City History

The following information was published in 1860

(J.H. French, Gazetteer of the State of New York (Syracuse, New York: R. Pearsall Smith, 1860), p. 284 – 288)

Obtained from:

History: City of Buffalo

BUFFALO CITY – was formed as a town from Clarence, Feb. 8, 1810.(1) Amherst was taken off in 1818, and Tonawanda in 1836. Buffalo Village was incorp. April 2, 1813, re-organized in 1815, and again in 1822, and incorp, as a city April 20, 1832, with its limits enlarged by the addition of that part of the Mile Strip Reservation(2) S. of York and North Sts. By the provisions of a new charter, granted April 13, 1853, the then town of “Black Rock” was included within the city limits. The city lies at the E. extremity of Lake Erie, extending nearly 10 mi. along the lake shore and the upper part of Niagara River, and occupies an area of about 40 sq. mi. The principal streams are Big Buffalo and Scajaquady(3) Creeks, – the former emptying into Lake Erie and the latter into Niagara River. The principal business part of the city is on the lake shore around the harbor. The land in this locality is low, and was once considered “an irreclaimable morass; but it is now densely covered with substantial warehouses and large stores, intermingled with factories, foundries, mechanics’ shops, and dwellings.”(4)

The site rises gradually, and attains in one or two places an elevation of about 100 ft.; but the greater portion of the area occupies an extended plain of an average height of 50 ft. above the lake. On the “Buffalo Plains,” and along the river at North Buffalo, are extensive quarries of limestone, furnishing an excellent building material.(5) The city is regularly laid out, and the streets are broad and straight. The flagging and paving are done in the most substantial manner, and are kept in excellent repair.(6) The main part of the city is supplied with wholesome water from Niagara River by the Buffalo Water Works Company. The reservoir, situated on Niagara between Connecticut and Vermont Sts., is 88 ft. higher than the river, and has a capacity of 13, 500, 000 gallons. The water is elevated by two force pumps, each of a capacity of 235 gallons, and is distributed through 31 mi. of pipe.(7) Lower Black Rock is supplied by the Jubilee Water Works with water from the Jubilee Springs. It is conducted through wooden pipes, of which there are more than two miles laid.(8) There are 5 post-offices in the city, – Buffalo, North Buffalo, Buffalo Plains, Red Jacket, and Black Rock.

The harbor of Buffalo is formed by Big Buffalo Creek, along which for more than a mile is a continuous line of wharves. A pier extends from the S. side of the harbor 1500 ft. into the lake, forming an effectual barrier against the encroaching sands, which everywhere on the lake have a tendency to accumulate on the W. side of piers. At its extremity is a lighthouse.(9) The Erie Canal enters the city along Niagara River, from which it is separated by a seawall, and extends southward to near the mouth of Buffalo Creek, and thence eastward to Hamburgh St. The Erie Basin, just N. of the mouth of Buffalo Creek, protected lakeward by a breakwater, and the Ohio Basin, about one and one-fourth mi. from the mouth of the creek, containing an area of 10 acres, are both connected with the harbor and canal and are sufficiently deep to float the largest lake vessels.(10) A ship canal more than a mi. in length extends along the W. side of Big Buffalo Creek parallel to the shore of the lake. This canal, the basins, the Erie Canal, and the harbor are all connected by numerous slips. Six railroads terminate in the city; and another – the Buffalo & Pittsburgh – is in process of construction.(11)

Buffalo is the second commercial city of the State, and the largest and most important upon the great lakes.(12) Its situation at the foot of navigation upon Lake Erie and at the western terminus of the Erie Canal makes it the principal port for the transshipment of the products of the great grain region of the Upper Mississippi Valley, and gives to it the command of the greater part of the commerce of the lakes.(13) The number of entries at this port during the year 1857 was 4,017, with an aggregate of 1,618,672 tons; and the number of clearances was 3,564, with an aggregate of 1,603,134 tons.(14) The exportation and importation by canal is also immense;(15) and it is estimated that the value of merchandise and property transported by R.R. is greater than the entire amount of the lake commerce of this port.(16) About one-fourth of the shipping of the lake is owned by the citizens of Buffalo.(17) Shipbuilding is extensively carried on.(18) The manufactures of the city are extensive and various.(19)

