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Discover WNY’s Rich History on Explore Buffalo’s October Tours | Environment

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Discover WNY’s Rich History on Explore Buffalo’s October Tours
Discover WNY’s Rich History on Explore Buffalo’s October Tours


Explore Buffalo, a nonprofit organization providing tours and other opportunities where guests can discover Buffalo’s great architecture, history and neighborhoods, has announced an extensive lineup of October events. 

Space is limited for each tour and advance reservations are encouraged. Most tours are approximately 90 to 120 minutes in length and are held rain or shine. Participants are asked to dress for the weather conditions and wear comfortable shoes. Please visit www.explorebuffalo.org, call 245-3032 or email explore@explorebuffalo.org to make your reservation today!

October’s highlighted tour is the “Architectural Pursuit” tour to be offered from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11. Tickets are $30 and reservations are required. Participants will meet at the Mural Room, Hotel Lafayette, 391 Washington St., Buffalo.

Individuals on the Architectural Pursuit tour will enjoy an afternoon of architectural treasure hunting. Team up with family and friends for a three-hour scavenger hunt while exploring both famous and lesser-known architectural gems of downtown Buffalo. Look high, low, straight ahead and right under your nose to find unique architectural details and historic trivia. The highest scoring team wins, but all participants get to enjoy the post-hunt party with Buffalo-style food in the Mural Room of the Hotel Lafayette.

Please arrive at the Mural Room between 12:30 and 12:45 p.m. to check in with your team. Enter the Hotel Lafayette at the Pan-Am Grill and walk straight back to get to the Mural Room. Instructions will be given at 12:50 p.m., and at 1 p.m. teams will be released to begin searching!

Return to the Mural Room by 4 p.m. or penalty points for being late will be assessed! While the points are being tallied, enjoy a Buffalo-themed spread of appetizers from the Pan-American Grill. Food and one drink at the bar is included in the price of admission (followed by a cash bar). Once the points have been tallied, winners will be announced and prizes distributed.

Each Architectural Pursuit team may have two to five participants, and teams must stay together throughout the entire event. This is a walking scavenger hunt; no bikes, cars,  or other means of transportation are allowed. You may, however, use the free-fare Metro Rail.

Other tours to be held throughout October include:

Buffalo Classics Walking Tour

Friday, Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 •  2 to 4 p.m.

Tickets: $10; $5 for students with valid student ID  

Meet: Spot Coffee, 227 Delaware Ave., Buffalo 

This downtown walking tour showcases many of Buffalo’s best local architects who designed some of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Buildings included as part of this tour include the Market Arcade, Buffalo Savings Bank, Electric Tower, Hotel Lafayette and City Hall.

Masters of American Architecture

Saturday, October 4, 11, 18 & 25 • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Tickets: $10; $5 for students with valid student ID  

Meet: The Archer Restaurant, 268 Main St., Buffalo

See signature works by some of America’s greatest architects and learn about the prominence of Buffalo on a national scale at the turn of the 20th century. Buildings included as part of this tour include St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Old County Hall, Guaranty Building, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Ellicott Square Building and the Old Post Office. Please note that Main Street is currently closed to vehicular traffic, so the nearest cross street is Swan Street. Ample parking can be found on the surrounding streets and in nearby lots. Most street parking downtown is free after 5 p.m. and weekends. The Seneca Metro Rail Station is immediately adjacent to this tour’s meeting location.

Down by the River

Sunday, October 5 & 12 • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Tickets: $15; $5 for students with valid student ID  

Meet: Swannie House, 170 Ohio St., Buffalo 

Buffalo grew from the water’s edge, as the Erie Canal and later the railroads brought unprecedented commerce and industry to the city. This waterfront walking tour will explore some of the oldest neighborhoods of Buffalo, many of which have gone through numerous transitions and are in the midst of yet another change as the city returns its focus to the water. Featured as part of the tour are the Erie Canal and the development of the grain elevator, Old First Ward neighborhood and immigration to Buffalo, Cobblestone District and waterfront industry, and railroad history including the DL&W and NY Central. Please note that Ohio Street is currently closed from Michigan Avenue to Louisiana Street for construction; use the posted detours and plan to avoid Ohio Street when arriving for this tour. Please do not park in the Swannie House’s parking lot. Ample street parking is available in the neighborhood on South Park Avenue, Moore Street and other surrounding streets.

