Why We Need Municipal Sidewalk Plowing

This essay originally appeared in The Buffalo News on Feb. 5, 2013 and has been slightly edited. Image shows elderly couple walking in street due to unplowed sidewalks. One of them is pushing the other in a wheelchair. Photo taken by author on Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY, January 2020, all rights reserved. When I movedContinue reading “Why We Need Municipal Sidewalk Plowing”

Build the Larkin Rowhouses

Originally published in Buffalo Spree, July-August 2006, p. 150 Most architecturally-aware Buffalonians know how the Darwin Martin-Frank Lloyd Wright friendship led to commissions for the now-demolished Larkin Administration building and homes for the top Larkin Company officers. Demolished portions of the Martin House complex are being rebuilt as the site undergoes a complete restoration. Martin alsoContinue reading “Build the Larkin Rowhouses”

Buffalo Hotels and the Niagara Movement: New Evidence Refutes an Old Legend

In 1905, W.E.B DuBois organized the first meeting of the Niagara Movement, a civil rights organization that eventually morphed into the NAACP. Instead of meeting in Buffalo, NY as originally intended, the group crossed the Niagara River and met in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada.

If All of Buffalo Read About the Klan

In 1923-1924, the Ku Klux Klan set up shop in Buffalo. The Klan was not just an organization, it was an ideology of racism, anti-semitism, anti-Catholicism, and nativism. Buffalo rejected that ideology. Buffalo fought back, Buffalo fought dirty, and Buffalo won. This was the one of our finest moments as a city. The Buffalo KKKContinue reading “If All of Buffalo Read About the Klan”

The Truth About Snow in Buffalo

Some Top Ten US Weather Facts 10 Snowiest Cities1. Blue Canyon, CA2. Marquette, MI3. Sault Ste. Marie, MI4. Syracuse, NY5. Caribou, ME6. Mount Shasta, CA7. Lander, WY8. Flagstaff, AZ9. Sexton Summit, OR10. Muskegon, MI 10 Coldest Cities1. International Falls, MN2. Duluth, MN3. Caribou, ME4. Marquette, MI5. Sault Ste. Marie, MI6. Fargo, ND7. Williston, ND8. Alamosa,Continue reading “The Truth About Snow in Buffalo”

The Old Curiosity Shop: McDonnell and Sons Monument Company

Parks officials were mortified at the malfeasance. The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Lafayette Square was cracking and crumbling only six years after its erection in 1882 during the city’s semi-centennial year. A structural review was undertaken, revealing careless workmanship throughout the foundation of the monument. The core of rubble and mortar was inadequate to the taskContinue reading “The Old Curiosity Shop: McDonnell and Sons Monument Company”

In Search of Buffalo’s First Professional African-American Architect

Some Preliminary Findings by Cynthia Van Ness, ©2001-2013 In the New York State census of 1925, John E. Brent reported his age as 33, making his year of birth around 1892. According to a biographical profile of him in the Buffalo American, which does not reveal his age, Brent was born and raised in Washington, D.C.Continue reading “In Search of Buffalo’s First Professional African-American Architect”

Top Ten Urban Legends in Buffalo

In the old David Letterman format, these are the ten most bogus urban legends about Buffalo & its history: 10.  Buffalo has the longest, coldest, snowiest, harshest, worst winters in America. 9.   Every house in Buffalo was photographed during the Pan-American Exposition and the Buffalo History Museum has the pictures. 8.  The “Historical Society” (alternately, the “Preservation Society”)Continue reading “Top Ten Urban Legends in Buffalo”