The principal public buildings are the Custom House, Fort Porter, the State Arsenal, and the city markets. The Custom House, on the corner of Seneca and Washington Sts., is a handsome and well built structure, containing, beside the custom house office, accommodations for the post-office and the U.S. courts. It was constructed, at a cost of $140,000, from designs furnished by the U.S. Treasury Department.(20) Fort Porter, built in 1842-48, is a fortification on the bank of Niagara River at the point where it emerges from Lake Erie. The State Arsenal, erected in 1858, is a massive stone building fronting on Batavia St.(21) There are four large markets, conveniently located in different parts of the city.(22)

The Public Schools of the city have long enjoyed a deservedly high reputation. They are carefully nurtured through the operations of an enlightened public sentiment, and are so excellent in all their departments that scarcely any other elementary schools are supported or needed. They are thoroughly graded, consisting of three general departments. The third department is an advanced school for the whole city; and in it a complete academic course, excepting the classics, is taught. There were, in 1857, 32 school districts, employing 189 teachers, – 24 males and 165 females, The number of children, between 4 and 21 years of age, was 28,000, of whom 15,593, or a small fraction more than 55 1/2 per cent, were in attendance some portion of the year.(23)

The Buffalo Female Academy, a flourishing institution, situated on Delaware Avenue, was opened for students in July, 1852.(24)

The Buffalo Medical College, on the corner of Main and Virginia Sts., was organized in Aug. 1846, under the charter of the University of Buffalo. A course of lectures is given each winter; and the students are admitted to the hospital of the Sisters of Charity, on stated days, during the visits of the medical and surgical officers.

The Buffalo Mercantile College, on the corner of Main and Seneca Sts., was established Oct. 10, 1854. Its object is to impart a theoretical and practical knowledge of business transactions.

The Buffalo Commercial College, on Main St., is an institution similar in character to the Mercantile College.

The Buffalo Law Library Association, incorp. April 2, 1833, – capital $10,000, in shares of $100 each, – was formed for the purpose of securing the benefits of a professional library beyond the reach of private means.

The Young Men’s Association was established in the winter of 1835-36, and incorp. in March, 1843. It has a library of about 10,000 volumes, and a reading room, which is well supplied with papers from most of the principal cities of the Union. During the winter months lectures are maintained by the association.

The German Young Men’s Association was organized in 1841 and chartered in 1846. The library contains about 2000 volumes, mostly German works.

The Young Men’s Christian Union was established in May, 1852, and incorp. March, 1853. It has for its object the moral and intellectual improvement of young men. Its library and reading rooms are in Kremlin Hall, at the junction of Niagara and Erie Sts.

The Young Men’s Catholic Association and the Buffalo Catholic Institute are societies similar to the proceeding.

The Buffalo Medical Association was formed in 1845 and incorp. in 1856. Its objects are purely scientific and professional, and its membership is confined to the medical profession of the county.

The Mendelssohn Association, organized Jan. 1858, has for its object the improvement and cultivation of vocal and instrumental music.

The Deutsche Leidertafel and the Deutscher Saengerbund are German societies of a similar character.

The Buffalo Orphan Asylum, located on Virginia St., was organized in 1835 and incorp. April 24, 1837. The site was donated by Louis S. Le Couteulx, and the present building was erected in 1850. The average number of inmates is about 80.

The Buffalo Female Orphan Asylum, on the corner of Batavia and Ellicott Sts., was established in 1848, under the care of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph. The present number of children is 98.

The Buffalo Hospital of the Sisters of Charity, on Virginia St., was incorp. July 5, 1848. The building contains 20 wards, and the average number of patients is 130.

The Buffalo General Hospital was incorp. Nov. 21, 1855, and went into operation in 1858. It was founded by individual donations, amounting to $20,000, and a State appropriation of $10,000.(25)

The Lying-In Hospital, on Edward St., is under the charge of the Sisters of Charity.

