1924 -Mayor Schwab in his New Year's message to the City Council

Future Buffalo1924 Mayor Schwab in his New Year's message to the City Council introduced the program he advocated as follows:
Having in mind the aim to make the year 1924 a period of accomplishment for the Council and a year of service to the taxpayers of Buffalo, I take the liberty of calling to the attention of your honorable body some of the major projects respecting the welfare of the city which have been under consideration by the council or in my opinion are among the most important matters which will demand our attention during the coining 12 months.

These projects are summarized as follows:

  • Bus line, either municipal or corporation, for the Kensington, Delaware and Delevan districts
  • Co-operation with the United States in improving Bird Island pier and Buffalo harbor;
  • Co-operation with the New York Central for the building Of a new passenger terminal
  • Creation of two new police precincts in Kensington and South Buffalo and additional policemen to man them;
  • New markets in Black Rock and South Buffalo:
  • Abolition of grade crossings in the Black Rock district
  • Four new wading pools within the city and an additional bathing beach nearer than Angola;
  • A school and clinic for crippled children in the Ernest Wende hospital:
  • Completion of pending work at the Perrysburg hospital
  • A municipal aerial field;
  • Major realization of the Civic Center plan;
  • Reorganization of the municipal civil service.


In concluding this historical outline of Buffalo's development, the outstanding point to be emphasized is the remarkably short span of years during which the city grew from the few houses which stood after the fire of 1813 to the towering skyline of today. A few years more than a century is a short span indeed for such a growth. In that short span there developed a great center of commerce and industry. Yet this growth was inevitable. The site now crowned by Buffalo was destined for what did come during that short span of years. Years before the continent knew the step of men, mighty glaciers carved out the destiny of future cities. Thus were certain sites predetermined by the gifts of nature. Buffalo was thus favored. At the site where Buffalo stands it was predetermined that the tremendous navigation of the great inland seas would begin and end. At Buffalo would be the central point for a surrounding territory rich in the wealth of agriculture, mining and fuels. At Buffalo would nature's mightiest dynamo await the genius that would harness it. Then, as the progress of national development gave definite outlines to what would be the permanent population centers of America, it was seen that Buffalo's location with regard to markets was most strategic. All this was inevitable. So the reader who reviews the growth of one century is not surprised, lie is convinced that what was written indelibly by the hand of nature, and thus inevitably predetermined, has been fulfilled. How wonderful has been that fulfillment up to our (lay is realized best by a series of contrasts between the Buffalo of other days and the Buffalo of today. These contrasts give a touch of the marvelous to the story of the birth and growth of a city where now more than half a million have gathered to live their days. At the close of the eighteenth century the surveyor who came to lay out the plan of the village at the foot of Buffalo River must have felt that his hopes were strong indeed when he planned a village of twelve little streets. But from his plan have come the seven hundred miles of streets marking the city of today within its forty-two square miles. When the first tax rolls were prepared soon after, the tiny sum of $4.55 was placed against the names of all the dwellers west of the Genesee River. Now, within the city lines alone the tax levy is over nineteen million dollars. The century old war tragedies along the Niagara Frontier remind us that Buffalo citizens fought bravely during the war of 1812, and left a glorious example for the regiments of Buffalo heroes who followed the colors in 1861, 1898 and 1917. Less than two hundred fought in 1812, but their spirit was the spirit which inspired the twenty-one thousand men of Buffalo who entered the service of the army, navy, marines and Red Cross during the World War.

This text is Copyright 2001 all rights reserved by Stephen Powell and This electronic text may not be dupicated or used in any manner without written consent of Stephen R. Powell or™





After the destructive fire of 1813, less than half a dozen houses stood to mark the site of Buffalo, but around that little group spread the mighty circle of city buildings which now number about one hundred thousand. In 1823, the village water carrier led his creaky wagon which carried a hogshead of water and a trailing leather hose as he peddled water at the doors of the little homes, until after a few years a line of wooden pipe brought water from a spring near Black Rock. The pumping capacity of Buffalo's waterplants today totals 330,000.000 gallons in twenty-four hours. The day of celebration which featured the year 1825 was that which marked the opening of the Erie Canal, four feet deep and forty feet wide. It has been enlarged until today a mighty waterway stretches from Buffalo across the State, accommodating 2,000 foot barges and twenty million tons capacity. The early settlers purchased acres of land from the Indians for a few fancy baubles and sites as large as Buffalo were bought soon after for prices which would not buy one square block in the business center of the city today, when the assessed valuation of Buffalo land and property totals $800,000,000. The early inhabitants built their hopes upon the commerce that might come to the harbor, and in 1822 appropriated $495.50 to purchase a machine which would remove the mud bar which obstructed the mouth of Buffalo Creek. This was the first of many appropriations which now total in the millions, which were expended to improve the harbor and give Buffalo the largest body of protected water on the lakes. In those days a fleet of a dozen ships was all the harbor could claim, and only one hundred and twenty ships entered and left the harbor in a year. But now the annual total is near six thousand. The tonnage of the port then totaled 12,900 tons, while today it totals over 15,000,000 tons, and some of the largest freighters could carry in one shipment the vessels and cargoes together which made the grand tonnage total of the harbor in the twenties.

