The Rand Building – No Respect

The Rand Building was built in 1929, just as the country was torn from the Roaring Twenties and plunged into the Great Depression of the 1930’s.  It was in fact, the last skyscraper completed in Buffalo before the stock market crashed.

It was designed by Franklyn & William Kidd along with James W. Kideney & Associates. And although you can’t miss it in the Buffalo skyline, it seems to be the Rodney Dangerfield of Buffalo Architecture.  It just doesn’t get much respect.  I mean, it’s supposedly the inspiration behind the Empire State Building! 

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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A Walk Through the Village of Williamsville

Last night I went for a walk with my friend Cathy.  We have this little custom of driving to different areas to walk.  Keeps it fresh, plus we both love looking at homes and generally enjoy seeing different parts of Buffalo.

This time it was my choice, and I told her I wanted her to take me on a tour of Williamsville.  Cathy’s office is in the village, and I know that as a busy small business owner she’s been taking walks through the village now and again to get out of the office, relax and meet her neighbors.  The Village of Williamsville is probably one of the best spots around to do just that.

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The Dun Building – Tall and Strong

The Dun Building.  It’s one that I’ve been admiring for a long, long time.  There’s just something about it.  For roughly 15 years, I drove toward it on Swan Street on my way to work.  It’s my favorite view of it.  I walked by it daily as well.  And still when I see it, I get a feeling that I don’t quite know how to describe.  

The Dun Building was designed by none other than E.B. Green and William Wicks for the Union Central Life Insurance Company, who placed a contingency on the plan stating that they’d build it if enough Buffalonians bought policies with their company.  Buffalonians didn’t, and the plans were acquired and set into motion by R.G. Dun & Company. 

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The Tall Ships in Buffalo – Basil Port of Call Buffalo

When I was a kid, my Aunt was somewhat of a local celebrity in military circles here in Buffalo.  She was one of the first women in the country to become a U.S. Navy Seabee. So whenever anything happened of Naval importance in Buffalo, she was always involved, and was almost always invited as an honored guest.

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Unity Island – Then & Now

In 1802 New York State Purchased the mile wide strip of Native land along the Niagara River known as the New York State Reservation.  This property became known as Black Rock, named for an actual black rock formation that jutted out into the Niagara River near where the Peace Bridge is today.  Black Rock was a village in its own right and the fledgling village of Buffalo was further south near where the Niagara River, Lake Erie and the Buffalo Creek all come together.

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Summer in Buffalo!

I know it’s the kind of thing that we as Buffalonians, rarely think about but take a moment right now to think about where we live.

Buffalo is located at the convergence of three great bodies of water.  Lake Erie, the Buffalo River, and the Niagara River. Now I could go into a long story about Buffalo’s history and how these three affected the city and it’s growth, and normally I would.  But today I’m going in a completely different direction.

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Buffalo’s Residential Parks, Part 3 of 3: Johnson Park

This is the last in my three part series about Buffalo’s Residential Parks.  Click the links if you are interested reading about part one, Day’s Park, and part two, Arlington Park.

The West Village Historic District of Buffalo is a 22 acre neighborhood in one of the city’s oldest residential areas.  It is one of only a few in our country to achieve three designations as an Historic District under both the City of Buffalo and New York State, and it is also listed in the Federal National Register of Historic Places. The jewel of the West Village Historic District is unquestionably Johnson Park.

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Buffalo’s Residential Parks, Part 2 of 3: Arlington Park

Several years ago now, I heard a story about a particular house in Arlington Park.  The person telling it spoke about the architectural detail, the unique building process and the care that has been taken to keep the structure original.  I had no idea where Arlington Park was. Of course I asked a few questions and the next chance I had, I took off to explore. Here’s a photo of that house.  To my eye, it’s enchanting. And it sparked a real interest in residential parks.

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The Old Post Office – Erie Community College City Campus

 

Thomas Jefferson appointed Erastus Granger as the first Postmaster General of Buffalo when we were just a small village.  Buffalo’s first post office opened in 1804, the same year Joseph Ellicott laid out the unique radial streets design of the city of Buffalo.

Granger set up shop at a desk in Crow’s Tavern, located at the southwest corner of what is now Exchange and Washington Streets.  Remember that at this time a tavern was more than just a place to grab a drink and a quick bite. To a small frontier town, the tavern was the place to get the latest news or pick up much needed items for frontier life.  The tavern even acted as a polling place at times and in this case, it was a post office as well.  We didn’t have a dedicated building for our post office until 1837, when a building was purchased at the corner of Washington and Seneca Streets.

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