Olmsted Park and Parkway System - Table of Contents

Gates Circle
Buffalo, NY

Chapin Parkway originates at Gates Circle, originally known as Chapin Place.

Gates Circle, named in 1902, was completed under the generosity of Mrs. Charles W. Pardee, a member of the Gates family, who was a resident of nearby 938 Delaware Avenue. Mrs. Pardee underwrote the extensive work, done by E.B. Green, to upgrade this public space. Fountains, stairways and greenery were added to the circle and created an appropriate venue for the grand homes along
Chapin Parkway.

Gates Circle is part of the Olmsted Park and Parkway Sytem which is listed on the National Register of Historic Properties and is a designated Local Historic District. See Historic Districts for more information.

Georgie B. Gates Pardee
By Patrick Kavanagh

As a dedication and lasting honor to her parents, Mrs. Pardee petitioned to have the area then known as Chapin Place (Chapin Place was named in honor of Col. Edward Chapin, who belonged to the 116th Infantry, and was killed at Port Hudson in 1863, during the Civil War), changed to Gates Circle.

In return for this name change, Mrs. Pardee offered to pay for the fountain and layout of the circle. E.B. Green designed the layout of Gates Circle. His design incorporated the ornate light standards and fountain from the Pan American Exposition which was held in Buffalo in 1901.

The GAR adamantly objected to this proposal; however, Mrs. Pardee won out and since 1903, this circle has been known as Gates Circle, as Mrs. Pardee wished.

Fascinating secret

If you sit on the outermost circular stone bench of the fountain and speak to a lover (or otherwise confederate) some distance away, your whisperings can be heard from far away. Note well! because the outer ring of seats is broken by gaps, this phenomenon only works within the unbroken segments.

Many famous cathedrals and edifices have "whispering galleries," but this is the only one in Buffalo that I know of.

- Firstmate



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