Buffalo, New York is the eighth largest city in the United States. The actual population, according to the 1900 census, was 352,387 people, but folks like to round the number off to 400,000 because they say it sounds better and makes up for errors in the census. The situation of the city is at the eastern end of Lake Erie, where the waters break into a run for Ontario by way of Grand Island and Niagara Falls. Buffalo plays short stop for the winds of the lake, which temper the summer climate to such an extent as to make it one of the most delightful summer cities in the world.

Some Features of Buffalo.
The limits of Buffalo contain 42 square miles, or about 25,000 acres, and the city is approximately five miles wide and eight miles long. Here and there it has spread beyond its boundaries. No city ever had a more favorable site. It is upon a great plain, where there is abundant room to grow without serious crowding, and there are no hills to interfere with traffic.

While some parts of Buffalo are closely built, the outlying sections have shady streets and bright lawns, and the color of flowers is everywhere to be seen. The city is one of the most healthful, having an abundant supply of pure water from Lake Erie, and some 225 miles of smooth asphalt pavement, which is recognized as having a sanitary value in making unnecessary and unlikely the accumulation of matter deleterious to health.

The city was founded by Joseph Ellicott, agent of the Holland Land Company, in 1801, and the Pan-American Exposition is in part a celebration of the centennial of that most interesting event. The place became a military post in 1812, and was burned by the British in 1813. It was rebuilt at the close of the war and was chartered as a city in 1832. The city has a frontage of about 8 miles upon Lake Erie and the Niagara River, and a great harbor is formed by a new breakwater recently built by the United States Government at a cost of $4,000,000. Buffalo Creek and its branches form an extensive inner harbor, upon which the great elevators, ship and lumber yards, coal trestles, ore docks and other paraphernalia of marine commerce have been constructed at the cost of many millions of dollars.

One may have a glimpse of the harbor activity by going to the foot of Main Street. The city has more than 1,000 acres of beautiful parks connected by parkways and broad avenues, forming a complete system and affording more than 25 miles of park driveways.

Prominent Buildings.
The principal large buildings of the city are: The New Federal Building, costing $2,500,000;

City and County Hall
, costing and equal amount; the 74th Regiment Armory, costing $750,000; Ellicott Square, the largest office building in the world, built upon the site of the home of Joseph Ellicott, founder of the city, costing $3,350,000; the Guaranty Building, the D. S. Morgan Building, Erie County Savings Bank, Mutual Life Building, Mooney & Brisbane Building, Buffalo Savings Bank, Masonic Temple, Dun Building, and others. These are all in the heart of the city.

Buffalo has 60 public schools, many of them very large buildings of the finest type of school-house construction. Masten Park High School is one of the newest and noblest of these. The State Normal School, University of Buffalo, Canisius College and Buffalo Seminary are also noteworthy.

Excursions by trolley, boat and railroad.
The entire street-car system and nearly all the suburban lines are under the control of one organization, the International Traction Company. One five-cent fare pays for a ride from one point to any other point, however remote, within the city. This company has 325 miles of track and 735 cars, requiring 8,500 horse-power (most of it transmitted directly from Niagara Falls) to operate them.

Boats of the International Navigation Company make regular trips between Ferry Street, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls. A boat and rail-belt line ticket affords a trip of delightful variety. Buffalo is midway between New York and Chicago, and is generally regarded as the greatest railway center of the world. The passenger service consists of about 250 trains daily. Many important railway systems have their terminals here and their stations are situated in the heart of the downtown area. Some of the rail companies include the New York Central, at 121 Exchange Street; the Erie, at the corner of Exchange and Michigan Streets; the Lehigh Valley, at 119 Washington Street, near Scott Street; and the Grand Trunk, at 157 Erie Street, corner of the Erie Canal.

Reprinted from
The Pan-American Exposition and how to see It
by Mark Bennitt (1901)

Chief Objects of Interest in Buffalo

The New Federal Building. Dedicated in March, 1901 Swan, Ellicott, South Division and Oak Streets. One of the most magnificent structures of its kind in the United States.

Buffalo Public Library. Home of the Buffalo Historical Society, with curios, relics, art exhibits, sculptures, etc.; facing Washington Street, opposite Soldier's Monument. Cars on Main Street pass within one block; Genesee, Sycamore, Clinton and Broadway cars pass the Library.

74th Regiment Armory. Connecticut, Niagara and Prospect Streets. A wonderful building made up of brown stone with steel frame work.

