The History of Buffalo: A Chronology
Buffalo, New York
1886-1900

1664
1679
1689

1721

1722
1759
1774
1775
1780
1785
1786
1788
1789
1790
1791
1792
1793
1794
1795
1797
1798
1800
1801
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1856
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1871
1872
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1875
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1878
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1880
1881
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1884
1885
1886
1887
1888
1889
1890
1891
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1894
1895
1896
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1898
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1900
1901
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1911
1912
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1914
1915
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1918
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1920
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1922
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1925
1926
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
1965
1966 1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
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1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
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1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
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1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000

2001
2002

INDEX

SOURCES

1886

Frances Folsom was born in Buffalo in 1864. She was the daughter of Oscar Folsom, Grover Cleveland friend and law partner who dies while Frances was still young. Cleveland becomes a close family friend and helps in the upbringing of Frances.

Frances Folsom and President
Grover Cleveland are married on June 2, 1886. She is 22 years old and becomes the youngest First Lady. She is also the first White House bride.

Mrs. Cleveland proves to be an excellent White House hostess. She replaces President Cleveland's sister, Rose, who served as hostess for the first two years of his presidency. The Clevelands will have five children: three girls and two boys.



Philip Becker was the first German emigrant to be elected mayor of Buffalo, 1876-1877 and 1886-1889, and he is Buffalo's first three-term mayor.


Little known fact: African-Americans played professional baseball
in the 19th century but were forced out. Before Jackie Robinson, Buffalo had
Frank Grant
Buildings erected:

1887

The Pictorial year-book and calendar for 1888. with Buffalo events in 1887, valuable statistics, etc. Entire publication reprinted online by Cornell U.


By 1887, Buffalo is the terminal point of 11 trunk line railroads that radiate north, east, and south.


Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux design the Niagara Reservation at Niagara Falls.


Prior to the construction of the New York State Thruway, Church Street extends all the way to Genesee, where it crosses over the canal, bearing the Beltline Railroad north between the Canal and Niagara River.

This is presently the site of Exit 7, just west of the
Buffalo Gas and Light Company building facade


The original Richmond Hotel (Architect: Cyrus Eidlitz), at Main and Eagle Streets, south east corner, burns down on March 18, 1887, one of the most horrific fires in Buffalo history. It kills 15 employees and guests and severely burns two dozen others. There are heroic rescues of trapped women and children. Nearby taverns and hotels throw open their doors to become makeshift hospitals. Nevertheless, guests plunge from windows, and a survivor testifies that the screams of the victims "were something I hope to never hear again."

In the subsequent investigation, much blame falls upon Victorian high technology. The new telegraph and telephone companies had erected a dense network of overhead wires and cables that impede rescuers' access to the upper floor of the of the burning building. The City orders these wires be put in underground conduits, and the Richmond will be rebuilt, renaming itself the
Iroquois Hotel.

Presently the site of
M& T Bank.

Buildings erected:

Architect: Cyrus Eidlitz

Eidlitz's
Romanesque building will be so beloved that when it will be razed in the early 1960s for a replacement Central Library, the demolition firm will receive dozens of phone calls from Buffalonians begging them to save its gargoyles. They will not, citing extra costs.

  • Built in 1887, Tucker's store, 37-39 Court Street, supplies Buffalo's Victorian photographers with everything from cameras to chemicals. During the Pan American Exposition, it will be converted into a hotel.

Architect: M.E. Beebe

Note the , The Tucker has exotic round transom windows at the top floor a full decade before
Louis Sullivan will design similar ones in his landmark Guaranty/ Prudential Building a few blocks away.

The Tucker will be demolished to make way for the 1977 Buffalo Convention Center, a project intended to "save" downtown.


1888

The Pictorial year-book and calendar for 1888. with Buffalo events in 1887, valuable statistics, etc. Entire publication reprinted online by Cornell U.


Charles Rohlfs, classified loosely as an artist in the Arts and Crafts movement, and his wife, Anna Catherine Green, who will become one of America's most successful detective fiction writers, move to Buffalo.

International Industrial Fair: A forgotten predecessor to the Pan-American Exposition, the International Industrial Fair fair features industrial exhibits and all kinds of entertainments.

The Exposition Grounds, a parcel bordered by Humboldt Parkway, E. Ferry, Dupont, Lonsdale Street, and Northland, was originally built by
Chauncey Hamlin in 1868 as the Buffalo Driving Park - when "driving" meant carriages, not automobiles. Scajaquada Creek, not yet hidden under East Buffalo, traverses the northeast corner of the grounds.

By 1903, the parcel will be subdivided into residential streets and lots, becoming the neighborhood known as
Hamlin Park , and the Scajaquada will be buried in miles of underground tunnels.

