Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Buffalo Harbor Cruise on 'Miss Buffalo II' - Part I

Nature and Buffalo Lighthouse Cruise - Part I

This past Sunday I ventured out on a local cruise of the Buffalo Harbor. Here are some things that I learned about Buffalo.

Buffalo was incorporated as a city on April 20, 1832. At that time it was 4 .5 square miles, with a population of 10,000. The northern border was North Street.

Buffalo’s first mayor, Dr. Ebenezer Johnson, was elected for a one-year term. (Salary $250 per year.) Before the election, Johnson was one of Buffalo's wealthiest citizens. Johnson Park is named after him.

That June, a cholera epidemic broke out and over 120 died from the epidemic. All traffic - lake and canal boats, stages and coaches - was stopped immediately.

Buffalo Lighthouse

Located on the Coast Guard base across from the Erie Basin Marina, the lighthouse is a conspicuous symbol of Buffalo's past and present. Built in 1833, it is the oldest building on Buffalo's waterfront and one of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes. It is the second of four lighthouses to serve as Buffalo's light.

The light stands near the end of a long stone pier, which can be called the foundation of Buffalo, originally having been laid down by Samuel Wilkeson in 1820. It created a sheltered harbor along the previously untamed shore.

The lighthouse is constructed of Onondaga limestone and bluestone, and is one year younger than Buffalo itself (chartered as a city in 1832). The tower is 68 feet tall and tapers from a 20-foot diameter at the base, where the walls are four feet thick, to a 12-foot diameter at the top, where the walls are two feet thick. It is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Milk Bottle Light

In 1914 the lens was taken from the lighthouse tower to one built just behind the outer harbor breakwater. The breakwater light then became the principal, or third, Buffalo light. A fourth light, a 71-foot white tower on the breakwater itself, has been the main light since 1963.

Restoration in the late 1980's resulted in floodlighting of the tower's shaft and illumination of the cupola.

From the top of the Marina's Observation Tower one can see the outline of Buffalo’s Erie Basin Marina which was constructed in the shape of a Bison,

The Marina is a combination of a waterfront path, private marina, public park, and is a stunning location where the Buffalo River and Lake Erie meet. In the warmer months one can see boaters, kayaks, runners, families and people watchers enjoying the natural beauty of the water and fantastic city views.

Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park

In 1975, the City of Buffalo established a naval and servicemen's park and museum on a six-acre waterfront site on the Buffalo River at its juncture with Lake Erie to honor the men and women who served in the Armed Forces during World War II and the post WW II period of the Cold War.

In 1976 the USS Little Rock (CG-4) was to be decommissioned later that fall. The 31 year old Little Rock had grown too old to operate effectively. The Navy formally agreed to donate the ship to Buffalo for display in the naval park.

Two sea-going tugs and 15 volunteer crewmen began their journey of 2,180 nautical miles, towing the 610 foot, 10,700 ton Little Rock from Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, up the Atlantic coast, through the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Welland Canal to Buffalo. The Little Rock entered the Buffalo harbor channel on Friday 15 July 1977

A few of the many private yachts moored in the Buffalo harbor

The Spirit of Buffalo

Boating and fishing are two of the pastimes spent by many on the lake.
Lake Erie is the smallest and the most shallow of the Great Lakes.

I live downtown near the waterfront and, in the mornings, when I open the door to pick up my newspaper I can smell the pleasant odor of cereal.

General Mills is located at the waters edge and is a private company that produces flour and cereal. They have an annual revenue of $10 million and employ 500 local workers.

There is a fun t-shirt that some people wear in Buffalo - it says "My city smells of Cheerios"

This view of the Vietnam War Memorial is taken from a boat on the Buffalo Canal. Located near the Buffalo Naval and Serviceman's Park, this large polished granite monument features two quarter-circular walls that rise from the ground to approximately 12 feet in height. The walls are engraved with several quotes and other inscriptions, as well as the names of Western New York veterans killed during the Vietnam War. In the center of the semi-circular walls is a granite column with "Western New York Vietnam Veterans" and an image of a soldier and helicopter engraved on its top surface.

The monument's sculptor was Sirianni and the architect was Lawrence K. Moss.
Placed 07/07/1984

photos by peacesojourner

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