The Buffalo City Dispensary, a society of physicians, was organized to afford gratuitous medical services to the destitute.

The Association for the Relief of the Poor disburses among the needy each winter sums ranging from $1,500 to $8,000.

The Firemen’s Benevolent Association was incorp. March 23, 1837, and has for its object the accumulation of a fund for the relief of indigent and disabled firemen and their families.

The Buffalo Physicians’ Charitable Fund Association was organized in 1858, to provide means for the assistance and relief of the widows and orphans of medical men.

A M.E. church was founded in Buffalo, in 1809, by the Rev. Jas. Mitchell; but it had no permanent organization. The oldest church now in the city (1st Presb.) was organized Feb. 2, 1812, by the Rev. Thaddeus Osgood. The next established were a Prot. E., Bap., a M.E., and a Univ. There are now 57 churches in the city.(26) Most of the church edifices are large and commodious; and many of them are of a high order of architectural beauty. St. Joseph’s Cathedral (R.C.) is the largest and most costly in the city.(27) St. Paul’s(28) and St. John’s, (Prot. E.,) and the North and Central Presb. churches, are elegant and substantial structures.

The earliest notice of the site of the city of Buffalo is found in the travels of Baron La Hontan, who visited this locality in 1687.(29) No white settlers located here until after the American Revolution. A village of the Seneca Indians lay on Buffalo Creek, about 3 mi. from its mouth. In March, 1791, Col. Thos. Proctor, U.S. Commissioner, visited “Buffalo Creek,” – as this village was then called, – on an embassy to the Indians. The locality around the mouth of the creek was then called “Lake Erie,” and Cornelius Winney, an Indian trader, resided there.(30) The place was visited in 1795 by La Rochefoucault Liancourt, a French nobleman, who says that “at the post on Lake Erie there was a small collection of four or five houses.”(31) Buffalo was laid out by the agent of the Holland Land Company in 1801, and was called by them “New Amsterdam,”(32) Settlement was commenced at Black Rock in 1807.(33) In 1808 “New Amsterdam” was made the county seat of Niagara co.; and its name was then changed to Buffalo. In 1812 it became a military post. In Dec. 1813, a party of British and Indians crossed over from Canada, defeated the American forces, and fired the villages of Black Rock and Buffalo. Only two dwelling houses were left standing.(34) The rebuilding of the village was not commenced until 1815. Buffalo had from the first a formidable rival in Black Rock. While the mouth of Buffalo Creek was obstructed by a bar, Black Rock possessed an excellent harbor and monopolized the infant commerce of the lake. The “Walk-in-the-Water,” the first steamboat on Lake Erie, was built at Black Rock in 1818. The construction of Buffalo harbor was commenced in 1820, by the citizens;(35) and in 1827 the General Government assumed its completion and built the present pier and lighthouse. The Erie Canal was finished in 1825; and from that time to the present Buffalo has increased in wealth and population with the characteristic rapidity of the cities of the West.(36)

(1)The city of Buffalo was taken off in 1832, and Tonawanda in 1836. The village of “Black Rock,” in this town, was incorp. April 24, 1837, and receives its name from the color of the rock which outcrops at the ferry landing. The remaining part of the town was organized as Black Rock, Feb. 14, 1839; and in 1853 it was annexed to the city.

(2)See p. 280.

(3)Named from an Indian of that name, and pronounced Ska-joc’quad-da.

(4)Buffalo City Directory, 1858.

(5)The pier, the breakwater, the arsenal, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, and many of the most substantial buildings in the city, are in part or wholly built of this stone.

(6)There are 251 mi. of located streets within the city limits, 37 1/2 mi. of paved streets, 205,000 line or feet of stone sidewalks, and 108 mi. of plank walks. There are 1,960 street lamps in the city, lighted by gas furnished by the Buffalo Gas Light Company. The present cost of the street improvements is estimated at $2,000,000; and the aggregate of taxes for local improvements in 1857 was $356,913.

