Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Its Time To Go To Crystal Beach!

Crystal Beach advertising Jingles

Video compilation by Jerry Malloy
Sound tracks courtesy of  staffannouncer.com

MOONLIGHT ON THE LAKE - To Crystal Beach, the Coney Island of Buffalo. Nothing more delightful. The magnificent stmrs. PEARL and GAZELLE leave the foot of Main Street at 7:00 and 8:00 P.M. arriving at the Beach in time for the entertainments. Returning, last boat arriving at Main Street 11:30 P.M. where street cars connect for all directions. Buffalo Enquirer   August 11, 1892

Boat Landing At Crystal Beach Canada

    The first pier at Crystal Beach was built around 1890. A rush of visitors kept 17 ferry boats busy to the state of New York, beginning with the Dove. Boats other than the Dove that plowed the turbulent waters between Buffalo and Crystal Beach, included the Superior, Premier, State of New York, Cole, Idlewild, Timon, Pilgrim, Puritan, GAZELLE, Argyle, White Star and The Pearl, Later renamed The Crystal.
    These boats differed from the Americana and the Canadiana.  They did not venture out if the weather was bad.  The Idlewild, for example, had her smokestack ripped off by rough seas at Windmill Point. While the Timon, rolled so badly that it was only kept one year.  The GAZELLE was worthy of her name being a particularly frisky boat whenever heavy seas rolled over Lake Erie.  She was safe and easy to handle so she was kept in service for many years.

The Gazelle leaving Buffalo Harbor for Crystal Beach - 1894

CRYSTAL BEACH - Extra trips Sunday, July 26th. Stm. PEARL will leave North Tonawanda at 10:30 A.M., South Tonawanda at 10:45 A.M., Stm. GAZELLE will leave the foot of Austin St., Black Rock at 2P.M., stopping at Ferry St. 30 minutes later.   Buffalo Morning Express  July 26, 1896

Canadiana Leaving the Foot of Main Street
The Crystal Beach Co. has announced the appointments of Capt. James McKarty to the PEARL, and Capt. George Swift to the GAZELLE for the season.  Buffalo Enquirer  April 27, 1894 

The excursion stm. GAZELLE of the Crystal Beach line made her last trip of the season last evening. She arrived from Crystal Beach about 8:00, and, after unloading her passengers at the foot of Main St., went to Black Rock where she will layup for the season. The pleasure resort business has been unusually large this season and a number of lines have made money.  Buf Morn Ex  Oct. 1, 1899 

Steamer Garden City
The excursion stm. GAZELLE came out of winter quarters yesterday afternoon and went to the fuel dock. She will go on the Crystal Beach route this morning. The GARDEN CITY, which has been running to the Beach since Decoration Day, will lay off today, in order to be tested, after which she will go into commission again. The GAZELLE will begin to run regularly as soon as the business warrants it.  Buf Morn Ex  June 5, 1896

 The excursion season here will open on Decoration Day, May 31st. The stm. PURITAN will start the season on the Crystal Beach Run, making 5 trips daily. On June 10th the PEARL and GAZELLE will be put on the run. The RIVERSIDE and the IDLEHOUR will run to Elmwood Beach*. The NIAGARA will go to Woodlawn Beach, while the SILVER SPRAY will go between Ferry St. and the Bedell House. A small yacht, the ADRALEXA will run between Crystal Beach and Pt. Amino this summer.   Buf Morn Ex   May 20, 1900

Editors Note:  *Beaver Island State Park first opened in 1935 with few facilities. It was once a privately owned amusement park known as ELMWOOD BEACH

Editor Suggests:
   Steamers of the Crystal Beach Line

Published on Dec 30, 2018

Published on Feb 13, 2018

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Buffalo's First International Airport - The Outer Harbor!

