Buffalo and its German Community - Pages 21 & 22

Chapter 3

The Further Development of Buffalo -- The Construction of the New City and County Building -- The Reorganization of the Police Force -- Major Construction -- The Panic of 1893 -- The Real Estate Market -- Buffalo as a Convention Center -- The Chamber of Commerce

Despite the unholy years of the Civil War spanning 1861 through 1865, Buffalo grew steadily. The five years after Appomatox were fruitful ones for the business world. Many public improvements were undertaken. The railway system was expanded and construction was continuing on all sides of the city.

During the Winter of 1870/71 citizens and city officials took steps towards construction of city and county offices. The governor appointed a construction committee, which immediately began its work. Franklin Square was chosen as one of the building sites. In 1875 the impressive and awe-inspiring City and County Office Building was finished at a cost of two million dollars.

In 1866 the Police Force underwent reorganization. A law which had created the Niagara Frontier Police District was repealed by the Legislature and a new organization under the control of a Police Commission was put in its place. The department consisted of a superintendent, captains, detectives and patrolmen. This departmental structure was changed five years later. Outlying districts were eliminated and the Buffalo City Police Force was created.

With the arrival of better times after the Panic of 1873 came a construction boom. Over the past 30 years many practical and attractive buildings have been constructed - the Erie County Savings Bank, the Prudential Building, the Ellicott Square Building, the Chamber of Commerce, the Brisbane Building, the German Insurance Company, the Library Building, the D.C. Morgan Building, the Mutual Life Building, the Statler Hotel, the Iroquois Hotel, Buffalo Savings Bank, the Buffalo Evening News, the Fidelity Building, the 65th Regimental Armory, and many more. More colossal building is underway with the New York Telephone Company on Pearl Street and the Electric Company at Genesee Street and Washington Square.

The financial crisis of 1893 brought may woes to Buffalo and elsewhere. At the beginning of the Spanish-American War the city recovered. The 1880s and 1890s were times of wild real estate speculation. Since that time the real estate industry has placed itself upon more solid footing. The Real Estate Exchange was established January 23, 1885. Between the years 1895-96 it constructed a building at a cost of $460,000. The Exchange serves as the center for the regulation of real estate transactions.

Because of its ideal location and ample supply of comfortable hotels Buffalo became one of the greatest and more beloved convention cities in America. As demonstrated by the hospitality offered August 23 - 28 of 1897 with the "Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic", Buffalo proved that it was capable of handling large flocks of tourists.

The Chamber of Commerce was organized in 1851 as the Board of Trade and later renamed. Today it is the most important organization in Buffalo. Its chief goals are promoting the Greater Buffalo area, leading the way for public improvements for the general welfare, making others aware of Buffalo's favorable location for business and industry, marketing the area to perspective factories and businesses seeking a good place to locate their operations, solving transportation questions in a way favorable to trade and commerce, and providing a favorable legislative climate. The Chamber of Commerce leads the way for business in the city with the proud words "Buffalo means Business". Its corporate building is located on Main Street. To date it is the highest building in the city.

With the excavation of the Erie Canal, for which the State of New York has given over 100 Million dollars more than it cost for the Suez Canal, Buffalo promises in the future an improvement of the waterways and a resolution to the burning railroad question in which a Terminal Commission, with the authority to enact new legislation, will be established. This great development will truly make Buffalo the Queen City of the Great Lakes, the name given to her so long ago.

Caption under picture reads City and County Building

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Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised June 15, 2005