(7)The Buffalo Water Works Company was incorp. March 15, 1849. The original cost of the works was $400,000; and $65,000 of the earnings have been expended in extending the works. Connected with them are 320 street hydrants, and 20 underground reservoirs, having an aggregate capacity of 407, 850 gal.

(8)The Jubilee Water Works Company was organized in 1827, with a capital of $20,000. At one time the company had 16 mi. of wooden pipe laid, fully supplying Black Rock and a part of Buffalo; but, while the increase of population created a greater demand for water, the supply from the springs diminished, and in 1845 the citizens of Lower Black Rock purchased the works and confined the supply to their own village.

(9)The lighthouse is built entirely of stone and iron. It is 44 ft. high, 26 ft. in diameter at its base, and 12 ft. at the top. The molehead upon which it stands is 160 ft. in diameter and has a depth of 15 ft. below the surface of the water. The pier and lighthouse were completed in 1833. It is furnished with a first class dioptric Fresnel apparatus.

(10)These basins were constructed by the State as parts of the great system of internal navigation; but their sites were furnished by the city. The Erie Basin cost $300,000 and the Ohio Basin $60,000. They were commenced in 1848 and finished in 1858. Vessels driven by storms and failing to gain an entrance to the harbor find a capacious and sheltered retreat in the harbor of Black Rock, – formed by a mole from Bird Island to Squaw Island, a distance of 2915 yards. This, with the islands, forms a harbor 4,565 yards long and from 88 to 220 yards wide, with an area of 136 acres. Besides affording an exceedingly convenient harbor, with an average depth of 15 feet, this work secures a water-power of about 4 1/2 feet. A ship lock is constructed at its foot; and it is on the line of the Erie Canal.

(11)Besides these, 5 plank roads, a macadamized road, and a turnpike terminate in the city.

(12)It is often called “The Queen City,” and “The Queen City of the Lakes.”

(13)The amount of grain received in 1857 was 15,443,778 bush., and of flour 925,411 bbls., of which 15,348,930 bush., of grain and 845,953 bbls. of flour were received by lake. The same year there were received by lake 29,799 head of cattle, 75,174 hogs, and 44,972 sheep.

The following table shows the imports, by lake, of flour and grain for a series of years:

Year Flour Wheat Corn Oats Barley Rye
1836 139,178 304,090 204,355 28,640 4,876 1,500
1837 126,805 450,350 94,490 2,553 3,267
1838 277,620 933,117 34,148 6,577 909
1839 294,125 1,117,262
1840 597,742 1,004,561 71,327
1841 730,040 1,635,000 201,031 14,144 2,150
1842 734,308 1,555,430 454,530 4,710 1,228
1843 917,517 1,827,241 223,963 2,489 1,332
1844 915,030 2,177,500 137,978 18,017 1,617 456
1845 746,750 1,770,740 54,200 23,100
1846 1,374,529 4,744,184 1,455,258 218,300 47,530 28,250
1847 1,857,000 6,489,100 2,862,300 446,000 70,787
1848 1,249,000 4,520,117 2,298,100 560,000 17,809
1850 1,103,039 3,681,346 2,593,378 359,580 3,600
1851 1,258,224 4,167,121 5,988,775 1,140,340 142,773 10,652
1852 1,299,513 5,549,778 5,136,746 2,596,231 497,913 112,271
1853 975,557 5,424,043 3,665,793 1,480,655 401,098 107,152
1854 739,756 3,510,792 10,109,973 4,441,739 313,885 177,066
1855 936,761 8,022,126 9,711,230 2,693,222 62,304 299,591
1856 1,126,048 8,465,671 9,632,477 1,733,382 46,327 245,810
1857 845,953 8,334,179 5,713,611 1,214,760 37,844 48,536

The annual average receipts of flour during the first five years was about 360,000 bbls.; during the next five it was 820,000; during the next five, 1,474,000; and during the next five, 969,000. The whole amount of grain received in 1847 was 9,668,187 bush., and in 1855 20,788,475 bush., – the greatest amount in any one year. This was a greater amount than was received that year in any other port in the world. The following table shows the receipts of leading articles during three seasons:

