Books: by Title: Buffalo-Niagara Connections
Buffalo held a world's fair, the Pan-American Exposition, in 1901. How did the little hamlet of a few scattered cabins a century earlier grow to the eighth largest city in the United States by the dawn of the 20th Century?
There were unique assets here that ambitious entrepreneurs utilized to create a great American city within one lifetime. When the Erie Canal reached the sleepy village of 2000 persons in 1825, the community awakened and grew rapidly to city status by 1832.
Buffalo and the rest of the Niagara region, from St. Catharines and Welland through the cities of Niagara Falls to Lockport and the Tonawandas, exploited their special geographic position at the eastern end of the upper Great Lakes where it was necessary to transfer goods and people from lake boats to canal transportation and, later, railroads to complete the journey to and from the Atlantic coast.
Buffalo-Niagara Connections tells the story of that exciting growth, then examines the 20th century factors that caused the region to tumble from prosperity to hard times. The book concludes with an examination of factors that utilize our geographic advantages to integrate the Western New York and Canadian economies and could ultimately restore great prosperity to our region in the 21st century.
John W. Percy has served as historian for the Town of Tonawanda, and the village of Kenmore since 1969. He has written five books on the history of the two communities.