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about Buffalo

Buffalo is am American city located in western New York. It is the state's second largest city, after New York City, and is the county seat of Erie County. In the early 20th century Buffalo was one of the world's busiest inland ports, but its economic fortunes began to diminish at mid-century with the completion of the Saint Lawrence Seaway project and the decline of the American steel industry.

Curiously, the city's name arose not from the same-named animal, but from its location at the origin of the Niagara River. Some claim that the name is a bastardization of the French "beau fleuve" - for "beautiful river." Other historians cite the fact that Buffalo Creek was so-named long before the naming of the city, and suggest that the city's name more likely honors the Seneca Indian after whom this small waterway was named.

A panoramic view of Buffalo from the observation deck at the top of the 30-story City Hall reveals many of the city's landmarks. Buffalo has the third-oldest zoo in the United States; a science museum; historical museum; the Roswell Park Cancer Institute; the renowned Albright-Knox Art Gallery; and Kleinhans Music Hall, known for its acoustical quality and home to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. At the Naval and Servicemen's Park on the waterfront are the cruiser USS Little Rock, the destroyer USS The Sullivans, and the submarine USS Croaker, all open for public viewing. Several other US Navy ships have been named USS Buffalo in honor of the city.

Buffalo geography

Buffalo is located on the eastern end of Lake Erie, at the beginning of the Niagara River, which flows northward over Niagara Falls and into Lake Ontario. It is located at 42°54'17" North, 78°50'58" West (42.904657, -78.849405).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 136.0 km² (52.5 mi²). 105.2 km² (40.6 mi²) of it is land and 30.8 km² (11.9 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 22.66% water.

Buffalo history

Early History

Most of western New York was granted by Charles II of England to the Duke of York, but the first European settlement in what is now Erie County was by the French, at the mouth of Buffalo Creek in 1758. Its buildings were destroyed a year later because of an impending British attack. The British took control of the entire region in 1763, at the conclusion of the French and Indian War.

The first American to settle in present day Buffalo was Cornelius Winney, who set up a log cabin store there in 1789 for trading with the Native American community. Dutch investors purchased the area as part of the Holland Land Purchase, and parcels were sold through the Holland Land Company's office in Batavia, New York, starting in 1801. The village was initially called New Amsterdam. In 1808 the new Niagara County, New York was formed (including what is now Erie County), and newly renamed Buffalo became its county seat. By 1811, the predominantly Anglo-American village had grown to 500 people.

The 19th Century

On December 30, 1813, during the War of 1812, British troops and their Native American allies captured the village of Buffalo and burned much of it to the ground. Buffalo was rebuilt and incorporated as a town in 1816.

Upon the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, Buffalo became the western end of the 524-mile waterway starting at New York City. At the time Buffalo had a population of about 2,400 people; with the increased commerce of the canal, the population boomed. Buffalo was reincorporated as a city in 1832, at which time it had some 10,000 people. The re-incorporation included the village of Black Rock, which had been Buffalo's rival for the canal site.

Buffalo was a terminus of the Underground Railroad, an informal series of safe houses for runaway slaves who had escaped from the U. S. South in the mid-19th century. After hiding at the Michigan Avenue Baptist Church, the slaves could take a ferry to Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada and freedom.

Several U.S. presidents have connections with Buffalo. Millard Fillmore took up permanent residence in Buffalo in 1822 before he became president. Grover Cleveland lived in Buffalo from 1854 until 1882, and became mayor of the city. William McKinley was shot on September 5, 1901 at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, and died in Buffalo on the 14th. Theodore Roosevelt was then sworn in on September 14th, 1901 at the Wilcox Mansion (currently a National Historic Site), becoming one of the few presidents to be sworn in outside of Washington.

20th Century Buffalo

At the turn of the century, Buffalo was a growing city with a burgeoning economy. Immigrants came from Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Poland to work in the steel and grain mills which had taken advantage of the city's critical location at the junction of the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal. Hydroelectric power harnessed from nearby Niagara Falls made Buffalo the first American city to enjoy widespread electric power.

The city's importance declined in the 20th Century for several reasons, perhaps the most devastating being the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1957. Goods which had previously passed through Buffalo could now bypass it using a series of canals and locks, reaching the ocean via the St. Lawrence River. The city, which boasted over half a million people at its peak, has for the more moderate winters and air-conditioned summers of the South and Southwest.

The opening of the Peace Bridge linking Buffalo with Fort Erie, Ontario on 7 August 1927 was occasion for significant celebrations. Those in attendance included Edward, Prince of Wales (later to become Edward VIII of the United Kingdom), his brother Prince Albert George (later George VI), British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, Canada's Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King, US Vice President Charles G. Dawes, and New York governor Alfred E. Smith.

Buffalo's new City Hall was dedicated on July 1, 1932.

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Buffalo real estate

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Buffalo, New York".

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