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Broderick Park
1170 Niagara St., Buffalo, NY
Broderick Park, following an elongated shape, is located on the southern tip of Unity Island between the Niagara River and the Black Rock Canal.
The park overlooks the Canada–US border and is situated within view of the Peace Bridge.

The park occupies an area that once housed docks for the Black Rock Ferry, which is known to have transported fugitive slaves to Canada as part of the Underground Railroad.

These activities were particularly precipitated by the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which to some measure brought about the 'nationalizing' of some of the consequences of the slavery practiced in the Southern states, and hence the increased flow of African-Americans travelers seeking liberty in Canada. Ironically it was Buffalo's own Millard Fillmore who, as President of the United States, signed this measure into law.

In 2008, funding shortfalls led to an unsuccessful proposal calling for Broderick Park to be transferred from the City of Buffalo to the State of New York, to become part of a future state park.

In 2012, plans were announced for a $1.5 million revitalization of the park, with plans for a new amphitheater, improved facilities, and a new memorial celebrating the park's involvement in the Underground Railroad. The project commenced in 2013.
- Wikipedia   (online October 2020)




One of Buffalo's oldest parks is getting some substantial renovations.  Broderick Park at the foot of Ferry Street will receive nearly $1.5 million in improvements.

Major renovations for the historic site were unveiled Thursday night at a public meeting at Rich Renaissance Center.

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Executive Director Jill Jedlicka says her group has long been involved in planning for the park

"When you approach it by Niagara Street, most folks don't even know it is there," said Jedlilcka.  "And you see the Peace Bridge and you see the  flowing Niagara,  and you really feel all the beauty and history at that site, that's what makes it so special."

The park is little-known and well-known.  A key element in the history of slavery and freedom on the Underground Railroad and  a key recreational element for the growing and increasingly multi-lingual West Side.

It was the last stop on the long walk to freedom in Canada, with many dying trying to cross. The thousands of drivers who cruise down the Niagara Section every day don't realize that long sliver of land and the breakwall toward the Peace Bridge usually filled with anglers and walkers is Broderick Park, reached by an unmarked walk or drive along the brick section of Ferry Street.

Niagara District Common Council member David Rivera said the park is very important to the West Side and to the city but even more important to some.

"Many people come to this park from all over the country because it is part of the Underground Railroad," said Rivera.
- Mike Desmond, Broderick Park Master Plan Unveiled.  WBFO, July 13, 2012   (online October 2020)




Located on the southern end of Unity Island, with primary access from the foot of West Ferry Street, it is steeped in international, national, and local history, including, perhaps most significantly, its association with the Underground Railroad.

The plan proposed additional green space, a re-worked parking layout, an enhanced concession area, an amphitheater and performance plaza, a new family gathering area and shelter, a great lawn and large event space, a contemplative garden, a ‘Freedom Walk’ to be incorporated throughout the site, and a re-routing of the Riverwalk to create safe separation of activities that enhance both the popular angling area and the multi-modal trailway on the west side of the park.

- Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, 2019 (online October 2020)



2004 Photos
Looking south and west


  Peace Bridge and Niagara River



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Renovated park:  Shelter   ...    Interpretive Center with Restrooms and Concessions



Ferry Street Lift Bridge




Interpretive Center with Restrooms and Concessions




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Photos and their arrangement  2017 Chuck LaChiusa
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