Some Awesome Buffalo Trivia

I mentioned a while back that I had applied for the Buffalo Tours docent training. Well, classes started in January, and I am on my way to becoming a tour guide! The classes are 3 hours long, every Saturday morning and take place somewhere new every week. I've gotten a chance to see some awesome places and learn things about this city that I would have never known otherwise. Here are a few of my favorite tidbits of Buffalo trivia:

When the old Buffalo Post Office (now the ECC City Campus - a magnificent building) opened in March of 1901, the first letter sent from the office was done so as part of an opening ceremony. It was a letter to President McKinley, inviting him to attend the Pan-American Exposition that was being held in Buffalo that year. He did attend the Pan-Am. The rest, as you probably know, is history.

    Entrance to the old Buffalo Post Office / ECC City Campus

    Buffalonians spend more per-capita on Halloween costumes, decorations, etc than any other city IN THE WORLD! My source for this stat is a fellow docent-in-training by the name of Donnie. She is a self confessed Halloween junkie so I definitely believe her, even though I can't find anything online to validate her statement. We really do know how to take advantage of autumn around here.

    My last, and favorite bit of Buffalo trivia is a little story I've been sharing with everyone who will listen. It's a gem. In 1901, while Buffalo was preparing for the Pan-Am expo, the "working girls" of New York City decided that they would shuffle on up to Buffalo to try to earn a few extra bucks. The "Buffalo Gals" of Canal Street - Buffalo's red light district back in the day - were not thrilled by the idea of anyone else stepping in on their business. They decided to throw a little welcome party for the ladies from the Big Apple, greeting them with knives, clubs, and chains. What followed was an EIGHT HOUR BATTLE ROYALE between the ladies. Needless to say, the Buffalo Gals came out on top. (My source for this tale is an awesome book called Nickel City Drafts: A Drinking History of Buffalo, NYby Dan Murphy)

    As a little side note to that story: In this famous scene from It's A Wonderful Life (probably my favorite movie of all time) you can hear George and Mary singing "Buffalo Gals." What you may not realize is that the song was written about - you guessed it - the ladies of the night of Buffalo's Canal Street!  Yep, it's a song about hookers - written circa 1844.

    By mid-April I should graduate from the docent training class and be ready to give my first Buffalo Tour. I'll be giving the Queen City Downtown tour, which is an hour-long walking tour of downtown that highlights some really gorgeous architecture and interesting history. I may continue taking classes for a few extra weeks so that I'll also be able to give the new waterfront tours that will take place near the canal starting this summer. You can check out the Buffalo Tours site for the full schedule, but I'll be sure to post when I'll actually be giving tours. By then I'm sure I'll have some more awesome trivia to share.