Buffalo-Toronto Airplane Service to Be Opened  Today.  Giant Passenger Air Liner to Fly From Local Harbor Over Lake, River, Cataract to Canada

Courier Express June 29, 1929
  Inaugurating the first international aerial passenger service out of Buffalo, a giant amphibian air liner of the Colonial Western Airways, will take off from Buffalo Harbor this morning to wing its way to Toronto---another link in the city's chain of air lane contacts. At 9:50 o'clock the big twin motored carrier will glide down the ramp from the new terminal at the foot of Georgia St. with a full load of private passengers and newspapermen...  The take off will be witnessed by prominent city officials and others. Traveling to Niagara Falls, the big ship will circle the cataract before continuing to Lewiston, from where it will fly across Lake Ontario to Toronto Harbor, the trip taking 45 minutes. 
   The service will be a regular travel route with a morning and afternoon trip daily. the schedule is designed to make connections with the important trains out of Buffalo as well as Toronto. The ships that will be in permanent service over the run are two Sikorsky amphibians, which have been Christened Neekah and Nonokas. Ten passenger carriers, they are ultimate in luxurious appointment and safety and capable of being brought down with equal ease on land or water...

Buffalo Evening News   June 29 1929

Air-Minded Watch First 
Buffalo-Toronto Passenger Airline Take Off


Covers distance between two cities in 45 minutes flying time.  Eight passengers carried on first trip are enthusiastic over flight

Courier-Express  June 30 1929
      With a deafening roar and an angry churning of the waters, the Hummingbird, known in the Indian dialect of Tamigani as Nonokas, skimmed over the Niagara River yesterday morning as the clock pointed to 11:05 and took off on the maiden voyage of the passenger air line route of Colonial Western Airways, between Buffalo and Toronto.  Just 45 minutes later the giant Sikorsky amphibian, after an exciting and momentous trip filled chock full of scenic wonders, pointed it's nose down over beautiful Toronto Island, whizzed by the spar of a sailing boat, and taxied up to the Toronto Harbor Dock.....

Crowds  Await  Start      

   In both cities the start of the passenger airline service was an event.  In Buffalo crowds hailed the start of the initial cruise, lining the temporary ramp at the foot of Georgia St. at an early hour and waiting an watching with interest as workers tugged to get the great airfish floated.  Passengers for the first flight arrived at the Buffalo starting place promptly at 9:30 o'clock, and nearly 500 persons attended the start. 

     First Passengers

  Passengers on the maiden trip were: Mr. and Mrs. George N Crouse of Syracuse, veteran air passengers and first-flighters: Cyrus Coffman, John Daniels Jr. of the Hotel Statler; H. Ralph Badger and representatives of the Buffalo press, Stephen B Kane of the Buffalo Times; Charles Mickey of the Buffalo News, and Miss Anne Murray McIlhenney of the Buffalo Courier Express. Piloting the trip was Charles H. Maris, a young flier of the Colonial Western Airways, who has piloted the air mail for quite some time..... The airline inaugurated yesterday will operate daily and holidays on the following schedule:  Leave Buffalo 9:50 a.m., arrive Toronto 10:35 a.m.;  Leave Buffalo 5 p.m., arrive Toronto 5:45 p.m.: Leave Toronto 11:15 a.m., arrive Buffalo 12 noon; Leave Toronto 6:30 p.m., arrive Buffalo 7:15 p.m.


Buffalo Evening News   July 16 1929



    When the Sikorsky amphibian, Neekah, rolled up the landing ramp at the foot of Georgia St. Wednesday evening at 7:15 o'clock, she carried 600 lbs of mail matter from Toronto---the first international shipment over the Buffalo-Toronto route of the Colonial Western Airways.....The mail was specially stamped and more than 2000 flight covers were received at the Buffalo Post office commemorating the inauguration of the new line, according to government officials......

 EDITORS NOTE:  Wandering around Lasalle Park did you ever notice that concrete ramp going into the water at the south end of the park, between the park and where the high rise condos begin? Most people assumed it to be a boat launch.   In reality, it was Buffalo's first International Airport!
Aerial view of ramp in 1932

Ramp viewed from Lasalle Park
Ramp view looking north
(Click here)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Passenger Steamers of the Great Lakes

"The twin steamers Eastern States and Western States, owned by the Detroit and Buffalo line, are among the largest, handsomest and fastest passenger ships on the Great Lakes. They are licensed to carry 3,500 passengers, have a speed in mid-lake of 20 miles an hour and make the 290 mile trip over the Buffalo-Detroit run in 14 hours, practically carrying all passengers between these ports during the summer months."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

