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Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society’

Granger Place is a short road in the Elmwood Village, running less than 1/4th of a mile, between Elmwood Avenue and Lincoln Parkway between Forest Avenue and Bird Avenue.  The street was originally known as Elmhurst.   The street is named for Erastus Granger, one of Buffalo’s earliest residents and the Village’s first postmaster.

Erastus Granger was a businessman raised in Connecticut.  He was sent by a group of New England businessmen to look after their investments in Virginia and Kentucky.  While in the south, he met and befriended Thomas Jefferson.  He worked on Jefferson’s campaign for President, and when Jefferson took office, he sent Erastus Granger to Buffalo and appointed him postmaster of the Village in 1803.  When Mr. Granger arrived in Buffalo Creek (which is what Buffalo was called at the time), there were only 16 huts, three blacksmith shops, a taverns, a drugstore and a jail.   He sent up his post office in a desk at Crow’s Tavern on Exchange Street.  You can visit Mr. Granger’s desk and see a replica of Crow’s Tavern in the Pioneer Gallery at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society!

Mr. Granger built a house near where the Main Street entrance of Forest Lawn cemetary is today.  His farm extended north to West Oakwood and west to Elmwood Avenue.   Granger Place is located on a small portion of his 800-acre estate, which he called Flint Hill, due to the rock in the soil.  His estate included all of the lands now containing Forest Lawn, Delaware Park, Buffalo State College and the Richardson Complex!    He built the Buffalo Harbor lighthouse in 1817, which was replaced in 1830s by the current Buffalo lighthouse.

During the War of 1812, Mr. Granger worked with Red Jacket and other indian leaders to get them to sign a treaty of neutrality.  The Native Americans kept the treaty until the Indians from Canada invaded their territory, at which time they joined the Americans.    Mr. Granger opened his property as a safe haven for refugees of Buffalo after the British burned the Village.

During the Winter of 1812-1813, The Army of the Frontier under General Alexander Smythe set up camp at Flint Hill in anticipation of invading Canada.  Nearly three hundred soldiers died there.  The dead were buried in Granger’s meadow, in the present Delaware Park.    A plaque at Main Street and Humboldt Parkway, and a stone in the Delaware Park meadow memorialize the Flint Hill Encampment and the 300 soldiers buried there.

Erastus Granger’s grave is located on land that he once owned in Forest Lawn cemetary.   Red Jacket delivered the Eulogy at his funeral.

Sources:

“Granger Place Honors Memory of First Buffalo Postmaster” Courier Express Sept 18, 1938, sec 6 p 10

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“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something….You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”   – JRR Tolkien, The Hobbitt

I decided to fill you all in on how I’ve been doing my research.  As most of you know, the internet is a vast, amazing source of knowledge. However, anyone can put forth a website and call it fact. I’ve decided to do the majority of my research through conventional means.  In short, I’m a bookworm.  And libraries are important.

In Buffalo, we’re lucky to have two wonderful resources involving Buffalo historical research, the Research Library at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society (BECHS) and the Grovesnor Room at the Central Library.  If you’ve never been to either of these locations, I highly recommend stopping by.  You can get lost in the old books, discovering new things and diving into stacks and stacks of Buffalo history.   Amazing resources are available, right under our fingertips.

The Research Library at BECHS is located at what most people refer to as the History Museum.   The library documents the history of Buffalo and the region, and has several special collections.  If you haven’t been to the History Museum since your 4th grade field trip or to pose for wedding pics, you should definitely stop by, revisit the exhibits (the new Pioneer Room just opened this summer) and poke your head in the library.   Cynthia, the librarian at  BECHS, has  been extremely helpful in letting me know about the existence of articles about the history of Buffalo Streets, being supportive of my intent to start the blog, and reminding me to cite my sources!

The Grovesnor Room used to be its own library, which operated as a non-circulating reference library since 1871.   It provided library services until 1963 when it merged with the Buffalo Public Library when the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library was founded.  The room, located at the Central library contains a large collection of books about Buffalo, as well as a local history file, scrapbooks, microfilm of numerous newspapers, and maps.

My favorite things in the Grovesnor Room are the feasibility study that was done to decide where to locate the Bills stadium when they were moving from the Rockpile (Orchard Park wasn’t even on the list!).  And they have the original blueprints for Memorial Auditorium (RIP my beloved Aud).  The librarians in the Grovesnor Room are also wonderful, providing resources and encouragement while I sit and do research.  I’ve been spending a lot of time with the Local History File, and the Buffalo History Scrapbooks, full of newspaper clippings, some more than 100 years old!!

If anyone has any questions about my sources for any of the information, feel free to contact me and let me know.  And if you ever want to spend an afternoon getting lost in Buffalo history, let me know and I’ll meet you at the library!

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