The History of Buffalo: A Chronology
Buffalo, New York

1901-1913
1901 The Pan-Am Exposition to 1913 The Eve of W.W. I

1664
1679
1689

1721

1722
1759
1774
1775
1780
1785
1786
1788
1789
1790
1791
1792
1793
1794
1795
1797
1798
1800
1801
1802
1803
1804
1805
1806
1807
1808
1809
1810
1811
1812
1813
1814
1815
1816
1817
1818
1819
1820
1821
1822
1823
1824
1825
1826
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1828
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1830
1831
1832
1833
1834
1835
1836
1837
1838
1839
1840
1841
1843
1844
1845
1846
1847
1848
1849
1850
1851
1852
1853
1854
1855
1856
1857
1858
1859
1860
1861
1862
1863
1864
1865
1866
1867
1868
1869
1870
1871
1872
1873
1874
1875
1876
1877
1878
1879
1880
1881
1882
1883
1884
1885
1886
1887
1888
1889
1890
1891
1892
1893
1894
1895
1896
1897
1898
1899
1900
1901
1902
1903
1904
1905
1906
1907
1908
1909
1910
1911
1912
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917
1918
1919
1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1945
1929
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
1965
1966 1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000

2001
2002

INDEX
SOURCES

1901

1900s: Buffalo celebrates the dawn of the new century in grand style. The Pan-American Exposition of 1901 is a flamboyant display of vitality and wealth put on for all the world to see. But the heady optimism of those days is marred by the assassination of President William McKinley during a visit to the fairgrounds.

Electricity, a focal point of the Exposition will soon join technological innovations such as telephone service, automotive transportation, cinema, radio, and powered flight in the mainstream of American life.
-- Source: "Buffalo News: Headlines & History
"

Pan-American Exposition:

May 1 Pan-American Exposition opens

Sept.. 5 President McKinley visits the Pan-Am on President's Day

Sept. 6 The president visits the fair for a 4 p.m. reception in the
Temple of Music. Leon Czolgosz shoots him twice with a pistol. McKinley is operated on in the expo's hospital and taken to the home of Pan-Am President John Milburn to recuperate.

Sept. 14 President McKinley dies at
John Milburn's house

Sept.. 14. Theodore Roosevelt is sworn in as president in the library of
Ansley Wilcox's home at 641 Delaware Ave., now the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

Sept. 23 Leon Czolgosz is found guilty of killing the president.

Oct. 29
Czolgosz is electrocuted in the state's electric chair at Auburn Prison.

Nov. 1 Exposition closes


1901 City map


Hotel Fillmore - established by Millard Fillmore's son after the former president's death - is renamed the Castle Inn to take advantage of Pan-Am Expo business



Brewing Industry:
Grain trades lead to development of a brewing industry, with 19 independently owned breweries in the city, the largest being the Gerhard Lang Company

Buffalo is the 8th largest city in the US in terms of population.



Oct. 23 Buffalo Pottery is founded as part of the
Larkin Soap Co., a soap manufacturer that grew into one of the country's largest mail-order companies. As a marketing strategy to spur soap sales, founder John D. Larkin gives away pottery to soap buyers. Buffalo Pottery will change its name in 1956 to Buffalo China Inc.



Oct. 24 Annie Edson Taylor goes over Niagara Falls in a barrel.



Buffalo hosts the biennial meeting of the National Association of Colored Women. Buildings erected:

1902

Buildings erected:

  • The Green & Wicks-designed YMCA Hotel, which opens in 1902, contains 1800 rooms. The Buffalo YMCA is one of the first, if not the first, Association building to provide extensive accommodations for lodgers.

  • Hotel Touraine

  • Emergency Hospital opens in February at Pine and Eagle Streets. It later becomes Sheehan Emergency.

  • Kenilworth Park racetrack (Photo) in Tonawanda opens for business. It will close in 1908.



Pratt and Lambert, the largest varnish company in the world at the time, announces plan in February to move U.S. headquarters to Buffalo.



There are 500 automobiles in Buffalo and a chapter of the Automobile Club of America actively lobbying on behalf of the city's motorists.


Buffalonian Willis Carrier invents the air conditioner.


Scranton, Pa., has a dwindling coal supply and a growing steelworkers' union. Buffalonians like John Milburn, the Goodyear brothers, John Albright, W. C. Ely (International Railroad Company president), George Urban, Jacob Schoellkopf convince Walter Scranton, the president of the Lackawanna Iron and Steel Company of Scranton, Pennsylvania to relocate to the Buffalo area..

John Albright quietly bought over one thousand acres of land in the adjoining county of West Seneca. The city of Buffalo and New York State added 325 acres. (Later the city will be renamed Lackawanna.)

The Lackawanna Iron and Steel Company begins making steel using the first installed Bessemer Converter. In October 1922, the company will be consolidated into the Bethlehem Steel Co.