President McKinley Warms Up to Buffalo

                                                       Feb. 1, 1899 - Buffalo Evening News 
William McKinley   
"Whatever I can do for Buffalo, is at Buffalo's disposal, and I shall be glad to do all I can toward making your Exposition a success." 
- President M'Kinley
Washington D.C.,. Feb.1 ---- This in substance was the prompt and cheerful response of the President of the United States, the one man in all this great country who can do most to help the Pan American Exposition, as he replied to the explanatory addresses of the members of the committee who called on him yesterday afternoon.  And it was evident from his tone and manner that President McKinley meant every word he said, and that in him the exposition will have a warm friend and a valuable helper.
Editor:   As we all know (or should) the Pan American Exposition turned out not to be such a warm friend to the President. On September 6, 1901 the president was shot while shaking hands during a public reception at the Temple of Music and died on Sept.14.

President McKinley and the Pan-American Exposition of 1901
A Tragic Encounter     (from The Library of Congress)

  The Pan-American Exposition, staged in Buffalo, New York, presented in  microcosm all of the trends, developments, innovations, and attitudes of  the McKinley years.  The great and colorful buildings along the Grand  Canal, built in ersatz Spanish colonial style, symbolized American  suzerainty over the hemisphere.  The amazing Electric Tower announced to  the world the nation's technical superiority.  In memory of the late  frontier, there was a wild west show.  The now-aged  Apache chief Geronimo was a part of the show --  accompanied by a U.S.Army guard.  The Indian Wars, now just a memory,  were turned into spectacle and mock Indian vs. cavalry skirmishes were  staged three times daily for exposition visitors.
McKinley, his wife and entourage in a private car on the
 Great Gorge Route along the Lower Niagara, September 6, 
1901, just hours before he was shot at the Temple of Music.
  The exposition was opened in the spring of 1901 by the new vice  president, Theodore Roosevelt. President McKinley had been scheduled to  do the honors but had to cancel because of his wife's illness. It was  not until September that the McKinleys were able to inspect the  exposition grounds.  On the morning of September 5th, the president and  first lady crossed the Triumphal Causeway and entered the fair grounds  in an open carriage preceded by troops, military bands, and a mounted  honor guard. The president gave a major address on trade policy to a  large crowd gathered on the Esplanade. Afterwards he toured the  exhibits, complimenting all. He had an unscheduled coffee at the Puerto Rican Building with the Latin American commissioners.
  The following day, the presidential party took an excursion by rail to  see Niagara Falls.  Upon returning to Buffalo, McKinley returned to the  exposition grounds for a reception in the Music Building. The president  had been standing in a receiving line greeting the public for seven  minutes when an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz shot McKinley twice at  point blank range.  Despite early hopes that he might survive the  attack, the president died on September 14th, whispering the words "Good--bye--all,---Good---bye!---It---is--God's---way,---His--will,---not---ours,---be---done."
  The vigorous forty-two year-old Progressive, Theodore Roosevelt,  was now in the White House.  The nineteenth century was over and the  modern era had begun.  Old Guard party boss Mark Hanna complained to a  colleague, "Now look!  That damned cowboy is president of the United  States!"

In 1901, the corner of Elmwood and Amherst was the main gate of the Pan-American Exposition. Amherst St. was the MIDWAY between Elmwood and Delaware.  Photo is looking S.East across Elmwood Ave. Large building on the right was the Horticulture Building.  Domed building just left of center is the Temple of Music where McKinley was shot. To regulate visitor traffic, a wooden fence a mile long and a half-mile wide was erected around the entire Exposition grounds and acreage in the Park. Lower photo, trolley station on Amherst St.

McKinley Delivering 
His Last Address
Excerpts From 
Mckinley's Final Speech as President* 
The Pan American Exposition 9/5/1901

