The location of this 1877 photograph may seem foreign to you at first glance, but careful scrutiny will make the location all the more obvious. For example, in the center of the picture is one of Buffalo's longest standing landmarks; the lighthouse at the entrance to the Buffalo Harbor at the Erie Basin. The light dates back to 1833.
This gorgeous shot is looking down Erie Street toward the Erie Canal. The long building with the tall masts of lake vessels behind it is the old Erie Street Railroad Station belonging to the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad, though by the time the photograph was taken, the building was used by the New York Central railroad for passengers to Niagara Falls. The Erie Canal would be on the camera's side of the station.
Look very carefully and you can see the structure of the bridge that carried Erie Street over the canal. Parts of the concrete railings still exist today at the corner of Erie and Bingham Streets. Three grain elevators can be seen just in the viewing area of this photograph alone. This gives you a good indication of just how important a grain and shipping center Buffalo was. Lower Terrace is the street that bisects Erie Street to the left of the picture.
Can you figure out where the photograph was taken? Well, the railroad station is obviously gone; the property now being occupied by a parking lot for a business complex. The area that was once the Erie Canal was filled in during the 1930's and is now the site of the 190 overpass bridgework. The building that says "Colie & Cos Planing Mill" and the land it sits on are now occupied by the parking lot for WNED TV. So where was the picture taken?
For those of you who guessed that the photograph was taken from the bell tower of St. Joseph's Cathedral, you were absolutely correct!
Photograph courtesy of the Pond Collection, Lower Lakes Marine Historical Society.