1903

On December 17, 1903, amid the dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Wilbur and Orville Wright achieved one of civilized man's fondest dreams - flight. It lasts only twelve seconds, but that brief flight of a manned, heavier-than-air machine ushers in the age of aviation. Ironically, this milestone, which marks one of the greatest advancements in the history of man, is witnessed by only a handful of people and is largely overlooked by most newspapers of the day.


Buildings erected:

1904

Appendix and Index to Volume 7 of the Buffalo Historical Society Publications Reprinted by Cornell U.


The Larkin Factory Administration Building, 680 Seneca St. is Frank Lloyd Wright's first completed nonresidential commission, and it so dramatically breaks with the historicist styles then dominating Western architecture that, by the year 2000, it is considered one of the most significant buildings in the world, signaling the beginning of the Modernism.

The Larkin company will go bankrupt in the Depression (although the mail order business will continue until 1967), and the City of Buffalo will acquire the Administration building in tax forfeiture. It will attempt to market the Larkin, then will raze it in 1950 for a truck stop restaurant that never materializes. Buffalo's city government is now the author of the most famous vacant lot in American architectural history.

The North Presbyterian Church on Main and Huron is demolished and replaced by the Hippodrome Theatre

The largest milling company in Buffalo is the Urban Company. The first in the United States to be powered by electricity, the Urban mills are capable of producing 1,200 barrels of flour daily. George Urban Jr. is the president of the company.

Buildings erected:

1905

Lumber: The passage of lumber through the port of Buffalo makes the city one of the great lumber centers in the country. In the early days following the completion of the Erie Canal, Buffalo merchants had handled the shipment of lumber and were involved in all aspects of the lumber trade.

Some, like Frank and Charles Goodyear, by buying up millions of acres of Pennsylvania timber land, had come to control the initial stages of lumber production.

In 1905 the Goodyear brothers buy half a million more acres of timber lands on the Bogue Lusa Creek in Washington Parish, Louisiana. Their company, the Southern Lumber Company, builds several saw mills and a railroad, and plans a town, "complete with its own colored quarters."

  • Bogalusa Story by C. W. Goodyear (Charles' grandson). E-text of a 1950 book that includes photos and text about the Goodyear brothers and their investment in Louisiana forests and the town of Bogalusa in 1906
  • Buffalo and Susquehanna Iron Company Illustrations, history



Buffalo's population: 376,587; Erie County's: 473,700.

The Niagara Movement, held in Buffalo, encourages discussion and actions that contribute to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Led by William E.B. DuBois, who is assisted by Buffalonians Mary Talbert and the Rev. Jesse Edward Nash, the organization attempts to "aggressively and unconditionally seek the civil rights for their people that all other Americans enjoyed." Mary Talber, is a prominent member of Buffalo's Michigan Street Baptist Church.


Buildings erected:

1906

Appendix A, B, C, Buffalo Historical Society Publications and Index (1837-1838) Reprinted by Cornell U.



James N. Adam elected mayor (1906-1909). He co-founded the J. N. Adam department store

His brother was
Robert B. Adam, who was a co-founder of Adam, Meldrum and Anderson department store. The brothers were immigrants from Scotland.


Pandemonium breaks out one fine day in 1906 when a large dark object appears in the sky. Carriages, wagons, streetcars, automobiles and bicycles halt in their tracks as Buffalonians crane their necks to peer at the cigar-shaped object overhead. The record shows that "Every street car on Main Street was stopped and all the children were let out of school to watch it. For two hours you couldn't get a telephone connection because everybody was at the windows."

Thus is Buffalo introduced to the Aviation Age. The Aero Club of Buffalo, oldest such club in America, arranges the visit of a dirigible to Western New York to stimulate broader interest in aviation. It is most successful. During the first half of the twentieth century the Niagara Frontier will become one of the nation's leading aviation centers.


Buildings erected:

1907

The Common Council approves the extension of Elmwood Avenue through Johnson Park. That extension and the building of a streetcar line signals the beginning of Johnson Park's decline as an elegant, inner-city residential neighborhood.


Buildings erected:

1908

Bruce M. Shanks, Buffalo Evening News editorial cartoonist born.

In 1951, Shanks, 43, former sports cartoonist at the Buffalo Times, will be named editorial cartoonist of the Buffalo Evening News, succeeding William H. Summers, who died Mar 17 1951.

In 1958, Shanks, 50, Buffalo Evening News editorial cartoonist, will win the 1958 Pulitzer Prize for journalism for Editorial Cartooning for his cartoon "The Thinker," portraying labor union members troubled by racketeering union leaders.

Shanks will die in 1958.



Auto Industry
Thirty independent automobile companies will operate in Buffalo during the first quarter of the 20th century, producing among them the Kensington, the Babcock Electric, and the
Pierce. The two most famous are the Thomas Flyer and Pierce-Arrow.

In 1908. the Flyer took first place in a 16,000 mile race from New York to Paris. During this 16-month trip, the cars traveled the primitive roads of western U.S., Siberia, and eastern Europe.