  " I AM  glad again to be in the city of Buffalo and exchange greetings with her people, to whose generous hospitality I am not a stranger, and with whose good will I have been repeatedly and signally honored. To-day I have additional satisfaction in meeting and giving welcome to the foreign representatives assembled here, whose presence and participation in this Exposition have contributed in so marked a degree to its interest and success. To the commissioners of the Dominion of Canada and the British Colonies, the French Colonies, the Republics of Mexico and of Central and South America, and the commissioners of Cuba and Porto Rico, who share with us in this undertaking, we give the hand of fellowship and felicitate with them upon the triumphs of art, science, education and manufacture which the old has bequeathed to the new century.   Expositions are the timekeepers of progress. They record the world’s advancement. They stimulate the energy, enterprise and intellect of the people, and quicken human genius. They go into the home. They broaden and brighten the daily life of the people. They open mighty storehouses of information to the student. Every exposition, great or small, has helped to some onward step."  (continues below)
Delivering his Address, Presidents Day at the Exposition
  "My fellow citizens, trade statistics indicate that this country is in a state of unexampled prosperity. The figures show that we are furnishing profitable employment to the millions of working men throughout the United States. Our capacity to produce has developed so enormously, and our products have so multiplied, that the problem of more markets requires our urgent and immediate attention. By sensible trade arrangements, which will not interrupt our home production, we shall extend the outlets for our ever increasing surplus. What we produce beyond our domestic consumption must have vent abroad. The expansion of our trade and commerce is the pressing problem. Next in advantage to having the thing to sell is to have the conveyance to carry it to the buyer. We must encourage our merchant marine. We must have more ships. They must be under the American flag: built, manned, and owned by Americans. These will not only be profitable in a commercial sense, they will also be messengers of peace wherever they go. Reciprocity treaties are in harmony with the spirit of the times.
  We must build the isthmian canal which will unite the two oceans and give a straight line of communications with the western coasts of Central and South America, and Mexico. The construction of a pacific cable cannot be longer postponed. In the furtherance of these objects of national interest and concern, you are performing and important part. The good work will go on - it cannot be stopped."

"These buildings will disappear"  
This creation of art and beauty and industry will perish from sight. But who can tell the new thoughts that have been awakened, the ambition fired, and the high achievement that will be wrought through this exposition. Gentleman, let us ever remember that our interest is in concord, not conflict. And that our real eminence rests in the victories of peace, not those of war.  We hope that all who are represented here may be moved to higher and nobler efforts for their own and the world’s good, and that out of this city may come not only greater commerce and trade for us all, but, more essential than these, relations of mutual respect, confidence and friendship which will deepen and endure. Our earnest prayer is that God will graciously vouchsafe prosperity, happiness and peace to all our neighbors, and like blessings to all the peoples and powers of earth."
President William McKinley 


*For McKinley's speech in it's entirety, 

click here.

McKinley Touring the Exposition Grounds
Anxious crowds reading bulletins of McKinley's
condition the night he died in Buffalo

Temple of Music Where President McKinley Was Shot
Born in 1843, died in 1901; served in the Civil War, reaching the rank of Major; 
Member of Congress from Ohio in 1877–91; 
defeated for Congress in 1890; elected Governor of Ohio in 1891, 
and again in 1893; elected President in 1896, and again in 1900.
Buffalo's Status Around 1901
Theaters --9
Public Schools--60
Acreage of City--25,343 1/2
Coal Receipts--2,234,329 tons
Lumber Receipts--610,372,884 ft.
Live Stock Receipts--7,296,929 head.
Flour-- Manufactured in 1897 1,097,883 barrels
Elevators--52 with 16,690,000 bushels capacity
Grain Receipts--By lake,  260,911,099 bushels
Commerce--Fourth shipping city in the world
Vessels Arrived-- In 1897, 5752, tonnage 5,773,876,
Vessels Cleared-- in 1897, 5811, tonnage 5,807,982
Manufactories--3500; or over 100,000 operatives
Parks--939 acres and 17 miles of park driveways
Largest Coal Trestle in the world, 
the Lackawanna trestle; 
nearly one mile long.
Railways--26 roads enter the city; 
250 passenger trains daily; nearly
700 miles of trackage within the city limits.
Street Railways--180 miles; more under course of construction
Paved Streets--stone 116 1/2 miles; brick, 4.04 miles, asphalt 220 miles or
giving Buffalo more asphalt than Paris, Washington, 
London, or another city in the world.
Rate Taxation -
City, $18.03883 on valuation of $1,000. Lamp Tax, .74799,
County and State, $4.2676. Total $23.05442

   It is hard to imagine now what a metropolis Buffalo was at the turn of that century. Buffalo in about 75 years from the time it was just a small village in 1825, grew to a population of nearly 400,000 and was the fourth largest port in the world! By 1899 there were 52 grain elevators including 4 floaters. But Buffalo was more than just grain and flour milling, it was the most diversified industrial city in America outside of New York City with over 3500 factories!

