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200 Ways To Celebrate Erie County’s Bicentennial

This year we will reach an important milestone in Erie County. Today, April 2, 2021, Erie County will celebrate its bicentennial anniversary, kicking off a year of celebration. This significant milestone is an opportunity for the community to reflect on the history, stories, and legacies of the many men and women who came before us.

On April 2, 1821, New York State officially recognized Erie County. After the American Revolution, the Holland Land Company acquired 3.2 million acres of land from the Seneca Nation of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). In 1808, New York organized the western most land as Niagara County. By 1821, the population had increased so much that Niagara County was split. Erie County, the land south of Tonawanda Creek, consisted of ten towns and the Buffalo Creek Reservation. Today, Erie County has twenty-five towns, three cities, two tribal reservations, and a population of approximately 920,000.

Erie County has ties to several U.S. Presidents. Millard Fillmore practiced law in East Aurora before serving as President. He returned to Erie County and helped establish the University of Buffalo, Buffalo General Hospital and the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. Grover Cleveland practiced law in Buffalo before becoming Erie County Sheriff. He married Buffalo’s Frances Fulsom. In 1901, President William McKinley was assassinated at the Pan-American Exposition, and on September 14th, Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as the 26th President at the Wilcox Mansion.

Once heavily forested frontier, the Erie Canal, completed on October 26, 1825, brought prosperity and made the region one of the largest shipping and rail center in the country offering an easy and assessable gateway to the west. Erie County is home to numerous inventors. The Ball Jar, the Barca Lounger, and air conditioning were invented in Buffalo. Wilson Greatbatch developed the implantable pacemaker in Clarence, and Bell Aircraft was one of the largest suppliers of aircraft during WWII. The county boasts major works by both local and national architects: Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, H. H. Richardson, E.B. Green and William Wicks and Louise Bethune. Famous writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Twain and Lauren Belfer have called the area “home.” The county has given the world Fisher Price toys and the chicken wing.

Today, we celebrate our heritage and look forward to a bright future. The county has capitalized on history, art, and architecture to become a heritage tourism destination. The bio-medical research corridor is at the forefront of international scientific research. Companies from across the county do business internationally and even in outer space!

We brainstormed with a group of collaborators, thanks to help by Burchfield-Penney, to produce a list of 200 ways that you can celebrate all that Erie County has to offer while maintaining social distance.  Naturally the initial list contained well over 200 different ways but managed to whittle the list down based on these categories:

  • Historic/Business districts
  • Museums
    • Science Cultural Centers
  • Parks, Gardens and Beaches
  • Architecture
    • Churches
  • Arts, Music and Theatres
    • Visual Arts
    • Performing Arts and More

Of course there is no way we could include everything in this list but its a great cross-section of what this area has to offer.


Historic and Business Districts

Over its history, Erie County has had areas all around the county blossom, where small, locally owned businesses have taken root and served as areas where the community comes together.  When we think of these places, we think of the more obvious like Elmwood Village, Allentown and the Broadway Market, all located within the City of Buffalo.  There are areas all around the county that are just as significant, whether its East Aurora, Clarence Center, Main Street in Williamsville or Delaware Avenue in Kenmore, small businesses thrive in these areas.

  1. Allentown
  2. Broadway Market
  3. Canalside
  4. Chandler/Pierce Arrow
  5. Clarence Center
  6. East Aurora
  7. Elmwood Avenue / Elmwood Village
  8. Hertel Avenue
  9. Larkinville
  10. Village of Kenmore – Delaware Ave.
  11. Main Street, Clarence
  12. Main Street, Village of Hamburg
  13. Main Street, Village of Williamsville
  14. Old First Ward
  15. Oliver Street, North Tonawanda
  16. Silo City
  17. University Heights
  18. West Side Bazaar

Museums

Erie County has a wealth of museums that will satisfy all manner of tastes. Our rich history has seen a variety of events transpire, while at the same time we have had our fair share of innovations that have contributed to the betterment of mankind. We hosted the Pan-American Exposition of 1901, which showed the world the wonders of electricity as well as the assassination of President William McKinley and the inauguration of President Theodore Roosevelt. We are a community made better by the groups of immigrants who came before us and who continue to come.  These groups continue to shape our community in wonderful ways.  This list of museums, science and cultural centers are all great ways to celebrate the bicentennial.