Mobsters, Murder & Mayhem

Sunday, Oct. 5 • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Tickets: $15; $5 for students with valid student ID

Meet: Central Library, Lafayette Square, Washington & Broadway, Buffalo

Buffalo’s first recorded murder occurred in 1802, 30 years before Buffalo was even incorporated as a city, and since then the city has had its fair share of criminal exploits. On this tour, you’ll learn some of the darker secrets of some of the most famous figures in the city’s history, including Joseph Ellicott and Louis Sullivan. You’ll find out about some of the most successful criminals and mobsters in the city’s history, and how the Federal Witness Protection Program came to be started here. Some of the city’s less competent criminals will also be mentioned for comic relief as you walk through downtown on this entertaining tour. The tour will end at a former Prohibition-era speakeasy that is now a fashionable downtown restaurant.

Lincoln Parkway

Sunday, October 5 • 1 to 3 p.m.

Tickets: $15; $5 for students with valid student ID

Meet: Abraham Lincoln Statue in the Rose Garden, 199 Lincoln Parkway, Buffalo

Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to be the principal approach to the jewel of his Buffalo park system, Delaware Park, Lincoln Parkway is one of the most beautiful streets in Buffalo. The homes along Lincoln Parkway, constructed in the early part of the 20th century by some of Buffalo’s wealthiest families, represent a wide variety of architectural styles. This tour will be a “walk in the park’” as you explore the neighborhood and the stories of the families who have lived there!

Five Presidents in Buffalo

Monday, Oct. 6, 13 & 27 • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Tickets: $15; $5 for students with valid student ID

Meet: Robert H. Jackson Federal Courthouse, 2 Niagara Square, Buffalo

The home of two presidents, Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland, Buffalo has also played host to many American presidents for important speeches and other occasions, the most infamous being President McKinley’s visit to the Pan-American Exposition in 1901 that ended tragically with his assassination. Some of the presidential stories in Buffalo are often told, while others are less widely known. Join us on this tour to learn about five presidents who are particularly prominent in Buffalo history. This tour is co-sponsored by the Association for a Buffalo Presidential Canter. This tour meets at the Robert H. Jackson Federal Courthouse and concludes at the Pan-American Grill & Brewery inside the Hotel Lafayette at Lafayette Square.

Allentown Mob Tour

Saturday, Oct. 11 • 7 to 9 p.m.

Tickets: $15; $5 for students with valid student ID

Meet: Cafe 59, 62 Allen St., Buffalo

How did a Rembrandt painting stolen from a French museum find its way to Buffalo? How did one Buffalo mobster get the nickname “Lucky Pants?” Find out on the Allentown Mob Tour! This tour is adapted from Mike Rizzo’s book “Gangsters and Organized Crime in Buffalo,” and was previously operated as part of Naked Buffalo Tours. Come on this tour and receive a special deal for a free glass of beer or wine with the purchase of a sandwich or entree at Cafe 59, where the tour begins and ends!

Art of the Subway

Sunday, Oct. 12 • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tickets: $15; $5 for students with valid student ID

Meet: University Station, University Station, Buffalo

Buffalo’s Metro Rail system is an oft-overlooked treasure trove of modern art! Each station features unique artwork by a wide variety of artists, which will be seen on this tour as you travel from one end of the Metro Rail system to the other, getting off at each station along the way. Metro Rail fare is not included in the tour price and must be purchased separately. Please note that in 2014, this tour will take approximately three hours instead of two due to Metro Rail’s altered construction schedule.

Silo City Vertical

Sunday,  Oct. 12 • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 25 • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tickets: $45; $40 for student with valid student ID

Meet: 120 Childs St., Buffalo 

This tour is an experience unlike any other tour in the world! Silo City: Vertical will take you to the top of the American and Perot complexes. Approximately 2.5 hours in length, you will experience all of the history and mechanics of the grain elevator, as well as the malt production process in the Perot malthouse on this in-depth tour. A look at some of the regenerative projects ongoing at Silo City is included. Please note that Silo City: Vertical is not recommended for those with a fear of heights. Participants on this tour must be physically able to go up approximately 100 feet (10 stories) of stairs and a short interior ladder to reach the top – and then come back down! The elevators have been out of commission for years, so stairs are the only way to go. This tour includes lunch on the dock along the Buffalo River at the end of the tour. Reservations required!

Black Rock Walking Tour

Sunday, Oct. 12 • 1 to 3 p.m.

Tickets: $15; $5 student with valid student ID

Meet: Market Square Park, Niagara & Amherst streets, Buffalo  

One of the earliest villages established on the Niagara frontier, Black Rock has a history all its own including its role in the War of 1812, the competition to be the terminus of the Erie Canal, site of one of the first railroad lines and spring-fed public water systems, and home to a variety of immigrant groups. Our tour includes walking across the International Railroad Bridge to see the Black Rock Lock and a stroll through the area’s residential streets to view some of the oldest housing stock in the city.