Buildings erected:

1909

The Co-Operative Amusement Company, composed of over 100 stockholders, largely businessmen and professionals from the East Side, build the "fireproof" Savoy movie theatre with a Neoclassical frontage at the corner of William and Krettner. The architect is Henry L. Spann, who later will design Shea's North Park Theatre, which still operates in 2002 on Hertel Avenue.

The Mirror Theatre - a nickelodeon - is built at 311 Connecticut, corner of Plymouth. In 2002, it is a bar and banquet hall called the Armory.


The first local "flying machine" built of sticks, wire and cloth in an East side barn, is hauled to the Buffalo Country Club polo field at Main and Bailey and flies to a height of four feet above the ground and promptly crashes.



Buffalo becomes one of the first cities in the nation to provide vocational education for high school students.


Buildings erected:

1910

Industry booms in the early years of the twentieth century, particularly the iron and steel industries.

  • In 1910 over ten thousand people work in the more than 150 iron and steel factories in the city (six thousand worked at Lackawanna). But still, despite their dominance, iron and steel represented only ten percent of Buffalo's industrial output.
  • Over 3,600 people now work in the automobile industry,
  • 3,400 in the manufacture and repair of railroad cars, and
  • 1,800 in the manufacture of copper.

Meanwhile, Buffalo's commercial orientation, rooted in the city's traditional function as a clearinghouse for the raw products of the Midwest, remains strong and diversified.

  • On one September day in 1910 thirty-one ships arrive in the harbor carrying lumber, livestock, pig iron, corn, flour, barley, rye, and over one million tons of grain.
  • The next day thirty-three boats docked

In 1910 Buffalo is still the greatest grain port in the world, and shows every sign of so remaining. Because of its superb shipping and storage facilities - the dozen or so gigantic steel elevators that line the lakefront handle two million bushels of grain daily - Buffalo is second only to Minneapolis as a milling center.


Buffalo's population: 423,715; Erie County's: 528,985.


Buffalo's Aero Club sponsors a successful flight from the Buffalo Country Club polo field at Main and Bailey by A. L. Pfitzner.



Thomas Edison demonstrated the first talking motion picture.


Polish and Italian immigrants: The communities created by Buffalo's Polish and Italian immigrants are similar in many respects. Sharply defined by class and ethnicity, identified by and named after a virtually endless litany of parish churches - St. Anthony's, St. Girard's, Assumption, Annunciation, St. Florian's, St. Stanislaus, Holy Angels, Holy Family, Corpus Christi - they flourished, tribelike and tightly-knit, revolving around home, family, and neighborhood. Behind the curtain of ethnicity that separates these communities from the rest of the city (contemporaries referred to them as "cities within the city"), there is great diversity.


Buildings erected:

1911

Encyclopedia Britannica. 1911 entry on Buffalo



A leading early stunt flyer, Lincoln Beachy, has been taught to to fly by Glenn Curtiss and demonstrates his talent in June on the Niagara Frontier in a Curtiss biplane

He roars off the field at the old Driving Park at East Ferry and Humboldt Parkway, thrilling 20,000 enthusiasts at the Buffalo Aviation Meet, then heads over for Niagara Falls where he wins a $1000 prize for flying into the gorge, passing over the "Maid of the Mist" boat and under the Honeymoon Bridge.

Driving Park is bounded by E. Ferry, Jefferson, Northland, and Humboldt Parkway. Later it will be named the Buffalo Fair Grounds, and then as the Hamlin Park neighborhood.

The Dziennik dla Wszystkich, "Everybody's Daily," was Buffalo's Polish daily newpaper. This paper contained many death notices of local residents or Polish immigrants which makes this paper a valuable resource for genealogists researching their Polish ancestors. The newspaper ran from 1911 thru 1957 with some months missing and some periods during WW2 not containing any death notices because they were National Editions. Sometimes the death notices contain the place in Poland where the person was born, but usually just says born in Poland. It sometimes states the age and how many years the person was in America. Most list family members of deceased.
- Source:
Dziennik dla Wszystkich Project
Buildings erected:

1912

The semi-centennial of the Buffalo historical society, May 20, 1912 Reprinted by Cornell U.


John E. Brent, Buffalo's first professional African-American architect, moves to Buffalo, having graduated from the School of Architecture at Drexel Institute the previous year.

In 1926, John E. Brent will become the second African-American to design a "colored" YMCA, Buffalo's Michigan Avenue YMCA. It will open in April 1928.

Brent will be a founding member of the Buffalo chapter of the NAACP, serving as its first president.



25 people drown at Eagle Park when the excursion dock at the Grand Island resort collapses, dropping 60 into the water

The Central Presbyterian Church on Pearl and Genessee gives way to the Majestic Theatre.


The Common Council votes to extend Broadway through Lafayette Square to Main Street, and "to devote to street purposes all that part of the Square except for a small circle around the Soldiers and Sailors Monument."
Buildings erected:

1913

Appendix and Index to Volume 17 of the Buffalo Historical Society Publications Reprinted by Cornell U.


Buffalonian Mary Phelps Jacob invents the bra.

Buildings erected:

See also:



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