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Buffalo, New York
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Buffalo, New York

Buffalo is a city located in Erie County, New York, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 292,648. It 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. Erie and Niagara Counties have a combined population of 1,170,111 (2000). Buffalo itself the second largest city in New York state after New York City. It is the county seat of Erie County6.

The origin of the name is from a local creek, which is most commonly thought to be from the French "beau fleuve" - "beautiful river."

Buffalo is home to two State University of New York colleges, Buffalo State College and the University at Buffalo, one of SUNY's four university centers. The city also is home to D'Youville College, Medaille College, Canisius College, and Trocaire College. A campus of Erie Community College is located in the downtown area.

A good way to see Buffalo is from the observation deck at the top of the 30-story City Hall. Buffalo has the third-oldest zoo in the United States; a science museum; historical museum; the renowned Albright-Knox Art Gallery; and Kleinhans Music Hall, known for its excellent acoustical qualities 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. Buffalo is home to the Buffalo Bills, a charter member of the American Football League now in the NFL; the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League; and the Buffalo Bisons of the International Baseball League.

The world-famous Buffalo chicken wings were invented in a Buffalo bar (The Anchor Bar) in 1964. The city is also famous as the birthplace of folk singer and songwriter Ani DiFranco, as well as the home of her independent record label, Righteous Babe Records. The Goo Goo Dolls and Rick James also hail from this city, as did: songwriter Harold Arlen; author Taylor Caldwell; Fran Stryker, the creator of the Lone Ranger; and the 1940s seminal harmonic group, the Modernaires; as well as the thirteenth president of the United States, Millard Fillmore, who founded the University of Buffalo.

Several US Navy ships have been named USS Buffalo in honor of the city.

The city is served by the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.


The first European settlement in what is now Erie County was in 1758 by the French at the mouth of Buffalo Creek. It was destroyed a year later because of an impending English attack.

The first American to settle in Buffalo was Cornelius Winney in 1789, who set up a log cabin store for trading with the Native American community there. The land upon which Buffalo was built was part of the Holland Land Purchase and was sold through the Holland Land Company's office in Batavia, New York, starting in 1801. By 1811, there was an Anglo-American village of some 500 people at Buffalo. In 1808 the new Niagara County, New York was formed (which at the time included what is now Erie County), with Buffalo as the county seat.

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 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.

Buffalo was a terminus of the Underground Railroad, an informal series of safe houses for runaway slaves from the U. S. South. After hiding at the Michigan Avenue Baptist Church, the slaves would take a ferry to Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada and to their freedom.

Several U.S. presidents are connected to Buffalo history. 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 only a few presidents to be sworn in outside of Washington. With over half a million people, and many immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Poland, Buffalo was one of the major cities of the United States at the time.

Main Street and Lafayette Square, Buffalo, N.Y.
from a 1922 postcard

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 King Edward VIII), his brother Prince Albert George (later King George VI), and Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin from the United Kingdom, Canada's Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King, US Vice President Charles G. Dawes, and New York governor Alfred E. Smith.

Other famous Buffalonians include baseball pitcher Warren Spahn, Howdy Doody host Buffalo Bob Smith, actor James Whitmore, Iroquois leader Red Jacket, and Wells-Fargo founder William G. Wells.

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


Buffalo is located at 42°54'17" North, 78°50'58" West (42.904657, -78.849405)1.

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.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 292,648 people, 122,720 households, and 67,005 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,782.4/km² (7,205.8/mi²). There are 145,574 housing units at an average density of 1,384.1/km² (3,584.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 54.43% White, 37.23% African American, 0.77% Native American, 1.40% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.68% from other races, and 2.45% from two or more races. 7.54% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 122,720 households out of which 28.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 27.6% are married couples living together, 22.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 45.4% are non-families. 37.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.1% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.29 and the average family size is 3.07.

In the city the population is spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 11.3% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 83.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $24,536, and the median income for a family is $30,614. Males have a median income of $30,938 versus $23,982 for females. The per capita income for the city is $14,991. 26.6% of the population and 23.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 38.4% are under the age of 18 and 14.0% are 65 or older.


The heavy snowfalls of the region are caused by below-freezing winds blowing over the warmer water of Lake Erie. Often the meandering "snow belts" are only ten or fifteen miles wide, with sun shining in one spot, and a raging lake effect blizzard occurring only a mile or two away.

Sports Teams

Buffalo is the home of many professional and semi-pro sports teams. These include the Buffalo Bills (American football), Buffalo Sabres (hockey), Buffalo Bisons (AAA baseball), and Buffalo Bandits (indoor lacrosse).


The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, or NFTA, operates public transit throughout the Buffalo area. The NFTA runs a number of busses through the city and suburbs, as well as an 8-mile Metro Rail system in the city. The NFTA also operates Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

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