by Pete Burakowski

Fueled by transportation along the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal, manufacturing, and milling, Buffalo saw astronomical financial and population growth throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Along the way, some of the greatest American architecture was built (like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House and Louis Sullivan’s Guaranty Building), Buffalo became home to the largest number of millionaires per capita in the country, communities of hard-working blue collar families were born, and Buffalo’s waterfront earned the reputation as one of the most dangerous and vice-ridden in the world.

It’s one thing to read these stories in a book. It’s another to walk Buffalo’s streets and see for yourself where history was played out. Buffalo Tours helps you do the latter.

With dozens of tours with titles like “Crime & Scandal,” “Gold Medal Grain Elevators,” and “Splendors in Stained Glass,” Buffalo Tours offers fun, informative looks at each aspect of Buffalo. Like to have a pint with your tours? They even have a series of happy hour walks that begin and end at local pubs.

The Buffalo Tours schedule runs through October and the tours are a bargain – most are either $10 or free!


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by Peter Burakowski, Communications Manager
for the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society

One of my favorite parts of town is the Old First Ward, which is the area surrounding the winding Buffalo River. With its soaring grain elevators, old brick factories, and the smell of Cheerios wafting from the General Mills plant, it transports me to a time before my own – when Buffalo was a bustling transportation center and the eighth largest city in the country.

It’s here that you can also find my favorite bakery – Mazurek’s. While there are dozens of great bakeries around Buffalo, none has a hold of my heart quite like this place. Located on South Park Ave. near the corner of Hamburg St., this shop has been run by the Mazurek family since 1933, and today it’s in the masterful hands of Jack Mazurek and his wife, Carol.

What do 77 years of baking tradition equate to? Magic. Out of the bakery’s massive brick oven come flaky turnovers, rich pastries, and soft, crusty breads. The fruits of the deep fryer are no less impressive, as the doughnuts have a perfect balance of a chewy center and a hint of crunch on the outside.

While Mazurek’s does good business from its surrounding neighborhood, it also is somewhat of a culinary Mecca. Members of Western New York’s Polish, German, and Irish communities routinely make the pilgrimage from the suburbs to pick up authentic ethnic classics like kluski noodles, kuchen, and soda bread.

If there’s a holiday coming up, then it’s ‘go time’ for Mazurek’s. On Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent, Mazurek’s cranks out paczkis – a type of plump jelly-filled Polish doughnut – in epic quantities. As many as 140 dozen of these fried treats will go out the door as Western New Yorkers gorge themselves one last time before fasting. And if you get an itch for a rye bread during the Old First Ward’s colorful St. Patrick’s Day Parade, I hope you don’t mind waiting in line.

If the quality and the history aren’t enough to lure you to Mazurek’s, try the prices. On my last trip, I got four doughnuts, two hard rolls and a pastry heart for $4.60. Not bad, eh?

My family has known about Mazurek’s for three generations – my grandfather even used to work there as a child, scrubbing the floors – isn’t it time you checked them out? Mazurek’s Bakery is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Find them at 543 South Park Ave. in Buffalo.

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by Karen Huefner

I’m always looking for new ways to experience Christmas year after year. Between the shopping, decorating and cookie-baking I feel like there’s little time for anything else! Don’t get me wrong, it’s imperative I watch ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ and the Holiday Pops concert with the BPO is a must but I always crave something different. This year I found it. I took a ride north of Buffalo to Youngstown, NY, home to Old Fort Niagara. For two weekends in December the Fort comes to life for their annual Colonial Christmas by Candlelight event.

Having been to the Fort numerous times when I was younger, I was familiar with the grounds. However with the chance to experience the Fort in the evening, that was a whole new ballgame. I arrived at the park around 8pm, sun already set, snow on the ground and a crisp breezing blowing in off Lake Ontario. Ladies, leave your heels at home for this…boots are a must.

