On the eastern shore of Lake Erie lies the city of Buffalo, which is the second largest city and the most populous in the American state of New York. For the visitor, not only the city itself is interesting, but also its surroundings – after all, only 27 kilometers from it is one of the greatest natural attractions in America – Niagara Falls.
According to existingcountries, Buffalo grew up in western New York state, right on the border with Canada. Canada’s largest city, Toronto, is only 95 km northwest of Buffalo. Buffalo, with a population of around 280,000, is today the seat of Erie County. The area was inhabited by the Seneca tribe before the arrival of Europeans. The history of the city dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. It was founded in 1804 and was subsequently built according to the design of the chief executive of the Holland Land Company, Joseph Ellicott. He decided to build a radial network of streets in the city, which will start from the center of the city. To this day, these streets are a hallmark of Buffalo. The city received a big blow in 1812, when it was burned down by British troops. However, Buffalo was subsequently rebuilt.
Trading one poem
An important date in the history of the city was November 4, 1825, when the Erie Canal was inaugurated, which enabled the development of transport and, therefore, trade. Buffalo was now in a very strategic location – not only was the area growing in importance, but the population was also increasing. In 1832, around 10,000 people lived in Buffalo, so it was officially declared a city.
What about the bison?
There are several versions of how Buffalo got its name. According to one of them, it is a corruption of the French expression beau fleuve, or “beautiful river”. However, in fact, French explorers referred to the Niagara River, near which the city is located, as Rivière aux Chevaux, which means “Horse River”. According to another theory, the city was named after the bison – the English “buffalo”. But the question remains, why would that be? Bison were never found in the area. So the name may have ultimately been derived from the nearby Buffalo Creek, which was first recorded on maps in 1759.
A port was established in Buffalo, which flourished in the 1840s. In 1843, for example, the first steam-powered grain elevator was constructed there. This ingenious contraption facilitated and speeded up the transshipment of grain from ships arriving on the lake to ships sailing through the canal, or later to the railway. A significant year for the city was 1861, on February 16, the then US President Abraham Lincoln stopped in Buffalo on his inaugural trip. During the Civil War, Buffalo’s population continued to grow; in 1865, around 94,000 people lived here. Among them was a large African-American community involved in the abolitionist movement seeking to abolish slavery and the slave trade. Buffalo was then on the Union side and contributed to the Civil War not only by sending soldiers, but also by producing war material.
City of lights
In 1881, Buffalo was the first American city to have street lighting. This earned it the nickname “The City of Lights”. This privilege was given to Buffalo because electric power was produced from the water power provided by the Niagara River. The automobile industry also flourished in the city, and in 1901 the important Pan-American Exposition (Pan-American Exposition) was held here, the aim of which was to show the world the contemporary state-of-the-art of American technology, industry, agriculture, transport and trade. In the 20s of the last century, there was a great urban development of the city. In 1927, for example, the Peace Bridge was built connecting the American Buffalo with the Canadian Fort Erie located on the other shore of Lake Erie. In 1929, the main station known as Buffalo Central Terminal was completed.
Ups and downs
The World War II period was a period of prosperity for Buffalo, as the city had a purely industrial character. However, as soon as the St. Lawrence Canal was opened in 1957, the city’s economy declined sharply. Thus, a period of deindustrialization began, when there was a decrease in employment, production and exports of industrial products, resulting in permanent trade deficits in this sector. The bad economic situation was also reflected in the decline of the population. At the beginning of the 21st century, tourism is developing, which is also supported by the construction of new hotels, the repair of monuments and the overall development of the city center. Today’s Buffalo is thus a very modern city, which also has tall skyscrapers. Its center is therefore often referred to as a miniature of New York’s Manhattan.
Buffalo is a very interesting city from a tourist point of view, as it houses a number of architecturally interesting buildings, such as the city hall from 1928. It is the tallest city hall in the entire United States of America, so no one should miss the view from the observation deck on the top floor. For art lovers, there is the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, which houses some of the best collections of modern art in the world. You can view, for example, canvases by Picasso, Matisse or Monet. Many visitors consider the area including Deleware Park and its surroundings to be the most beautiful part of Buffalo. Between this park, which is perfect for both relaxation and sports, and the city center lies the bohemian neighborhood of Allentown. In it you can see many beautiful houses, carefully maintained gardens, parks, mature trees, and excellent cafes are hidden in the alleys, restaurants and bars with live music. Various cultural events are regularly held around Elmwood Avenue. Many bars, restaurants, nightclubs and discos can also be found near Main Street, as well as most theaters and music clubs.
To Buffalo for sports and nature
Buffalo will also offer plenty of options for an active vacation. The NHL hockey team Buffalo Sabers is based here, which plays games in the modern HSBC Arena. In addition to this stadium, there is also a stadium for baseball, which is very popular in America. Water sports lovers can indulge in windsurfing and other fun activities on Lake Erie. Perhaps no tourist who visits Buffalo will not miss a visit to the nearby Niagara Falls, which are among the area’s greatest attractions. It is located 27 km outside the city and the connection between them and Buffalo is provided by a regular bus service. There are also trains that go to these world-famous waterfalls, which have two stops right in the city.
When to Buffalo?
Buffalo has a humid continental climate that is heavily influenced by the climate of the nearby Great Lakes. Winters here are usually long, lasting from mid-November to mid-March. All this time, the city can be under a snow cover. Snowstorms are not unusual either, the worst ones swept through here in 1977 and 2006. On the contrary, the summers here are very warm, Buffalo experiences some of the warmest and sunniest days during this period compared to other cities in the northeastern USA. However, thanks to Lake Erie, the climate is cooled by a light breeze, so temperatures usually do not exceed 37 °C.