Well, it's official. I've finished my Buffalo Tours training, completed my final exam tour, and am now officially a docent. You can find me giving walking tours of downtown Buffalo's glorious architecture and history starting this summer! But that's not all! I've decided to take a few extra weeks of the class so that I'll also be able to give the waterfront tours that are given down by the commercial slip. During these extra weeks I've picked up a few more awesome tidbits of information about Buffalo which I will gladly share with you now.
More immigrants to the U.S. passed through the city of Buffalo than ever went through Ellis Island. It turns out that most people who emigrated from Northern Europe came through Canada, bypassing New York City entirely. Almost all of them passed through Buffalo. Those who DID come through NYC and headed West most likely also passed through the Nickel city. They came down the Erie canal and sailed West from here.
Buffalo is home of the original "Dive Bar." It's true! Those bars that we all love in spite of, or sometimes because of their cheap drinks and dingy atmosphere got their nick name right here. It all started in a place called Dug's Dive, a crappy little joint near the canal back in the mid 19th century. The bar itself was in the basement of the building, and to get there patrons had to climb down a dark narrow staircase. Hence "dive." The place was notorious for being pretty much the most disgusting place ever. Regular flooding from the canal left the establishment damp and smelly. Noone paid attention to the bodies strewn on benches, or could even tell if they were dead or just passed out from the drink. And that is why "dives" are the gross (yet comfortably familiar) bars we all know and love today. (The Dug's Dive that now exists on Buffalo's waterfront is a lovely establishment. It is not the same place and is named only as an homage to our city's history.)
|An illustration of Buffalo's Canal Street district|