Products 1855 1856 1857
Ashes, casks 4,295 3,255 2,975
Beef, bbls 97,804 33,320 59,911
Broom Corn, bales 9,725 7,366 5,086
Barley, bush 62,304 46,327 37,844
Butter, lbs 1,988,920 1,241,600 923,000
Bacon, lbs 10,768,396 9,220,932 3,612,519
Cattle, no 14,049 25,283 29,799
Cranberries, bbls 225 404 91
Coal, tons 59,878 53,512 57,247
Copper Ore, lbs 560,000 1,870,488 2,587,600
Cotton, bales 239 681 317
Corn, bush 8,711,230 9,632,477 5,713,611
Eggs, bbls 5,591 5,326 8,286
Feathers, sacks 379 820 242
Fish, bbls 6,752 5,826 5,211
Furs, bdls 1,112 890 635
Flax, bales 1,276 729 622
Flour, bbls 936,761 1,126,048 845,953
Hemp, bales 1,191 327 912
Hides, No 90,964 111,856 139,051
Horses, No 362 408 193
Hogs, No 59,944 72,713 75,174
Iron, pig, tons 3,994 2,077 1,323
Lard, lbs 10,357,136 5,335,500 643,000
Lead, pigs 67,309 30,677 22,247
Leather, rolls 2,265 2,326 2,513
Lumber, ft 72,026,651 60,584,541 68,283,319
Lath, No 245,000 920,000 1,602,000
Meal, corn, bbls 867 1,800 150
Nuts, bbls 346 805 113
Oil, bbls 4,700 2,870 1,789
Oats, bush 2,693,322 1,733,382 1,214,760
Pork, bbls 106,682 60,477 20,283
Pelts, bdls 4,311 3,368 1,595
Robes, Buffalo, bales 480 287 1,150
Rye, bush 299,591 245,810 48,536
Seeds, bbls 20,522 15,297 14,830
Skins, bdls 2,391 1,814 2,173
Staves, No 16,421,568 18,556,039 23,024,213
Shingles, No 1,764,000 398,000 1,669,000
Sheep, No 26,508 41,467 44,972
Tobacco, hhds 489 623 270
Tobacco, cases 3,470 3,837 2,102
Tallow, lbs 1,234,100 634,900 445,750
Whiskey, bbls 37,087 36,009 42,140
Wheat, bush 8,022,126 8,466,671 8,334,179
Wool, bales 47,168 41,592 35,613

The total value of these three years were, in 1855, $48,767,315; in 1856, $40,429,871; and in 1857, $34,846,592.

(14) Following is an exhibit of the number of entrances and clearances, their tonnage and crews, for six successive years:

Year. No. Tonnage.
1852 9,441 3,092,247 127,491
1853 8,298 3,252,978 128,112
1854 8,912 3,990,234 120,838
1855 9,211 3,360,233 111,515
1856 8,128 3,018,587 112,051
1857 7,582 3,221,806 132,183

(15) The following tables show the receipts and shipments of leading articles for the year 1857: – The total value of the canal shipments that year was $16,956,740, and the tolls of the same received at the collector’s office amounted to $569,537.44.

