still remembered frequently in local fire and police companies. On Dec. 27, 1983, six people — five of whom were Buffalo firefighters — were killed after a propane explosion at the Chimera Radiator Co. on North Division Street on the city's East Side. More than 70 people were injured, and the fire damaged more than t…

Buffalo

The state Board for Historic Preservation has recommended adding four Western New York properties to both the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Recommended were: Ingleside Home in Buffalo, a 1929 Colonial Revival building where social and psychological counseling services and health care was provided to women until 1976. Niagara Machine & Tool…

History

“MERRIE CHRISTMAS,” read one of the headlines across the top of The Buffalo Evening News on Dec. 24, 1881, in one of the first years of the newspaper’s publication. “The Christmas festival will cover two days this year,” the text under the headline reads. “The legal holiday to be observed by the banks, public offices and probably by most business houses, will not occur …

Featured

Imagine: It’s the mid-1930s in Buffalo. You need to get across town, and you don’t have a car — but that’s no big deal. The city’s expansive electric streetcar system would be able to get you nearly anywhere. A map published in 1935 showing all the possible connections bears more of a resemblance to a New York City subway map than the current map of the Metro Rail, whos…

Columns

It was not the destination a kid from Olcott expected. David Donovan is a longtime resident of the island of Vieques, part of Puerto Rico. Before he enlisted in the Navy, more than 40 years ago, Donovan's longest journey beyond Western New York was to Toronto. Things turned out in a way he could not envision. For that, Donovan credits the Navy — and the absolute symbol …

Attractions

Rushing about our everyday business, we sometimes miss the treasures that hide in plain sight. One wintry day a couple of years ago reminded me of that. I had been at a lunch meeting with a colleague from Amherst. The wind and sleet had kicked in. "Let's cut through the Ellicott Square Building," I suggested. And in we went -- beneath the carved entranceway, throu…

History

Is the Rochester area part of Western New York? The debate may not be settled today, but in 1860, author J.H. French used the term “Western New York” to refer to Rochester and its surrounding area in his comprehensive “Historical and Statistical Gazetteer of New York State.” And for good reason – Rochester’s and Buffalo’s economic and cultural fortunes have been tied…

History

In Buffalo’s early history, the city was actually a part of Niagara County. Buffalo was formed as a town in 1810 and incorporated as a village in 1813, but it wasn’t until April of 1821 that Erie County was carved out of Niagara County, according to the book “Historical and Statistical Gazetteer of New York State.” (Buffalo later incorporated as a city in 1832.) In t…

Buffalo

Some day in the not too distant future, the Western New York Railway Historical Society envisions its refurbished passenger cars disgorging hundreds of tourists at a burgeoning museum on Lee Street near Solar City. But first it needed some basics — like railroad tracks. The museum volunteers got what they needed Friday, a new partial siding along with the first four …

History

The stretch of downtown Buffalo around its harbor and along Lake Erie was once considered “an irreclaimable morass" – low-lying and swampy. But the same area nevertheless became “densely covered with substantial warehouses and large stores, intermingled with factories, foundries, mechanics’ shops and dwellings,” helping the city become “the largest and most important (c…

Local News

Daemen College's roots can be traced back to one building. The Rosary Hall mansion on the private college's Main Street campus in Amherst was purchased in 1948 by the Sisters of St. Francis and became the Rosary Hill College for women, now Daemen. "Everything went on there," said Michael Brogan, Daemen's vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college. "T…