Indoor Art of Downtown Buffalo

Friday, October 17 & 31 • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Tickets: $15; $5 student with valid student ID

Meet: Ellicott Square Building, 295 Main St., Buffalo

Downtown Buffalo is home to a treasure trove of art spanning centuries inside its commercial, government and religious buildings. Learn how the art reflects the building it is placed in and their time period, and the fascinating people who were responsible for placing the art. On this tour, get a unique look inside the buildings of downtown Buffalo as we focus on murals, art, mosaics, sculpture and more. Meet in front of the Ellicott Square Building’s entrance on Main Street.

Brewing Buffalo: Then and Now Bus Tour

Saturday, Oct. 18 • 1 to 5 p.m.

Tickets: $45; reservations required

Meet: Gene McCarthy’s, 73 Hamburg St., Buffalo

Brewing in Buffalo has continually evolved from its beginnings in the early 1800s to its present-day revival. At its peak in the early 1900s before Prohibition, Buffalo’s brewing industry included nearly 30 independent breweries producing millions of gallons of beer each year. Today, Buffalo’s brewing culture is returning, with the opening of numerous craft breweries around the city. Join us for a four-hour bus tour to view locations important to Buffalo’s brewing past and learn about the history of brewing in the Queen City, and visit several craft breweries for interior tours and product samples. Tour participants must be 21 or older, and reservations are required. Space is limited on the bus. Samples are included at each of the brewery stops on the tour; light appetizers will be provided at the final stop. This tour is approximately four hours in length and proceeds rain or shine.

Delaware Avenue Mansions

Saturday,  Oct. 18 • 2 to 4 p.m.

Tickets: $15; $5 for students with valid student ID 

Meet: 109 North St. (corner of North and Delaware), Buffalo

The richest of the rich in Buffalo put their wealth on full display on this section of Delaware Avenue, home to the grandest collection of mansions built in the city. Marvel at these grandiose monuments to the Gilded Age and enjoy the intriguing stories of the families who built them – many were related – on this tour of Delaware Avenue from North to Bryant streets. Interior access to one of the mansions, which has been converted for other uses, will be included on the tour.  

Silo City: Grounded

Sunday, Oct. 19 & 26 • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 3 p.m.

Tickets: $15; $5 for students with valid student ID 

Meet: Silo City, 120 Childs St., Buffalo 

At ground level, experience the monumental scale of the grain elevators constructed in Buffalo in the first half of the 20th century, and also see how they are now being repurposed. On this guided walk around the grounds of Silo City, you will enter the ground floor work areas of a flour mill, two grain elevators and a malthouse. You will also see new projects, including “Elevator B” and Silo City Rocks. 

West Side Mob

Sunday, Oct. 19 • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Tickets: $15; $5 for students with valid student ID

Meet: Providence Social, 490 Rhode Island St., Buffalo

Buffalo’s West Side was once a hotbed of mob activity and government surveillance as law enforcement tried to make a dent in the criminal underworld, often with little success. Find out how the mob succeeded at eluding the government men decades on this entertaining tour. This tour is adapted from Mike Rizzo’s book “Gangsters and Organized Crime in Buffalo,” and was previously operated as part of Naked Buffalo Tours. Come on this tour and receive a special deal at Providence Social restaurant, where the tour begins and ends!

Hidden Gems of the Delaware District

Sunday, Oct. 19 • 2 to 4 p.m.

Tickets: $15; $5 for students with valid student ID  

Meet: Coffee Culture, 448 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo 

The streets surrounding Delaware Avenue were and are highly desirable places to live.  Take a walk around the block to discover stories of the Goodyear family compound, luxury apartment buildings, and homes on Linwood Avenue, Summer Street and Oakland Place. A stop inside a Queen Anne mansion is planned.  

City of Light Bus Tour

Saturday, Oct. 25 • 1 to 4 p.m.

Tickets: $35; reservations required 

Meet: Buffalo Seminary, 205 Bidwell Parkway, Buffalo

At the end of the 19th century, Buffalo was a major American city in the forefront of technological progress. It was a busy inland port and a railroad hub with heavy industry and state-of-the-art electricity – all of which brought great wealth to the city. These economic and technological developments culminated in 1901 when Buffalo hosted a spectacular world’s fair: the Pan-American Exposition. Experience Buffalo through the eyes of the narrator of Lauren Belfer’s historical novel, “City of Light,” which is set in Buffalo at the dawn of the 20th century.

Elmwood Village Victorians

Sunday, Oct. 26 • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Tickets: $15; $5 for students with valid student ID

Meet: Coffee Culture, 448 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo 

Exploring the streets and neighborhood in and around the Elmwood Village, guests will see a varied assortment of architectural styles and details. Discover 100-year-old houses, apartment buildings, businesses and more. 

For more information on these tours, please visit www.explorebuffalo.org, call 245-3032 or email explore@explorebuffalo.org.

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