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Best Local History & Culture in Buffalo

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Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site

Ultimately the site of Theodore Roosevelt's inauguration as President of the United States following the assassination of William McKinley, this stately Greek Revival home has stood at 641 Delaware Avenue since the early 1800s. The building served as an emergency venue for Roosevelt's swearing-in ceremony that took place on 14th September 1901. The house has undergone a series of architectural changes over the centuries but retains an original structure that formed a part of the Buffalo Barracks compound. While the presidential office is by far the site's prime attraction, its onsite museum is equally impressive preserving exhibits from the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 among many others.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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Iron Island Museum

Iron Island is not some piece of land you'll find in the middle of Lake Erie, this 'island' is actually in the Lovejoy Neighborhood of Buffalo. The oddly named museum is run under the auspices of the Iron Island Preservation Society of Lovejoy and the society's aim is to preserve the historical record of the area. Inside the museum, guests will find memorabilia, artistic renderings of buildings and photos of war veterans who lived in the area to an authentic, wooden altar from an 1896 church that once stood on the site. One other side note, it is said that the building is haunted by a ghost named 'Edgar', a war veteran who never had his remains buried.

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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Buffalo Fire Historical Society Museum

For decades, equipment used by firefighters from the early 1800s gathered rust in musty rooms until it was decided in 1981 that these brave men should have more significance than just dusty memories. Included is an 1831 hand pump, an parade carriage from 1893, and an early 20th-century street-corner fire alarm. Throughout the museum visitors will see what it takes to make it as a firefighter and the obstacles they face on the job. One display honors a group of firefighters who lost their lives when a propane tank exploded. The museum is run by volunteers with no admission fee and it is a great place to take the kids as well as anyone interested in what real heroes do.

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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