Lumber, ft 1,853,693 Bran, &c. lbs 236,689 Foreign salt, lbs 193,829
Timber, 100 cubic ft 30,920 Beans and peas, bush 10,908 Sugar, lbs 12,768,136
Staves, lbs Potatoes, bush 3,342 Molasses, lbs 7,701,144
Wood, cords 25,835 Dried fruit, lbs 130,900 Coffee, lbs 4,900,077
Cheese, lbs 22,662 Hops, lbs 621,852 Nails, spikes, &c. lbs 2,856,471
Wool, lbs 1,320 Domestic spirits, gals 24,720 Iron and steel, lbs 12,417,665
Hides, lbs 130,500 Leather, lbs 714,135 Railroad iron, lbs 32,187,521
Flour, bbls 28,621 Furniture, lbs 4,363,775 Crockery and glassware, lbs 5,606,277
Wheat, bush 19,966 Pig iron, lb 12,417,164 All other mdse, lbs 92,894,060
Rye, bush 7,778 Castings and ironware, lbs 30,902,457 Stone, lime and clay, lbs 74,134,242
Corn, bush 1,131 Domestic cottons, lbs 594,868 Gypsum, lbs 560,687
Barlet, bush 37,434 Domestic salt, lbs 52,278,989 Coal, lbs 115,193,297
Sundries, lbs 10,471,711
Lumber, ft. 43,727,523 Rye, bush 6,341 Furniture, lbs 393,025
Timber, 100 cubic ft 12,485 Corn, bush 5,001,263 Lead, lbs 214,416
Staves, lbs 185,921,748 Barley, bush 11,638 Pig iron, lbs 1,240,408
Ashes, casks 1,829 Oats, bush 905,814 Bloom and bar iron, lbs 87,736
Pork, bbls 9,195 Bran, &c. lbs 4,796,624 Castings and ironware, lbs 121,789
Beef, bbls 5,256 Dried fruits, lbs Domestic salt, lbs 32,100
Bacon, lbs 2,112,093 Cotton, lbs Iron and steel, lbs 201,703
Cheese, lbs 65,469 Tobacco, lbs 16,563 Railroad iron, lbs
Butter, lbs 9,874 Hemp, lbs 49,690 Crockery & glassware, lbs 122,594
Lard, tallow, and lard oil 710,435 Seed, lbs 506,364 All other mdse, lbs 674,242
Wool, lbs 1,325,289 Flaxseed, lbs 1,077,228 Stone, lime, and clay, lbs 4,989,599
Hides, lbs 780,885 Hops, lbs 1,529 Coal, lbs 28,051,852
Flour, bbls 88,092 Domestic spirits, gals 836,000 Copper ore, lbs 2,565,201
Wheat, bush 6,673,827 Leather, lbs 56,786 Sundries, lbs 12,771,000

(16) The amount of live stock received by R.R. in 1857 was 78,404 head of cattle, 232,375 hogs, and 72, 496 sheep.

(17) The amount of shipping owned in Buffalo, as shown by the custom house books, is as follows:

Vessels. No. Tonnage.
Steamers 10 9,067
Propellers 50 30,186
Tugs 20 2,629
Barks 7 3,537
Brigs 21 6,784
Schooners 129 35,460
Scows 5 473
Total 242 88,136

(18) The following table shows the shipping launched in 1857:

Vessels. Tonnage. Value.
4 Steamers 4,086 $352,000
10 Propellers 5,070 349,000
13 Tugs 1,145 126,800
21 Schooners 7,955 353,400
1 Dredge
25 Canal Boats

In connection with one of the shipyards of the city is a dry dock of sufficient capacity to admit a steamer of over 2,500 tons; also a marine railway; and near by is a large derrick for hoisting boilers and heavy machinery.

(19) The following is a list of the manufacturing establishments in operation in 1857:

