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Buffalo

Buffalo (pronounced /ˈbʌfəloʊ/[4]), is the second largest city in New York State. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River, Buffalo is the principal city of the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area and the seat of Erie County.[5] The city itself has a population of 292,648 (2000 Census)[6], and the metropolitan area 1,170,111 (2000 Census)[7], the 46th largest in the United States.

Originating around 1789 as a small trading community near the eponymous Buffalo Creek,[1] Buffalo grew quickly after the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, with the city as its terminus. By 1900, Buffalo was the 8th largest city in the country, [8] and went on to become a major railroad hub,[9] the largest grain-milling center in the country, [10] and the home of the largest steel-making operation in the world. [11] The latter part of the 20th Century saw a reversal of fortunes: by the year 2000 the city had fallen back below its 1900 population levels. The rerouting of Great Lakes shipping by the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway was a factor in the decline of the city. The closing or relocating of many of the steel mills and other heavy industries in the area also contributed to the decline.

The name "Buffalo" may be derived from the French phrase beau fleuve, "beautiful river", a description of Buffalo Creek and the Niagara River; the matter is uncertain, but it is clear that there were no bison in the area. [12] It likely dates from the mid-18th century, when the area was first settled by Europeans. The area was originally settled by a Neutral Nation tribe, the Ongiara. Later, the Senecas of the Iroquois Confederacy won control over this land from the Neutrals. In 1804, Joseph Ellicott, a principal agent of the Holland Land Company, designed a radial street and grid system that branches out from downtown like bicycle spokes[13], and is one of only three radial street patterns in the US.[citation needed] During the War of 1812, on December 30, 1813, the village of Buffalo was burned by British forces. On November 4, 1825 the Erie Canal was completed with Buffalo being at the western end of the system. The population at the time was about 2,400. The Erie Canal brought a surge in population and commerce which led Buffalo to incorporate as a city in 1832 with a population of about 10,000 people.

The City of Buffalo has been a long time home to the African-American community. An example is the 1828 village directory which listed 59 "Names of Coloured" heads of families.[14] In 1845, construction was begun on the Macedonia Baptist Church (commonly called the Michigan Street Baptist Church). This African-American church was an important meeting place for the abolitionist movement. On February 12, 1974 the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Abolitionist leaders like William Wells Brown also made their home in Buffalo.[15] Buffalo was also a terminus point of the Underground Railroad with many fugitives crossing the Niagara River from Buffalo to Fort Erie, Ontario and freedom.


The article above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Buffalo, New York".