St. Paul's Church (Cathedral) on Church Street is destroyed in a fire on May 10, 1888.
Based on electoral votes, Benjamin Harrison (right) defeats Buffalo's Grover Cleveland who wins the popular vote. Cleveland is the only person who won the popular vote for president three times.
The Michigan Central distinguished itself from its railroad competitors by crossing through Canada, thereby providing a faster route to Chicago. Their offices were near present-day Cathedral Park.
Building erected: Elam R. Jewett purchases the former Chapin farm for his retirement. He builds Willow Lawn, at Main Street, corner of Leroy, after the Civil War in the present day Central Park neighborhood, a country estate amidst active farms. It will be demolished circa 1890, and by 1900, Willow Lawn will be divided into the Parkside streets named for the man who donated the land.

The Parkside neighborhood is envisioned as an tranquil alternative residential area to the rapidly growing industrial metropolis of late 19th century Buffalo.

Designed by landscape architect
Frederick Law Olmsted as the first planned suburb of a major American city, Parkside boasts curving tree lined streets and stately homes representing almost every type of residential architecture popular at the time. By 1888, soon after the completion of the Beltline Railroad, the neighborhood is surveyed and paved. With new electrical power lines from Niagara Falls and easy access to the city center via the Beltline, construction begins in earnest in the area adjacent to Olmsted's Delaware Park.

Parkside is one of the most desirable addresses in Buffalo and attracts many professionals and business leaders, including

The designs and influences of such noted architects as E. B. Green, H. H. Richardson, Frank Lloyd Wright, William Sydney Wicks, are represented in the houses found here, along with numerous Victorian, Craftsman, Tudor, Bavarian chalet and traditional American Four Square styles.


Buildings erected:

1889

Monument to "Buffalo's Own Regiment" - the First Battalion, Thirteenth US Infantry dedicated at old Fort Porter (Front Park).

The enlargement of the Sault Ste. Marie Canal, and the construction of gigantic lake freighters like the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad's "Frank H. Goodyear," leads to an enormous increase in the amount of iron ore received in Buffalo. By the end of the 1880s Buffalo is ready to challenge Pittsburgh as the iron and steel capital of the country. Because Buffalo could now receive ore directly from Lake Superior without breaking bulk at Cleveland, Erie, or other lake ports, it is far cheaper to ship ore directly here than to Pittsburgh.

Plans for the forming of the Lackawanna Steel Company are made.

Five electric street cars begin service from Cold Springs to Delaware Park ("The Park").

Later in 1896, the International Railroad Company's streetcar system in Buffalo will be the first in a large city to be electrified.


Buildings erected:

1890

East Side Surnames from the 1890 Buffalo City Directory


Buffalo's population: 255,664; Erie County's: 322,981.

The Buffalo Bisons baseball team played 132 games during the 1890 season and won 36 games, lost 96 games, and finished in eighth position.

The Buffalo Bisons played their home games at Olympic Park where 61,244 fans witnessed their club finish the season with a .273 winning percentage.

Source:
Baseball Almanac


Buildings erected:

1891

Buildings erected:


1892

The Livestock Exchange, at 1167 William Street, is used for the buying and selling of the millions of cattle brought to Buffalo by rail. Beginning in the 1860s, William Street was lined by enormous stockyards built by the New York Central Railroad. Between the stockyards and the nearby slaughterhouses, East Buffalo certainly had a distinctive aroma By World War I, the stockyards will cover l00 acres, making them among the largest in the world.

Architect: Louise Blanchard Bethune


City charter changed. Mayoral term is increased to three years.
Buildings erected:

1893

Grover Cleveland elected to his second term of office as US president. He is the only President to serve two nonconsecutive terms.


Seymour H. Knox opens store at 519 Main Street, circa 1894. This store is opened on December 18, 1893, four days after his first Buffalo store at 409 Main Street is completely destroyed in the Wonderland Building fire. In 1895 Knox will move his store to 395 Main street.

Elbert Hubbard leaves the Larkin company and goes on to found the Roycrofters.


Buildings erected:

1894

Ellicott Square Block buildings are torn down for erection of Ellicott Square Building


The Bank of Buffalo, at the corner Main and Seneca Streets, is organized in 1873.

Buildings erected:


1895

Ely Parker dies. He was born in Indian Falls, NY (then the Tonawanda Reservation) in 1828. As an aide to General Ulysses S. Grant, Ely Parker wrote the final draft of the surrender terms at Appomattox. He became the first Indian named Commissioner of Indian Affairs. In 1897, his remains will be buried in Buffalo's Forest Lawn Cemetery in the Red Jacket plot.


