Buffalo, the second largest city in New York after New York City, is one of the world’s great ports. Its importance rests on its canal connections to Albany and New York City, and through the Saint Lawrence Seaway to the north Atlantic. Its location at the southern end of the Niagara River also gives it access to the upper Great Lakes.
French trappers and Jesuit missionaries were probably the first white people to visit the future site of Buffalo. In 1679, La Salle built his ship, the Griffon, near the mouth of Cayuga Creek and constructed Fort Conti at the mouth of the Niagara. In 1784, the first white settlers arrived. At that time, Buffalo was still contained within the Phelps-Gorham purchase. Dutch investors, acting through the Holland Land Company, obtained the land in 1797 as part of the Holland purchase. They selected the name New Amsterdam, but the settlers insisted on, which was the name adopted when the city was incorporated as a town in 1810.
During the War of 1812, the scene of considerable military activity. In November 1812, American troops attacked Fort Erie on the Canadian side. A British force crossed into New York on July 11, 1813, and fought a skirmish within the present limits of Buffalo. Around New Year’s Day, 1814, British, Canadian, and Indian forces attacked Buffalo and burned most of the town in retaliation for similar forays by Americans into Canada.
Following the war, development in Buffalo was rapid. The first Great Lakes steamship, Walk-on-the-Water, was built in Buffalo in 1819. Growth was even more rapid after completion of the Erie Canal in 1825. Buffalo was incorporated as a city in 1825.
Buffalo Mayor Grover Cleveland was elected governor of New York in 1882 and subsequently president of the United States. At the Pan-American exposition of 1901, President William McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist, Leon Czolgosz. Teddy Roosevelt was sworn in as the next president at the mansion of his friend, Ansley Wilcox, which is now the Theodore Roosevelt National Historic Site. The revolver used to shoot McKinley is on display at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society Museum.
f the first couple days of the new year are any indication, 2019 is going to be a great one.
Three publications recently named Buffalo as their favorite places visited in 2018 and top travel destinations of 2019. They cited the city’s architecture, delicious regional foods, welcoming attitude and revitalized waterfront and neighborhoods as reasons to make the trek. The stories build off a record year in 2018 of media coverage about our city, including coverage in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Sunday Times of London.
“In addition to being just 30 minutes from Niagara Falls, city is in the middle of a revitalization worth seeing for yourself,” writer Jamie Ditaranto explained in SmarterTravel’s “10 Best U.S. Cities to Visit in 2019” article.
Meanwhile, Julia Buckley, a Buffalo fan from across the pond, had her love for the city grow in 2018. “And then there’s Buffalo in New York State – a place that cast its spell on me so thoroughly that I went twice this year, two months apart. I fell for Buffalo the first time I came, in 2010; fell harder on a return visit in 2015; but now I’ve seen it in different seasons, and got to know it better, I’m completely sold,” Buckley stated in an iNews piece.
Matt Meltzer enthusiastically expressed his fondness for Buffalo in Thrillist and The Globe & Mail in 2018. Now, as a senior staff writer for Matador Network, Meltzer continues his love affair in a recent article by stating, “This rust-belt city written off for dead half a decade ago was hands down the most fun I’ve had traveling solo anywhere, whether it was ziplining between old grain silos at Riverworks, scarfing wings along the historic Buffalo Wing Trail, or staying out way later than I should at the venerable Old Pink”.
As 2019 might just be the year of the Buff it’s the perfect time to experience it for yourself!
Whether you think you already know Buffalo or not, it’s always going to surprise you. There’s amazing architecture, incredible art, delicious food, natural beauty, and some of the nicest people anywhere. And that’s true, I guess. But I’ll bet you anything if you come and check it out, you’re going to love Buffalo just as much as I do.
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