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.  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 to go 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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Old County Hall

Several years ago I worked in the Seneca One Tower (then the HSBC Building).  One lunch hour I walked over to city hall for a tour with my sister, who had her office there at the time. On the way I passed by the Old County Hall.  The last time I even noticed this building was when I had Erie County jury duty roughly a month after 9/11/2001.  While waiting to be called for selection, there was a bomb threat and we had to evacuate the building.  Probably why I never noticed the incredible architecture the building holds.  And since then, I’ve learned a lot of the equally incredible history of the building as well.

The story of this building begins in Buffalo’s earliest days.

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The Ellicott Square Building & Its Namesake

As long as I can remember the Ellicott Square Building has always just been there.  Over the years, I’ve eaten lunch here.  I’ve shopped here. I’ve paid my monthly parking fees here.  I’ve even passed through the building in order to warm up on my way to or from someplace close by. What I mean is, I knew it was beautiful, but I was always too busy to really take notice.

Let’s take notice now.

To do that, we’ll start with its namesake.  It was named for Joseph Ellicott, who was an agent for the Holland Land Company, who owned all of Western New York at one time.  In 1804 Ellicott laid out the streets of Buffalo. While doing so, he purchased the piece of property that the Ellicott Square Building stands on. The plot was originally much larger and spanned from Swan Street to Eagle Street (now South Division), and from Main Street all the way out to Jefferson Avenue.

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