We bet you didn’t know that…

1. It’s generally agreed upon that Buffalo is named after Buffalo Creek, though historians disagree on where the creek got its name.

2. One theory is easy to believe: Buffalo were once common place in the east, thus the name. Others believe it’s derived from the French beau fleuve or beautiful river.

3. Buffalo can be used as three types of words: a noun (the animal), a proper noun (the city we love) and verb (meaning to outwit or bully).

4. This sentence makes perfect sense, then: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. Dmitri Borgmann first used it in his 1967 book “Beyond Language: Adventures in Word and Thought” to demonstrate the complexities of language.

5. The first europeans settled the mouth of Buffalo Creek in 1758. The English would take control of the area in 1763 with the end of the French and Indian War.

6. At its peak, over 580,000 people lived in Buffalo in 1950. By 2010, that number fallen to around 260,000 souls.

7. At its own peak during WWII, the Bethlehem Steel plant in Buffalo was the largest steel-making facility in the world. It employed over 20,000 people alone.

The Bethlehem Steel Plant in 1968. (National Archives/Public Domain)

The Bethlehem Steel Plant in 1968. (National Archives/Public Domain)

8. Steel Winds, the wind farm sitting on the former home of Bethlehem Steel, produces 35 MW of energy, powering about 14,000 homes.

9. Millard Fillmore, the 13th President of the United States, was born in the Finger Lakes but made his living in Buffalo. He’s largely regarded by historians as a pretty terrible President. His own party even failed to renominate him after his first term.

10. Fillmore however was kind to Buffalo; he founded the University at Buffalo and was its first Chancellor.

11. The average high school GPA of a freshman entering UB is 3.2.

12. The average commute for a Buffalonian takes about 20 minutes. That’s one of the lowest among the country’s largest cities.

13. Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect best known for designing New York City’s Central Park, said Buffalo was “the best planned city, as to its streets, public places, and grounds, in the United States, if not the world.”

14. Of course, Olmsted designed a lot of it himself. A short list of places he designed include: Delaware Park (which he simply called The Park), Front Park, and many parkways and circles.

A photo posted by Peter Farrell (@usrtpeterjf) on

15. Buffalo was not the original choice for the Bills. When Miami rejected Ralph Wilson’s proposal, Buffalo recruited the team. His telegram to AFL founder Lamar Hunt read simply, “Count me in with Buffalo.”

16. Jack Kemp, who lead the Bills to two consecutive AFL Championships as team captain in 1965, was nominated as Bob Dole’s running mate for vice president in 1996.

17. The Bills have not made the NFL Playoffs since 1999, making them the only team in the league not to have made the playoffs in the 21st century. It’s the longest active playoff drought in professional sports.

18. It cost $2.4 million to build the Memorial Auditorium in 1940. That’s over $40 million in today’s money. First Niagara Center cost $127 million to build, or $192 million today.

19. The first event to be held at the Aud was a campaign rally for Republican Presidential candidate Wendell Wilke. Wilke went on to lose to FDR.

20. The idea for the annual Buffalo Wing Festival came from the 2001 film Osmosis Jones. Bill Murray plays a character that wanted to attend the National Buffalo Wing Festival, which didn’t actually exist.

21. The Statler Hotel chain, which began in Buffalo, was the first major chain to put a bathroom in every guest room.

The original Statler Hotel downtown. (Library of Congress/Public Domain)

The original Statler Hotel downtown. (Library of Congress/Public Domain)

22. The original hotel once sat at Swan and Washington streets. It was demolished in 1968 and is now Coca Cola Field.

23. Built by the same design firm, the classic-retro park would inspire Camden Yards in Baltimore and PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

24. Ironically, both the inventor and first person to die by electric chair were from Buffalo (Alfred P. Southwick and William Kemmler, respectively).

25. Though the X-Ray was exhibited at the Pan American Exhibition, doctors were afraid to use it on President William McKinley after he was shot. Doctors feared unknown side effects. McKinnley died 8 days later.

26. And though many of the building of the exhibition were adorned with electric lightbulbs outside, none were installed in McKinley’s operating room. Doctors had to use a pan to reflect sunlight in as they treated the dying president’s wounds.

27. The lions at the foot of the McKinley Monument weigh 12 tons each. That’s roughly the same weight as a cruise ship’s anchor.

28. One Seneca Center is the tallest building in Buffalo, but it’s currently 95% vacant.

29. City Hall, built in 1931, has a unique air conditioning system. It was built with vents that catch wind coming off Lake Erie and flown through the building’s basement to cool. So powerful is the wind that usually the air is redistributed throughout the building without the use of electric power.

30.Buffalo gets about 93 inches of snowfall every year. Compare that to the 25 inches that falls regularly on New York City—or the 61 inches Fairbanks, Alaska gets.

31. In just a few days in November 2014, some 88 inches fell on the city. That’s more now than New York City would see in three years.


(Featured photo via Wikipedia/JBona CC 3.0)

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