  1. Aurora History Museum
  2. Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park
  3. Buffalo Black Achievers Museum
  4. Buffalo Fire Historical Society Museum
  5. Buffalo Harbor Museum
  6. Buffalo History Museum
  7. Buffalo Irish Center
  8. Buffalo Maritime Center
  9. Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village
  10. Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum
  11. Explore & More Children’s Museum
  12. Father Baker Museum
  13. Fireman’s Memorial Exhibit Center
  14. Forest Lawn Cemetery
  15. Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum
  16. Iron Island Museum
  17. Jefferson Street Heritage Gallery
  18. Karpeles Manuscript Museum
  19. Millard Fillmore House
  20. NASH House
  21. Roycroft Museum
  22. Steel Plant Museum
  23. The Benjamin and Dr. Edgar R. Cofeld Judaic Museum
  24. Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site
  25. WNY Railway Historical Society

Science and Cultural Centers

  1. African American Cultural Center
  2. Buffalo Museum of Science
  3. Buffalo Zoo
  4. Burchfield Nature & Art Center
  5. Colored Musicians Club
  6. Dnipro Ukrainian Cultural Center
  7. Penn Dixie Fossil Park
  8. Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium
  9. Williamsville Water Mill
  10. WNY Book Arts Center

Parks, Gardens & Beaches

We are extremely lucky in this region.  Erie County has a bevy of parks, gardens and beaches.  These cater to interests in a variety of areas, from outdoor sports to the casual hiker or bicyclist.  We have a first class system of parks across the county.  We are lucky here because we get to experience all four seasons and as a result of that, each season offers new and different ways we can enjoy the outdoors, whether its bird watching, gardening, swimming, skiing or snowmobiling.

  1. Akron Falls
  2. Amherst State Park
  3. Arlington Park
  4. Beaver Island State Park
  5. Bennett Beach in Angola
  6. Bidwell Parkway
  7. Big Six Mile Creek Marina
  8. Black Rock Canal
  9. Boston Forest
  10. Broderick Park
  11. Buckhorn Island State Park
  12. Buffalo Botanical Gardens
  13. Bureau of Forestry in Sardinia
  14. Cazenovia Park
  15. Chestnut Ridge
  16. Como Lake Park
  17. Days Park
  18. Delaware Park: Hoyt Lake, Statue of David, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, and Ring Road
  19. Eighteen Mile Creek
  20. Ellicott Creek Park
  21. Elma Meadows Golf Course and Park
  22. Emery in South Wales
  23. Erie Basin Marina
  24. Evangola
  25. Evans Town Park Beach
  26. Franklin Gulf in Eden and North Collins
  27. Glens Falls Park
  28. Grover Cleveland Golf Course in Amherst
  29. Hamburg Beach
  30. Hawk Creek Wildlife Center
  31. Isle View Park
  32. Johnson Park
  33. Knox Farm
  34. Lake Erie Beach
  35. Martin Luther King Jr Park
  36. Red Jacket Riverfront Natural Habitat Park
  37. Reinstein Woods
  38. Seneca Bluffs Natural Habitat Park
  39. Sergeant Mark A. Rademacher Memorial Park/Hunter’s Creek in South Wales
  40. Sprague Brook in Glenwood
  41. Stiglmeier Park
  42. Thomas F. Higgins Natural Habitat Park
  43. Tifft Nature Preserve
  44. Times Beach Nature Preserve
  45. Tow Path in Buffalo
  46. Wendt Park
  47. Wilkeson Pointe
  48. Woodlawn Beach State Park
  49. Yates Park

Architecture

Erie County has a rich and storied history. In 1900 Buffalo was the 8th largest city in the United States and 6th busiest water port in the world.  Large cities tend to attract talent in all shapes and sizes. Erie County also has a strong faith community. As a result, Erie County has some amazing architectural treasures.  People immediately think of Frank Lloyd Wright when you talk about architecture and Buffalo but other talent.   The first female architect in the country, Louise Bethune, designed the iconic Lafayette Hotel. In a November 14, 2006 article, Nicolai Ourousoff, architecture writer for The New York Times wrote “Buffalo was founded on a rich tradition of architectural experimentation. The architects who worked here were among the first to break with European traditions to create an aesthetic of their own, rooted in American ideals about individualism, commerce and social mobility.” What better way to celebrate Erie County then to visit not just the well-known architectural masterpieces, but the hidden gems as well.