Monday, July 12, 2010


 Everyone is familiar the many daredevils who sought glory making attempts to go over Niagara Falls in barrels, as Anne Taylor did in 1901, or walk a high wire across the gorge as Blondin and others did with great success in the 19th century. Now Nik Wallenda made a brave attempt, crossing the Falls on a rope to Canada on June 15(2012).
Anne Taylor being helped ashore after her plunge
over the Falls in 1901
  A little known fact is, that Buffalo, not to be outdone by our Niagara neighbors, had it's own daredevils going over the largest things we had to offer, Grain Elevators! Unfortunately, many of  the daredevils braving Buffalo's waterfront, learned too late; going over Niagara Falls would  have been a lot safer than a grain elevator.
  The Watson Elevator was for many years the highest among the large grain storehouses on the Buffalo waterfront. It was a unique elevator situated on an island the same size as the structure itself giving the illusion of the elevator floating on the water.  It was located at the junction of the City Ship Canal and the Buffalo River, just opposite Commercial Slip. The marine leg tower, about 110 ft. high was the point from which daring men, ambitious to win notoriety, essayed to leap or dive into the Buffalo River.
   In 1879 or 1880 Charles Comstock made the first attempt to jump from the Watson Elevator. He advertised the event, and on the afternoon designated, thousands of people lined the old Central Wharf and docks to witness the jump. Comstock fastened a plank extending out about 10 ft., and from it he jumped off!  His shoes were weighted with lead, and he descended in an almost vertical line until within about 15 ft. of the water when his body swerved slightly to one side. Hitting the water on left side, he survived suffering only severe bruises and soreness.

    A few weeks later, a young man named Dingman attempted the bolder feat of diving from the top of the Watson Elevator into the creek.  He made the dive but the momentum which his body gathered on the way down carried him head first to the bottom of the river, where he stuck in the mud and broke his neck.
  About 1897, Akron Jack, a diver of world wide reputation attempted to dive from the Watson Elevator.  Jack, unfortunately lost control of the dive and hit the water on his side. Thousands had gathered to witness this daring act and saw Akron Jack meet his death.
  Two years later another well known diver named Chicago Red attempted to jump from the roof of the elevator into the river.  A well advertised event, several thousand people were on hand to witness the performance.  Chicago Red jumped all right and landed in the river vertically, but the great speed  he gathered took him to the bottom of the river where he stuck solidly in the mud.  His body was found a few days later.
 The Watson Elevator sat on it's own Island Just off Commercial Slip.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hello and Welcome to The Buffalo History Gazette

       Just to introduce myself, my name is Jerry M. Malloy and I have always been interested and fascinated by historical events, people and technologies, especially those connected to the Western NY area.  For over two decades I have been bringing Buffalo's waterfront history to thousands of people through walking and boat tours, along with photographic lectures and displays at my parents famous historic restaurant,  The Harbor Inn on Ohio & Chicago St.

      Buffalo is so rich in stories, some well known but most hidden and forgotten except to the most ardent of researchers.  As editor and reporter of the Buffalo History Gazette, I will dig up the stories and events as they happened.  The stories will vary from the significant news of the day,  to snippets of every day life in and around the Buffalo area.  Even want ads, job postings of the day may find their way in.  Many inventions we take for granted and use every day got their birth right here in Buffalo.

      After interviewing hundreds of potential editors and reporters I decided I was best qualified for the jobs at hand.  Even though I don't pay much,  there is rich satisfaction in knowing these stories will be given their freedom from the confines of old newspapers and books they were trapped in for so long.  Blogging is a new frontier for me so the first few weeks or more will be in the experimental stage as I get the feel for it, so please be patient.  Not sure what exact format I will present this in at the moment, but when the moment comes, what will be will be!  So It's time to hit the streets, even though many may not even be there anymore. The editor is getting impatient. (Who hired him anyways?) Look for the First Edition soon at a computer near you!  Thank You

Editor - Jerry M. Malloy
Beat Reporter - Jerry M. Malloy