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Hope For Olmsted’s Lost Quarry Bridge and Garden

While eating at The Lunch Box this past week I came across this old photo in the adjoining lawn bowling clubhouse. Have you ever walked around the Parkside Lodge and noticed that there is an old stone walkway that serves no purpose other than being aesthetically pleasing? Well, that walkway was once a fully functioning bridge that traversed the historic Delaware Park Quarry Garden.

When looking at this photo, it’s easy to imagine that the structure was the sister bridge to the one that is located over near Hoyt Lake. To think that someone would have thought that it would be a good idea to dump the soil from the excavated Scajaquada Expressway into the Quarry Garden, thus turning the bridge into an exposed stone walkway.


I spoke to Thomas Herrera-Mishler, Executive Director of the Olmsted Parks, about the future plans to restore the magnificent Quarry Garden, and he was surprisingly upbeat regarding the not only the possibility, but the timeline. A close inspection of this Delaware Park map outlines a series of pools – the most noteworthy being Floral, Shady and Long. All of the water features were interconnected by a series of walkways while the Quarry Bridge was the star attraction as it overlooked the scenic floral displays below.


I’d often heard that the Quarry Garden was, at one point, a stunning attraction, but I never realized how dramatic it must have been. It was during the city’s dark era when progress was king and even Olmsted’s sacred vision was sacrificed. Unfortunately, we may not be able to reverse the actions of the past, but we can certainly reclaim much of what was lost thanks to the historic records and blueprints that have been preserved.

As for the timeline to restore the quarry? From Thomas Herrera-Mishler:

“We’re hoping to start on the project within five to ten years. We are currently working on the Master Plan with Landscape Architect Dean Gowen in order to eventually restore the Quarry Garden along with reconnecting the lodge and the park. At one point there were French Doors on the front of the building that overlooked the grounds. It’s been a long time desire to reduce the amount of land taken up by golf course – one of our commitments is not to reduce any sort of recreational resource without providing an equal or better resource somewhere else. The answer could be to provide nine great holes at the park and identify additional golfing opportunities elsewhere.

“Golf and the Quarry Garden did exist together for many years. It’s part of the balancing act of restoring the landscape while continuing to offer recreational resources. It’s important to get back to the original vision that Olmsted had for the park system. The Quarry Garden would be one of the most impressive gardens in the city and would be an incredible attraction for visitors – it would be one of the things that would be a ‘must see’ when visiting Buffalo. The proximity to the Darwin Martin House for a tour and the Parkside Lodge for lunch would be a perfect fit. If anyone has any historic photos of the Quarry Garden and surrounding lands, please share with us.”

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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