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Black Rock  

Black Rock, once an independent municipality, is now a neighborhood in the northwest section of the city of Buffalo, New York. In the 1820s, Black Rock was Buffalo’s rival for the Erie Canal’s terminus. Still, Buffalo won the competition with its larger harbor capacity and greater distance from the shores of Canada, a recent antagonist during the War of 1812. Black Rock took its name from a large outcropping of black limestone along the Niagara River, blasted away in the early 1820s to make way for the canal.


Black Rock continued to prosper despite losing the Erie Canal terminus to Buffalo and twice being burned to the ground by the British during the War of 1812. In 1814, a small group of American riflemen defended Black Rock and neighboring Buffalo, NYC from a British assault, and, in 1839, it was incorporated as a town. In 1853, the City of Buffalo annexed the town of Black Rock. Because of its strategic position across the Niagara River from Canada, Black Rock was an important crossing place for African-Americans escaping slavery via the Underground Railroad. This heritage is celebrated with an annual Underground Railroad Re-Enactment at Broderick Park on Unity Island at Niagara and West Ferry Streets, the site of a ferry crossing before constructing passenger bridges.

Railroad Link

In the 1870s, the International Railway Bridge connected the two nations at Black Rock, an engineering marvel at the time. The Black Rock Rail Yard handled passenger service and commercial transport of goods into and out of Canada. Following the completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the construction of the United States’s Interstate Highway system, Canada’s Queen Elizabeth Highway, and the increase in commercial air travel, the Black Rock Rail Yard lost its passenger service and later most of its commercial freight service. The railroad bridge, however, remains in heavy usage and is one of the most important rail crossings between the United States and Canada. Bed Bug Exterminator Buffalo

Famous Locals

Black Rock’s best-known resident was American poet Robert Creeley, who lived with his family in a converted firehouse at the corner of Amherst and East Streets from 1990 to 2003. Another prominent resident was US Secretary of War Peter Buell Porter. Current residents include prominent Buffalo architect Max Willig who lives in the historic Amherst National Bank Building at the corner of Amherst and Germain Streets.

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