Although Buffalo was almost exclusively a commercial center for many years, the group of tiny establishments which could be called industries was composed of a little foundry for making plowirons, a saw-mill, and a tannery. From this nucleus has grown the great circle of industries which surround the city, a collection more varied than that of almost every other American city, and one that numbers over 3,000 manufacturing establishments. When a city holiday was declared that the people of the town might flock to the waterfront to see the launching of the Walk-in-the Water, which was proclaimed the last word in steamboats and the pride of 1818, not one of the sightseers imagined that a century later great floating hotels would carry passengers across the lakes from Buffalo. And as the Walk-in-the-Water passed the little lighthouse did the passengers looking Buffaloward imagine that one day the world's greatest breakwater would protect the harbor with a bulwark of stone, stretching 33,600 feet across the pathway of the storms? And did they imagine that the skyline of two story houses and three little church steeples would grow until it reached a height of over sixty feet average, stretching all along the waterfront with towering steel and stone structures raised against the sky? When the first steam elevator was erected at Buffalo Creek and Evans Canal, the newspaper reported that the year 1842 would he a memorable one in the history of grain carrying. Yet the dreams of that day which were considered most extravagant did not include the possibility of having twenty-five mighty grain elevators which today have a total capacity of :30,000,000 bushels and stand as striking proof that Buffalo is the grain transfer center of the country. A decade before the erection of the first steam grain elevator, Buffalo had shipped eastward four thousand bushels of flour in one year. The grain receipts at the port of Buffalo now total 200,000,000 bushels every year, and the little mills of the forties which were located along the Niagara River were the pioneers of the mighty mills which are making Buffalo the leading milling center of the country with a daily output of 80,000 barrels. When 000 tons of coal were shipped into Buffalo in the year 1842, a record was made which was talked about on the wharves and along the business streets. Today about sixteen million tons conic to Buffalo every year, and from this city four-fifths of the anthracite shipped on the lakes is loaded.
Buffalo was destined to he a railroad center, but the fulfillment of that destiny seemed far distant when in 1836 a squeaky engine, drawing three tiny fifteen-foot cars, followed the tracks which curved from Buffalo to Black Rock and on to Niagara Falls. Yet, with the passing of less than a century, we find 600 miles of railroad trackage within the city and fourteen gnat trunk lines, with forty thousand miles of trackage serving Buffalo. Instead of a daily train from just beyond the city lines, about 300 passenger trains and 600 freight trains reach our terminals. There was a time when houses were few and far between beyond Goodell Street, and Tupper Street seemed far from the business center. Then it was that enterprising citizens decided that a horse-car line was needed on Main Street. So in 1861, car tracks were placed from Exchange to Goodell Street and thus was installed a street car system of three cars and twelve horses. Today trolly service is offered by a hundred million dollar International Railway, controlling hundred of miles of trackage and over a thousand cars. The power for this mighty system and the power for practically ninety per cent. of Buffalo's industries is supplied from Niagara Falls. Yet in the early eighties an attempt was made to light ten are lamps with a light not made from gas or oil, and when the attempt failed, some prophets ridiculed the possibility of what is now called electricity. Now the Buffalo General Electric Company supplies Buffalo with 800,000,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year.
Many other striking contrasts might be cited to bring out the wonder of the changes which have come with the passing of the years as the village of Buffalo grew to the city which is ours. On every side are landmarks which tell of the toils and the dreams of other days or bright new signs of the achievement of those who are building the Buffalo which will stand tomorrow. Every year shows the mark of progress as Buffalo more and more comes into her own. The site that was favored years ago has conic into its own--hut only partially. The very advantages of that site are now evident in clearer outlines than ever before. The future is to bring an even more abundant fulfillment than that which we have reviewed with the passing of a little more than a century. And so it is that those who vision Buffalo's future are confident that the wonderful growth of the past is but a shadow of what is to conic, as Buffalo completely achieves that glorious future which is her destiny.

-Source:Barry, John F. Ed and Elmes, Robert W. Ed. Buffalo's Text Book. 1924. Buffalo, NY.


about us | History as News™ | Diaries | home | Shop | Forum | History | Peoples Pages | Photo Gallery
All material on The Buffalonian™ is copyright ©1996-2001 all rights reserved. The Buffalonian™ is produced by The Peoples History Union.

Internet Services Donated by The Blue Moon Online System