Our History page provides a brief chronology of the rich and wonderful history of Buffalo, NY and its surrounding region. You will also find some resources to help you explore our history in depth.See our Events Index page for year indexed information.

History Resources

Some useful history resources include:

Early History

"The history of Erie County begins about the year 1620, when the first Europeans visited its vicinity. In that year three French Catholic missionaries came to instruct the Indians living in Canada, northwestward of this locality. ... (the county ) was not organized with its present name and boundaries until 1821." 1

First Settlements

Buffalo Founders

19th Century

The City of Buffalo and Erie County began in the early years of the 19th century, were impacted by the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, saw growth from the development of the steam powered grain eleavator, and became an important part of the Underground Railroad.

During the second half of the 19th century, the Buffalo area developed a commercial agricultural and industrial economy. As a stopping point for immigrants headed west, the city took on a reputation for its Buffalo Girls ("won't you come out tonight").

20th Century

The 20th century was opened by the 1901 Pan-American Exposition featuring Niagara Falls generated hydro-electric power that gave Buffalo the name City of Light.

21s Century

The 21st century found the City of Buffalo in dire straits and in 2003 its fiscal crisis resulted in the establishment of the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority.


1. Chapter 1, History of Erie County, 1884