In its first edition of 1900, The Buffalo Sunday News reflected on the progress and prospects of a city that was, at the time, the eighth largest in the United States. It was a city that had not yet found the boundaries of its prosperity, a city that saw only brightness on the horizon.
In the coming century, that optimism would wane. Today, the city struggles to regain a vision of the future that is not tinged by doubt and pessimism. In that light, it may be worth another look at an editorial from the past:
"Today all are practically agreed that a gain so great that many people do not know about or realize it has been accomplished. The presidents of the commercial banks say that the improvement in business is shown by the great volume of money in circulation and the increased demand for money. But the report given by the heads of the savings institutions is still more to the point, for they show the actual condition of the masses of the people of this city.
It is a fact that the savings of the industrial classes in this city during the past year were not several thousands of dollars greater than the year previous, or hundreds of thousands of dollars greater, but several millions greater! These seem like large figures, but they are true. One bank alone reports that the savings deposits this year at $2,500,000 in excess of last year's deposits. What does this show? That people are getting employment and at wages sufficiently in excess of the amount necessary for living expenses, so that they can accumulate accounts in the savings banks. Here is the true test of prosperity. No condition is so much to be dreaded as that when any large part of the population of a city or state is unable to find employment. Then it is that every industry which depends on a home market for its success suffers the most.
But Buffalo is not going to stop here. There are still several directions in which there could be improvement. The present degree of prosperity is great and is very gratifying. We are having the best times we have had since the dark days of 1893, but still better times are coming. The tide is running in the right direction and it will continue. High water mark hasn't been reached yet.
There is one cry that is heard again and again and it relates to one prime requisite if Buffalo is ever to assume the place among the cities of the United States which it should occupy. It is this:
'What Buffalo most needs is a spirit of liberality and broadmindedness among its men of money and influence. There should be a stronger disposition to induce outside concerns to locate here. There should be a greater willingness to subscribe money, if need be, to get them to come here. All feelings of smallness or selfishness should be set aside. When personal considerations are subordinated to the general good of the city, then we shall see the Greater Buffalo.' "