Agricultural Works 5
Ax & Edge Tool M’factory 3
Awl M’factory 1
Basket Manufactories 6
Bellows Manufactories 2
Billiard Table Manufactories 3
Blank Book & Bookbinding 8
Boiler Manufactories 4
Box Manufactories 5
Brass Manufactories 3
Breweries 31
Brickyards 9
Britannia Ware 2
Boot & Shoe Manufactories 3
Brush Manufactories 2
Burr Millstone Manufactories 2
Cabinet Ware Manufactories 11
Car and Car Wheels 2
Carriage Manufactories 9
Chair Manufactories 2
Chromotype Printing 1
Coach & Harness Hardware 2
Comb Manufactory 1
Confectioneries 10
Cooperages 14
Distilleries 3
Engraving 9
Engine (steam) Manufactories 6
Earthenware Manufactories 2
Fence (iron) Manufactories 4
Fire Works Manufactories 2
Flour Mills 10
Flour Mill Manufactories 3
Foundries 7
Glove Manufactory 1
Glue Manufactory 1
Gold Beaters Manufactories 2
Gun shops 3
Harness, Saddle, &c. M’facts 13
Hat & Cap Manufactories 16
Iron Works 8
Japanned Ware 4
Lantern Manufactories 2
Last Manufactories 2
Leather Manufactories 11
Lithographing 3
Lock Manufactories 5
Marble Works 6
Machine Shops 10
Melodeon Manufactory 1
Oakum Manufactory 1
Oil Manufactories 4
Organ Manufactory 1
Pail and Tub Manufactory 1
Paper Mill Manufactory 1
Patent Leather Manufactory 1
Philosophical Instruments 1
Piano Forte Manufactory 3
Planing Mills 5
Plane Manufactory 1
Pocket Book Manufactory 1
Pottery 1
Printing Establishments 17
Pump Manufactories 3
Regalia Manufactories 5
Rope Manufactories 4
Sail Manufactories 4
Sash & Blind Manufactories 7
Saw Manufactories 2
Shingle Manufactories 2
Stove Manufactories 3
Silk Manufactories 1
Shipyards 7
Silver Plating 4
Soap & Candle M’factories 14
Soda & Sarsaparilla M’factories 4
Starch Manufactories 2
Stave Manufactories 2
Steam Sawmills 3
Stone Ware Manufactory 1
Tobacco Manufactory 9
Tanneries 2
Type & Stereotype F’dries 3
Upholsteries 10
Vice Manufactory 1
White Lead Manufactories 2
Whip Manufactory 1

The value of the articles manufactured in 1857 was about $10,000,000, of which the leading products are estimated as follows:- ships and boats, $1,800,000; leather, $1,500,000; flour, $1,000,000; stoves and other castings, $600,000; machines, $600,000; distilled stuffs, $400,000; piano fortes, $350,000; boots and shoes, $100,000.

For most of the statistics of the commerce and manufactures of Buffalo, we are indebted to the Annual Statement of the Trade and Commerce of Buffalo for 1857, issued from the office of the Commercial Advertiser.

(20) The custom house building was commenced in 1855 and completed in 1858. It is 3 stories high, exclusive of basement, and has a front of 110 ft. on Seneca St. and 60 ft. on Washington St., with a total elevation of 70 ft. above the sidewalk. Its exterior is of light gray sandstone, obtained from Cleveland, Ohio; and the whole is fireproof throughout, the floors being of small segmental brick arches, turned from wrought iron beams, resting on tubular girders. The girders rest upon the walls, and are supported in the middle by cast iron columns reaching to the foundation of the building.

(21) The arsenal is 165 ft. long by 65 ft. wide. Its front, 50 ft. wide, projecting 16 ft. from the main building, is flanked by octagonal towers 60 ft. high. The walls are 40 ft. high; and at each corner is a heavy, square turret. The cost of the building was $35,000.

(22) Elk Street Market is 30 ft. wide by 375 ft. long, having a veranda 24 ft. wide extending the whole length of each side. The Court Street Market consists of a main building, 51 ft. sq., with 4 wings, one on each side. The N. and S. wings are each 91 1/2 ft. long by 36 wide, and the E. and W. wings are each 61ft. long by 36 ft. wide. The Clinton St. and Washington St. Markets are each 395 ft. long by 36 ft. wide, with a veranda 24 ft. wide extending the whole length of each side.(23) The total expenses of the schools for 1857 were $160,019.86, and the total receipts the same; number of volumes in district libraries 8,216

(24) This institution owes its existence in a great measure to the liberality of Jabez Goodell, who contributed over $10,000 toward its establishment. The academy occupies one of the most eligible and beautiful sites in the city. There are two academic buildings, Goodell Hall and Evergreen Cottage, – the former occupied for school purposes, and the latter as a dwelling by the family of the principal.

