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You Are Here: Buffalo on the Map

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Buffalo Church District Maps Photo

For Immediate Release:      February 19, 2015

Information:                      Joy Testa Cinquino, Assistant Deputy Director, Development & Communications, 716-858-7182 


You Are Here: Buffalo on the Map

New Display @ Downtown Library Traces City’s Growth since 1795

Rare and one-of-a-kind maps from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library’s Rare Collections are currently on display at the downtown Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square.  “You Are Here: Buffalo on the Map” chronicles the city’s growth and changes throughout the 19th century.  More than 25 images including seven original, newly restored, conserved maps are featured, offering unique views of Buffalo and the surrounding area as well as insight into the city’s development and commerce.  The exhibit is free and open to the public during all regular library hours.

“We are so fortunate to display these visually interesting, unique, distinctive and beautiful drawings which present a snapshot in time of Buffalo from the early days as a pioneer settlement to a flourishing center of commerce and industry.  Buffalo truly was, and is again, a city on the rise,” said Library Director Mary Jean Jakubowski.

The display features several early maps of New York State, which trace Buffalo’s changing identities.  In 1795 American geographer and cartographer Samuel Lewis mapped the entire state.  The 1805 Map of Buffalo Village, drawn by Peter Emslie (1814-1887), is a unique document combining handwritten text with an original map showing the early plan of the pioneer village. 

Also on display is local historian Sheldon Ball’s 1825 brief pamphlet on Buffalo’s early history, which included the first engraved view of the Buffalo harbor and a hand-drawn map. Next came the Map of Buffalo and Black Rock Harbors produced after the growing city saw a need for more facilities designed for the increasing commerce on Lake Erie.

Mann's Map of Buffalo Harbor & "The Island," 1888 is one-of-a-kind and shows the harbor with a detailed record of Buffalo’s industrial age and development as a major inland port of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Map of the Retail Places of Business in the District Covered by the Christian Homestead Ass’n of Buffalo, 1893, was produced for the increase in travelers and trade from the east with the opening of the Erie Canal.  Illustrating many historical, industrial and culturally rich aspects of the region, Buffalo’s pictorial maps, as well as Frederick Law Olmsted’s park system map, visually highlight topics and locations of special interest.  

A companion display located in the Library’s Ring of Knowledge, “Buffalo on the Map: Then & Now” features memorabilia including a Buffalo Bus and Streetcar Guide (circa 1942), replica of the Central Terminal, and a reproduction of the Map of the Village of New Amsterdam (now the City of Buffalo), produced by Joseph Ellicott in 1804. Also highlighted are Larkin Square, Canalside and the Medical Corridor.

“You are Here: Buffalo on the Map” was curated by Grosvenor Room Librarian Charles Alaimo.  The Ring of Knowledge display was written by Librarian Rhonda Konig. Both were designed by the Library’s graphic designers Dawn Stanton and Darlene Pennachi.

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