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Best Historic Locations in Buffalo

By: Cityseeker
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Buffalo City Hall

A classic example of Art Deco architectural design, this building ranks as an early 20th Century American masterpiece and has been considered an enduring symbol of Buffalo's genius and spirit since it was designed in 1929 by John J. Wade. Located in the center of downtown and overlooking Buffalo's main public square, the 32-story building boasts Native American-influenced tile details, friezes showing aspects of city life, and a top-floor observation tower with views of Lake Erie and the city.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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St Paul's Episcopal Cathedral

Originally constructed in 1849, St Paul's is not only one of Buffalo's most beautiful churches, it's one of the oldest buildings in the whole city. After a fire in 1888, the Cathedral was rebuilt, and is still providing weekly services to its congregation. The peaceful Cathedral Park setting is also a favorite spot for downtown workers seeking a shady spot to eat their lunches.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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Buffalo Main Light

Located near the Erie Basin Marina, this lighthouse once guided more than half a million immigrants to the city and remained active until the First World War. Built in 1833 and standing 68 feet tall, the structure remained dark until 1987 when it was re-lit for the first Friendship Festival. After restoration that started in 1985, the lighthouse is now a Buffalo Lighthouse Association museum. The lighthouse is open for group tours by appointment, but the 1,400-foot South Pier Promenade and Lighthouse Point grounds nearby are open daily.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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Forest Lawn Cemetery

Known as Buffalo's city cemetery and in existence since 1849, this 267-acre property features the grave sites of some of the city's most important citizens. Buried here are former U.S. President Millard Fillmore, Indian Chief Red Jacket, from whom the land to create the city of Buffalo was purchased, and Pony Express pioneer William Fargo, to name a few. You can stop at the office inside the main entrance for a self-guiding map. Bird watching and Sunday hayride-style tours of the beautiful grounds are also available.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society

Founded in 1862 by former President Millard Fillmore (also a Buffalo native) and housed in the last remaining building from the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, the Society has exhibits on Western New York history from the first explorers to the present. Included in the over 80,000 artifacts are items such as the pistol used to assassinate President William McKinley in Buffalo in 1901. The building and the Delaware Park setting alone are worth the visit.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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Darwin D. Martin House

Neglected after the Martin family left the area, this historic building, one of a half-dozen built by Frank Lloyd Wright in and around Buffalo, has undergone intensive restoration. Located near Delaware Park, the building is a good example of Wright's Prairie style. Other structures on the complex include the Barton House, with original interior wood and art glass, a covered walkway connecting the main house with the conservatory, and a gardener's cottage.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum

Located in North Tonawanda between Buffalo and Niagara Falls, this is the only historic carousel factory in the nation. The museum opened in 1983 and is located within the original Allan Herschell Company factory, which began operating in 1916. A National Historic Site, the building is now divided into seven connected areas demonstrating such things as woodcarving, horse restoration, and two original carousels. The museum also sponsors programs including a summer Sunday series featuring youth theater, puppets, and magic. Check websites for varying dates.

North Tonawanda, NY, United States
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Millard Fillmore House

President Millard Fillmore both built and lived in this house from 1826-30 and as such, this museum in the Village of East Aurora has been designated a National Historic Site. It contains many of the period pieces from that era, including the President's bed and antique toys. Originally purchased in 1930 to be used as a studio by artist Margaret Price (of Fisher Price toy fame), the house was bought by the Aurora Historical Society in 1975. Visitors can see the original pantry with tin ware and pottery, restored fireplace, the Presidential Rose Garden with pre-1840 varieties, and carriage barn.

East Aurora, NY, United States
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Roycroft Campus

Declared a National Historic Site in 1986, this collection of 14 buildings is the legacy of Elbert Hubbard, the visionary writer and printer who more than 100 years ago founded a utopian arts and crafts community based on the principles of the medieval guilds. Located in the Village of East Aurora about 30 minutes south of downtown Buffalo, the campus includes such buildings as the recently renovated Roycroft Inn, and the Roycroft Shops. Guided tours of the campus are available July-September daily by appointment; the fees go towards building restorations.

East Aurora, NY, United States
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