The History of
Buffalo: A Chronology
Buffalo, New York
1901 The Pan-Am Exposition to 1913 The Eve of W.W. I
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
M. Shanks, Buffalo Evening News editorial cartoonist born.
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.
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 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.
Industry booms in the early years of the twentieth century, particularly the iron and steel industries.
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.
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.
Britannica. 1911 entry on
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
semi-centennial of the Buffalo historical society, May 20, 1912 Reprinted by
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."
and Index to Volume 17 of the Buffalo Historical Society Publications
Reprinted by Cornell U.
Buffalonian Mary Phelps Jacob invents the bra.