Bird Island Pier - Table of Contents.........................Buffalo Waterfront - Table of Contents

Bird Island Pier - Group 3
Buffalo, NY
TEXT Beneath Illustrations



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West Side Rowing Club

West Side Rowing Club

West Side Rowing Club

West Side Rowing Club

West Side Rowing Club
  (online June 2014)


 

 

Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Boathouse under construction


Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Boathouse under construction

Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Boathouse under construction

Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Boathouse under construction


 

 

 

 

Great Lakes Center

Great Lakes Center

 

 

 


The Great Lakes Center of Buffalo State College

The Great Lakes Center of Buffalo State College

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buffalo Yacht Club

Buffalo Yacht Club

Buffalo Yacht Club

 


Chief Petty Officers' Club ..... Buffalo Yacht Club ..... Ward Pumping Station


Buffalo Yacht Club ..... Ward Pumping Station

 

 

 

 

 

Buffalo Water Intake Building

Buffalo Water Intake Building

Buffalo Water Intake Building



Buffalo Water Intake Building

 

 


Buffalo Yacht Club
By David M. Rote, Buffalo Yacht Club   (online June 2014)

On August 10, 1860, the Buffalo Yacht Club was formed with John S. Newkirk as first commodore. On August 22nd of the year, the first regatta was organized, a tradition carried on to the present time. The first dock facility of the fledgling club was at the Union Elevator property at the foot of Erie Street on the Erie Basin. In 1864 the first of six clubhouses built over the years was erected. Several were located on the Bird Island Pier. By 1893, a new clubhouse, set on piles, was built at the foot of Porter Avenue opposite the new Colonel Ward Pumping Station. The clubhouse was later relocated to its present site, just northwest of the 1893 location.

In 1901 Buffalo prepared for the Pan-American Exposition and moorings were made available at the Buffalo Yacht Club for visiting yachtsmen. Regattas, complete with prizes, were set up throughout the summer months and the clubhouse bustled with activity. In 1913, the Yacht Club hosted Commodore Perry's flagship Niagara during the Oliver Hazard Perry Centennial celebrations and the thousands of area citizens visited the ship daily. Perry is honored with a bronze statue located at nearby Front Park.

Dutch Bill's
By Joseph Rennie, A Fisherman's View of the buffalo Waterfront and Niagara River  (online June 2014)

One of the earliest boat liveries was Dutch Bill's, a large, ramshackle house perched on the Bird Island Pier. Bill's was roughly opposite the present day Chief Petty Officer's Club, Naval Reserve and West Side Rowing Club.

It was torn down in 1909 by the Army Corps of Engineers as part of "improvements" to Black Rock Harbor that would include the Black Rock Lock. Dutch Bill's was reputed to have been there for at least 40 years.

"Bill" was William Roth, a retired signalman for the Grand Trunk Railroad. He originally built a shed on the pier to store his fishing tackle. Over the years, he allowed other fishermen to store their gear at his shed. As a result the shed expanded and become a real hangout for local anglers. Local legend includes among them former Buffalo sheriff and Mayor Grover Cleveland, who was an avid angler.

The shack withstood the effects of lake storms, ice jams and wakes of passing ships.
When the Corps of Engineers ordered Roth to leave, he fought the demolition in court for two years.


Photos and their arrangement 2007 Chuck LaChiusa
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