"The Front". A beautiful park affording the finest view of the harbor and shipping; also the U.S. Barracks, with the magnificent Drill Plaza, are located very near the Armory.

Water Works. Eight great pumping engines, (30,000,000) gallons daily). Massachusetts and Front Avenues; one of the best in the United States.

Buffalo Zoological Garden. (The Zoo) in Delaware Park, reached by Main and Jefferson St. cars marked "Zoo". About a half mile from the Pan-American. A fine and extensive collection of animals, birds and reptiles.

Botanical Gardens -- South Park. In the south-west portion of the city. Take Seneca. St. car for Bailey Ave. and South Park.

Forest Lawn Cemetery. Reached by all Main and Jefferson Street cars. The finest residence street in the city is Delaware Avenue. No street car lines run on this street. To get a good idea of the residence and business portions of Buffalo by carriage ride, follow approximately this route: Main Street from Seneca, passing Ellicott Square building, Iroquois Hotel, Soldier's Monument to Tupper, to Delaware Avenue, out to Lincoln Parkway, back to Richmond, to Vermont, passing 74th Regiment Armory, to the Front, Porter Avenue. Take Niagara Street to Niagara Square, passing Castle Inn, former home of President Millard Fillmore, to Main Street. This trip can be extended by a drive around the Park Meadow from Delaware Avenue, and through Forest Lawn Cemetery. Other pleasant streets for a portion of the drive are West Ferry and North Streets.

Humboldt Park-Way. Reached by Genesse Street and East Utica Street car line. A pleasant park on the East Side, with a wading pond, Water-plants, and shady trees. Humboldt Parkway runs from this park to Delaware Park, past the speedway, a drive of two miles. Excursion Docks, from which all lake and river excursions start, are at, or near the foot of Main Street. Take any car going downtown and transfer. Some of the lake steamers which may be visited here are veritable palaces, and about as interesting to the visitor as a full-sized ocean liner. Pleasant excursions from Buffalo by water, are to Port Colborne, Coney Island, Crystal Beach, Elmwood Beach, down the Niagara River to the Falls, and Chatauqua.

Rowing and Row Boats. The most accessible place for pleasure rowing is the Niagara River. Boats are found and may be rented twenty-five cents per hour, at the foot of Porter Avenue, Ferry Street, Amherst Street, or Hertel Avenue. For such as are not good oarsmen, we would recommend the Buffalo harbor as perfectly safe.

Buffalo Bicycle Regulations.

Must carry bell on handle bar. Speed limited to ten miles per hour -- no fancy riding. No sidewalk riding. Must not obstruct the street or sidewalk. Don't ride more than two abreast.

Reprinted from
The Pan-American Up to Date: The Latest and Best of all the Guide Books.

Why Buffalo?

When the Pan-American Exposition Company was formed in 1897, there was some concern amongst the Board Of Directors as to where the Exposition should be held. At first, Cayuga Island was chosen as the place to hold the Exposition because of the island's close proximity to Niagara Falls, which was a huge tourist attraction at that time. But when the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, all plans were put on the back burner.

After the war, when the interest in the Exposition began to pick up, there was a heavy rivalry between Buffalo and Niagara Falls over the location. Buffalo eventually won out for several reasons. First, Buffalo had a much larger population -- roughly 350,000 people, and second, Buffalo had an extensive railroad system that put the city within a day's journey of 40 million people. In July of 1898, Congress pledged $500,000 for the Exposition to be held at Buffalo. Now that the Board of Directors had the town, they now needed the site on which to build the Exposition. The final site they chose was the Rumsey property; together with a portion of Delaware Park. When completed, the site would occupy 350 acres -- north to south would be framed by the New York Central Belt Line and Delaware Park, and east to west would be framed by Delaware Avenue and Elmwood Avenue. Delaware Park Lake would be one of the attractions at the fair.

This location proved to be a fantastic plus for bringing crowds to the Exposition. Trolley lines extended along three sides of the grounds, and for five cents one could ride to the fair from any point in the city. The ride was only 20 minutes from downtown. All trains would come up the belt line and stop right at the Exposition's northern boundary. The directors even planned a railroad exhibit at the station stop.

In 1899, ground was broken and the tremendous job of creating the Pan-American Exposition was under way.

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This page was updated December 14, 1998 --
Aaron T. Heverin
Beautiful Buffalo
and some of Her claims to distinction.