Who doesn’t love seeing vintage pictures of Buffalo? I love vintage images and not just as an exercise in nostalgia. Seeing historic pictures of Buffalo can often be a painful reminder of how much is lost. There are those who complain that Buffalo spends too much time looking backward. Certainly looking back and pining for the past is not very productive. But I love old pictures because they tell us how we got where we are now. Too many people accept what exists for granted as if it just dropped from the sky, ready made. When you know how something came to be you gain a far far greater appreciation of what you have. We are what we are because of those who came before us. That is not nostalgia. It is just plain being interested in what this whole crazy universe is all about, while trying to make some sense of it all.
Recently my love of vintage Buffalo images has been greatly rewarded by a slew of amazing historic photos that have been steadily flashed on to FaceBook by The Buffalo History Gazette. The images are from throughout Buffalo and Niagara Falls, showing a great variety of subjects in tremendous detail. Most of them have never been shown publicly before. The supply of historic images keep coming and seem to be limitless and are almost all of very high in clarity, revealing a lot about a young vibrant Buffalo.
The Buffalo History Gazette is a Buffalo history website run by Jerry Mallory who is a major Buffalo History buff. He has posted several highly in depth and well researched stories focused on Buffalo’s ‘way back’ days. From Mr. Malloy:
I have always been fascinated by Buffalo’s history and disappointed at how little of it was being told. Especially in regards to the waterfront. Over the last 25 years I have conducted hundreds of tours for people from all over the world, both on foot and on the water. I am proud to say The Historic Buffalo River Tours have become a classic in this city. I created a museum, meeting place and lecture hall in my family’s former restaurant the Harbor Inn on Ohio St. and conducted my walking tours from that location. I now take all of this to a new medium online to reach out further into the world. Hopefully these tours have spurred curiosity and respect about what was here, what is here, and what can be here in the future, and inspired those not afraid to see the possibilities.
I will post several of Mr. Malloy’s images over the next few weeks. In the meantime here is a fascinating look at a few images that resolved a big mystery for me. They show a structure in the Niagara River near its southern end at Lake Erie. This was Buffalo’s original water intake. You may have noticed the foundation of the structure which is still in place just north of the Peace Bridge. I thought it was an ice breaker because of its thickly steel plated nose that cuts into the swift current at this part of the river. When I was very young I thought it was a submarine.
The description from Buffalo History Gazette:
View along the Niagara River looking north from The Front. Roadway is Sheridan Terrace. Buildings in center are the old Massachusetts St. Pumping Station which pumped all the water to the city. Next is the Erie Canal, then the Black Rock Channel and the Niagara River. Structure in the river is the old water intake which is still visible today below the Peace Bridge. White tower is the Lower Range Light. The upper range light was located on Busti Ave. & Niagara Street and guided traffic on the Erie Canal. About 1900.
Old Water Intake in Niagara River built in 1874. Still visible just north of the Peace Bridge. The house portion was removed in the early 1940′s. This photo around 1900.