  1. 800 West Ferry
  2. Blue Sky Mausoleum
  3. Brisbane Building
  4. Buffalo Central Terminal
  5. Buffalo City Hall
  6. Buffalo Savings Bank
  7. Calumet Building
  8. Campanile
  9. City Court Building and exterior sculpture (Snelson)
  10. Coit House
  11. Connecticut Street Armory
  12. Cyclorama Building
  13. Dun Building
  14. Electric Tower
  15. Ellicott Square Building
  16. Frank Lloyd Wright Darwin Martin House
  17. Frank Lloyd Wright Filling Station
  18. Frank Lloyd Wright Fontana Boat House
  19. Frank Lloyd Wright Graycliff
  20. Guaranty Building
  21. Hotel Lafayette
  22. Kleinhans Music Hall
  23. Lafayette Square
  24. Market Arcade
  25. Niagara Square / McKinley Memorial
  26. Old Post Office
  27. One M&T Plaza
  28. One Seneca Tower
  29. Pierce Arrow Factory Complex
  30. Pierce Arrow Showroom
  31. Richardson Olmsted Campus
  32. Sidway Building
  33. Sattler Theater
  34. The Buffalo Lighthouse
  35. The Statler
  36. Tri-Main Building
  37. Trico Plant
  38. Twentieth Century Club
  39. Utica Station
  40. Walter V. Davidson House
  41. William R. Heath House
  42. Williams-Butler House
  43. Williams-Pratt House

Churches

  1. Our Lady of Victory Shrine and Basilica
  2. St. Adalbert’s Basilica
  3. St. Andrew’s
  4. St. Louis
  5. St. Michael’s
  6. St. Paul’s Cathedral
  7. St. Paul’s Episcopal
  8. Temple Beth Zion
  9. Trinity Episcopal Church
  10. Unitarian Universalist Church

Art, Music, & Theatre

When it comes to art, music and theatre, Erie County has a strong and vibrant community. This should come as to surprise given the fact that University at Buffalo ranks in the top of Performing Arts and Visual Arts Schools in the United States and number 12 and 11 in New York State. We have a large variety of art galleries, not just the Albright Knox, but places like K Art (the first Native American owned commercial art gallery), Hallwalls and Squeaky Wheel. Erie County also has an amazingly strong and talented performing arts community. What a great way to celebrate Erie County by checking these places out, it will help support all the local talent that this area has to offer.

Visual Arts

  1. Albright Knox Gundlach Northland
  2. Albright Knox Public Art Initiatives
  3. Assembly House 150
  4. Benjamin Gallery
  5. Beyond/In Western New York
  6. Big Orbit Gallery
  7. Buffalo Art Movement (BAM)
  8. Buffalo Arts Studio
  9. Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology
  10. Buffalo Institute for Contemporary Art
  11. Burchfield Penney
  12. Carnegie Art Center
  13. CEPA Gallery
  14. Dana Tillou Fine Arts
  15. El Museo
  16. Eleven Twenty Projects
  17. Hallwalls
  18. Indigo Art Gallery
  19. K Art Gallery
  20. Meibohm Fine Arts
  21. Nina Freudenheim/Metro Rail Public Art
  22. Queen City Gallery
  23. Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Rare & Special Books Room
  24. Revolution Gallery
  25. Silo City
  26. Squeaky Wheel
  27. Starlight Studio & Art Gallery
  28. UB Anderson Gallery
  29. UB Arts Collaboratory

Performing Arts & More…

  1. Alleyway Theatre
  2. Babeville
  3. Irish Classical Theatre
  4. Kavinoky Theatre
  5. MusicalFare Theatre
  6. North Park Theater
  7. O’Connell & Company
  8. PAUSA Art House
  9. Riviera Theatre
  10. Road Less Traveled Productions
  11. Shakespeare in Delaware Park
  12. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 710 Main & Shea’s Smith Theatre
  13. Showplace Theater
  14. Theatre of Youth
  15. Torn Space / The Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle, Inc
  16. Ujima Theatre Company
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