(25) This hospital is located on High St.,and is a two story brick structure, 160 ft. long by 75 ft. wide. The W. wing only of the general plan is finished; but that is complete in itself, and has 4 wards, capable of accommodating 100 patients.

(26) 14 R.C., 8 Presb., 7 Prot. E., 7 M.E., 6 Bap., 4 Ger. Evang., 3 Luth., 2 Ref. Prot. D., and 1 each Asso. Presb., French Prot., Unit., Univ., Mission, and Bethel. The R.C. Church of St. Louis, in this city, has been prominently before the public from the refusal of its trustees to convey their church property to the bishop, and the extraordinary but ineffectual efforts made by the Roman pontiff to induce obedience to this order. In 1853 Cardinal Bedini visited America, having this as a prominent object of his mission; but the trustees were inflexible, and still continue the owners of their property.

(27) The cathedral is 236 ft. long, 86 ft. wide in the body, and 120 at the transept. The ceiling is 75 ft. high, the roof outside 90 feet, and the spire, when finished, will be 220 ft. high. The windows are all of beautiful stained glass, the larger ones in figures representing sacred scenes and characters. The tripartite window above the altar represents the birth, crucifixion, and ascension of Christ. This window was executed in Munich, at a cost of $5,000.

(28) This church was erected at a cost of about $100,000. It has a chime of 10 bells, which cost $15,000.

(29) La Hontan recommended to the French Government the erection of a fort at this place.

(30) Winney’s house – undoubtedly the first erected in Buffalo – stood near where the Washington St. Canal Bridge now is.

(31) Besides Winney, Johnston, the British Indian interpreter, Martin Middaugh and his family, and his son-in-law, Ezekial Lane, resided here at that time; and in 1796 Asa Ransom, Jesse Skinner, and “Black Joe” were also here. Skinner kept an inn, and Winney and “Black Joe” an Indian store.

(32) The principal streets were named from members of the Holland Land Company. Main St. was called “Willinks Avenue,” Niagara St. “Schimmelpennicks Avenue,” Genesee St. “Busti Avenue,” Erie St. “Vollenhovens Avenue,” and Church St. “Stadnitzki.” In 1826 these names were changed by the trustees of the village. The business of the Holland Land Company was transacted here for a short time previous to the opening of their office at “Ransoms Grove,” now Clarence Hollow, in 1801.

(33) The surveyor general was directed (April 11, 1804) to lay out the land about Black Rock – forming a part of the Mile Strip – into lots and report to the legislature. This was accordingly done; and in his report the surveyor general stated his belief that this was the best, if not the only, place at this end of the lake where a harbor of proper size could be constructed. From the earliest period the U.S. had designated this vicinity as the site of a fortification. The report closed with the following words:- “It will be observed that streets are laid where it will either be impracticable or useless to open them soon. It may, notwithstanding, be useful now to contemplate, in the plans of towns, what will be necessary arrangements a century hence. Such plans on record, while for the present they can be productive of no harm, may prevent those aberrations from order that might hereafter be a cause of much inconvenience; and, without being governed by extravagant calculations, no doubt can be entertained that the future importance of this place will justify extensive views in the projection of its arrangements.” The village, like Lewiston, Oswego, Salina, and Fort Covington, was patented in small parcels.

(34) See p. 280. In 1825, Congress made an appropriation of $80,000 to compensate for the losses incurred by this disaster.

(35) The sum of $1,861.25 was raised by subscription, and a loan of $12,000 was obtained from the State. A pier, extending 80 rods into the lake, was built, and a lighthouse erected upon the land. The Superior – the second steamboat launched upon Lake Erie – was built at Buffalo in 1822.

(36) The population at different periods has been as follows:

1810 1,508
1814 1,060
1820 2,095
1825 5,141
1830 8,668
1835 19,715
1840 18,213
1845 29,773
1850 42,261
1855 74,214

The population of Black Rock (now about 12,000) is included in the returns of 1855 only.


J.H. French, Gazetteer of the State of New York (Syracuse, New York: R. Pearsall Smith, 1860), p. 284 – 288.

Holly Timm