A letter from BUFFALO
The French believe that I had a beautiful river, which in their native tongue was; Le Beau Flu eve. This is how I honorably received my name. The first people that basked in my beauty were the Natives. By 1800, three Englishmen settled amongst my meadows. By 1804 there were 20 taxable settlers and by 1813 there were 400 people that built about 100 houses and stores on my fertile lands. I, Buffalo, had officially become a village; that was until later that year when the British people torched everything in site. On New Years Day of 1814, they finished the job. My lands were burnt and of miserable façade. The peoples of my land found refuge from some of the Natives while rebuilding. A few years had gone by and rebuilding took place when I discovered that I might be the end of the Erie Canal! There was one major problem standing in my way, my reveling neighbor, Black Rock. Would it be me or would it be Black Rock that would be blessed as the western terminus of the Erie Canal? Political games and belligerent fighting took place to make this decision. Three men, Wilkeson, Coit, and Townsend put forth money, time, and whiskey to get participants to expand the mouth of the bar. If we could do so, then a ship named The Superior would be able to successfully port in my harbor and I would be the finale to the Erie Canal! The mission was a success! The 363 mile long canal would soon be the factor that would lead me to become a boomtown! The masterpiece was completed in 1825 mostly by Irishmen that left their country due to the blight. My land became known world-wide and became a fundamental asset all around the Great Lakes. By 1901 I had become the 8th largest city in the country with a population of 350,000 people. I had the most paved roads in all of the world, I was a major center for commerce, immigration, and industry! My climate was delightful due to the breezes from Lake Erie. I boasted an extensive, breath-taking park system designed by the notable Fredrick Law Olmstead. Because of Dr. Roswell Park, I was renowned for my sanitation. All of these attributes, along with me being so close to Niagara Falls, were the reasons why I was asked to host the Pan American Exposition in 1901. The World’s Fair made it clear to the world that the United State was the hemispheric, if not the world’s imperialistic leader! The exhibition also showcased the old innovative technology that would lead us into a new century! I felt blessed to be chosen for the fair, until on Sep. 6, an angry anarchist named Leon Czolgosz decided that he was going to put an end to our 25th President, William McKinley. This was a sad time for me. People became angry at me, as if I was the one that put the bullet in the President’s stomach. The exhibition drearily ended in November. After that, it seemed that one curse after another would strike my lands. The St. Lawrence Seaway bypassed the need for my beloved Erie Canal causing it to become obsolete and nothing but a breeding ground for disease. All of my bubbling breweries, that made me known again to the country, were halted because prohibition. The grand Central Terminal was built too far on my outskirts and was built too close to when the Great Depression struck me and the rest of the country. When we finally overcame the Depression, suburbanization took place. All of a sudden, all of the people that I loyally provided a home to for oh so long; left me and moved to the burbs. Then, city essentials such as The University of Buffalo and the Ralph Wilson Stadium were not built in the heart of my lands. A world-known steel producing plant, named Bethlehem Steel that provided income to so many of my peoples shut their doors. My lands that were once inhabited by philanthropists, the famous, the wealthy, the innovative thinkers, and the architects became ghostly memories. The liberty loving, working class men and women of my land struggled to maintain their identity. They had to hold on by things stronger than material and money… they held on by culture, foods, and by being good neighbors. My true and genuine Buffalonians stayed knowing that we have the potential to be thriving again. Most of those that did leave because they believed that better opportunities lied elsewhere had returned because my land is home. I am reaching out to the young people of my city and asking them to spread the word to those around the Nation that I am misconceived. My winters are better than tornadoes and earthquakes, “wide-right” and “no goal” do not define our city, and the crime rate is, holistically, not something to fear. I have poise, grandeur, history, character, definition, culture, and most importantly amazing inhabitants. I need the people to believe in me again and to be patient. My magnificent congressman, Brian Higgins, and all of the organizations and committees are working tirelessly to make me revitalized! Change is coming! My historic significance will be relevant in innovative design! Small business will rule again! Architects will visit and relocate here again. I will become a city again!
Written by Danielle Huber