Buildings erected:

1896

1896 Buffalo map Excellent detail



On November 16,1896, the first electricity is transmitted from Niagara Falls to Buffalo, at 12:01AM (so the Sabbath Sun Nov 15th would not be disturbed); all of it is allocated to the Buffalo Street Railway Company for streetcar operation, the first streetcar system in a large city to be electrified

Buildings erected:

Ellicott Square Building has Ellsworth Statler's first restaurant. Within months, however, Statler's plush restaurant fails. He radically modifies the food, advertises heavily, and succeeds.


1897

Building erected:


1898

Dr. Conrad Diehl elected mayor. First mayor to serve a four-year term.



The United States declares war on Spain on April 21 , 1898. Local
citizens join in the war effort.
Building erected:

1899

In addition to adequate means of transportation - railroads - industry requires labor and energy. Both were plentiful and cheap in Buffalo. The first is provided by the thousands of eastern European immigrants willing to work for almost nothing under practically any conditions. The supply of electrical power from nearby Niagara Falls is equally cheap and virtually unlimited.

The American Malting Company, known as "The Malt Trust," announces that it is shutting down its operations in Cleveland and Erie and will build a new plant along the banks of the Buffalo Creek in South Buffalo because of Buffalo's cheap electrical power.



Stephen Brodie, who became famous when he jumped over Niagara Falls in 1889, takes over the saloon at 475 Main Street. In 1908, the building will open as the Theatre Comique, a ten-cent cinema.


Cecil B. Wiener and Helen Z. M. Rogers are the first two women to graduate from UB Law School. Both will practice law for twenty years before they will be allowed to vote. Wiener will go on to become a judge; Rogers will be the first woman to argue a case before the New York Court of Appeals.

Buildings erected:

1900

Buffalo is second largest railroad terminus in U.S. (Chicago is first).

There are seven direct lines connecting Buffalo with six different East Coast cities. The New York Central is so big that it has its own police force. The railroad companies create a new industry in the city. They own 3,600 acres of city land and lay 660 miles of track within the city limits. They directly employ twenty thousand men and indirectly give work to thousands more in the car wheel shops, palace car shops, locomotive and freight car shops, and in the largest bridge company in the world, all of which are located in the city.

As a result of the railroads, the Erie Canal is virtually obsolete. By the turn of the century almost every lake steamship company has been bought out by the railroads. Thus, by either controlling the freight rates on their railroads or by dictating lake freight policy, the railroads exert a controlling influence over the city's commercial economy.



John J. Albright has quietly has bought over 1,000 acres of lakefront property for the relocation of Lackawanna Steel of Scranton, Pennsylvania.


There are 25 electric streetcars in Buffalo (whereas in 1885 there were none), draining the old neighborhoods.


Buffalo Automobile Club formed.
Dr. V. Mott Pierce is president.


Novelist Janet Miriam Taylor Holland Caldwell is born in Manchester, England. Her family will move to Buffalo when she is 6. As Taylor Caldwell she will write more than 40 books that sell more than 30 million copies. Two are television films: "Dear and Glorious Physician" (1959) and "The Captains and the Kings." (1972)


Buffalo finishes in seventh place in baseball's American League, not yet a major league. In 1901, when the league will break away, Commissioner Ban Johnson will dump Buffalo to put a franchise in Boston. It is later learned Johnson had money invested in the Boston franchise.


Henry Perky decides to make his shredded wheat breakfast food in Niagara Falls.


C. 1900. Shelton Square is named after the Eminent Rev. William Shelton, rector (1829-1882) of
St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

Buffalo's population: 352,387; Erie County's: 433,686.

Johnson Park and Elmwood Avenue: In 1900 Johnson Park is an elegant residential mall within walking distance of the heart of downtown Buffalo. Originally the suburban home of Ebenezer Johnson, Buffalo's first mayor, and developed during the 1850s as an elite, in-town residential section, Johnson Park retains many of the qualities that had for so long made it the most venerable and exclusive residential quarter in the city. Its tree-lined mall is the home of many of the families listed in the social register. Here too is the Buffalo Female Academy (later renamed Buffalo Seminary), the most selective school in the city. Thus, close enough to downtown to be convenient, and yet far enough away to preserve its uniqueness, Johnson Park is a well-defined and cohesive urban place.

Yet the expansion of downtown is such that peripheral residential areas soon become expendable and the characteristics that had made Johnson Park a cherished corner of the city barely survive the nineteenth century. Because it lay on an east-west axis, Johnson Park blocks movement to and from the new central business district. It is in the in the way. And despite the intense opposition of the wealthy and presumably influential residents of the park, the broad mall is cut in half in 1907 and Elmwood Avenue is extended through it to the downtown area.

The park now changed quickly. A streetcar line is put on the Elmwood Avenue route and soon Johnson Park, its days as a fancy, in-town residential neighborhood over, is on the way to becoming tattered and tawdry, existing marginally on the fringes of downtown.


Buildings erected:

See also:



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