I stayed at the Fort about an hour and a half watching (and partially covering my ears for) the firing of the Christmas guns, mixing and mingling with the soldiers, sampling some holiday cooking and clapping along to the music. It’s about as close as one can get to experiencing an 18th century Christmas.

This is the last weekend for Christmas by Candlelight. Make this a new holiday tradition with your family. Oh, and bring your flashlight!

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by Carolyn Batt

Want to see 25 of Western New York’s greatest attractions—literally from A to Z in two hours? On Tuesday, December 1st, at 8pm on WNED, it will be possible as this special spotlights more than two dozen local cultural attractions, one corresponding to each letter of the alphabet. From the Albright-Knox Art Gallery to the Buffalo Zoo, get ready to be taken on a journey across Erie, Chautauqua, Niagara, Cattaraugus and Wyoming Counties.

Highlighted through a series of “video postcards,” viewers will be able to experience unique nearby places, including attractions that house pop art by Andy Warhol and original manuscripts by Mark Twain.

Best of all, for all you Buffalo fans out there, 17 of the 25 attractions are located right in the Queen City!

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by Carolyn Batt

The life story of one of the most influential and controversial American (or shall we say Buffalo) figures will air on Monday, November 23rd at 10pm. Elbert Hubbard: An American Original will be broadcast on WNED-TV in Buffalo and nationwide on PBS.

The documentary, narrated by actor Liev Schreiber, with Adam Arkin providing Hubbard’s voice, will chronicle the life of the founder of the Roycroft artisan community in East Aurora.

The ultimate non-conformist, Elbert Hubbard rose from anonymity to become an influential author, publisher, lecturer and entrepreneur. He influenced popular culture at the turn of the twentieth century, and led the Roycroft community to be at the forefront of the Arts & Crafts movement, which rejected industrialization and emphasized the hand-crafting of everyday objects.

WNED Producer Paul Lamont, who also produced Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo for PBS, describes his latest film as “a story of love, art, passion and controversy set against the backdrop of the Arts and Crafts Movement.”

The Roycroft Campus Corporation is still flourishing today, currently restoring its original multi-building complex– a national historic landmark and the nation’s only authentic Arts and Crafts community.

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by Eric Jackson-Forsberg

When Frank Lloyd Wright inscribed a copy of his Autobiography to Darwin and Isabelle Martin of Buffalo, he characterized their role in supporting his career as an architect in characteristically dramatic terms: “To Darwin D. Martin and his wife—hero and heroine of this tale—with esteem, affection and gratitude from their architect – Frank Lloyd Wright.” But, aside from the definitive, Prairie-era commission of the Martin House Complex (1903-05), how did the unassuming Martins warrant such top billing in Wright’s self-styled biographical drama? Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo Venture: From the Larkin Building to Broadacre City, coming to the University at Buffalo Anderson Gallery October 2 – December 30, will illustrate the depth and breadth of the Martins’ role in sustaining the work of America’s greatest 20th century architect.

Curated by Jack Quinan, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Visual Studies at UB and a leading Wright scholar, this exhibition opens in conjunction with the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s meeting in Buffalo. The group is dedicated to saving Wright’s built work, and Quinan was a founding stakeholder. Through more than 130 objects including drawings, photographs, models and original Wright furnishings, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo Venture will explore the rich story of the Martins’ patronage, from the Larkin Building—seminal to European modernism and Buffalo’s greatest architectural loss (and the logo for the Conservancy itself) to unsung, unbuilt projects such as the Rosenwald School for “Negro Children.” The exhibition will make the case that, while Wright’s best-known clients may be larger-than-life figures like Susan Lawrence Dana, Solomon Guggenheim or Edgar J. Kaufmann, his most important client might just be an obsessive, self-made accountant from Buffalo, NY.

The UB Anderson Gallery is open Wednesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 5 PM and Sunday, 1 – 5 PM. Admission is free. Visit www.ubartgalleries.org

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by Doug Sitler

olmstead_carvingThere are a myriad of activities that can be found at the Erie Basin Marina on downtown Buffalo’s waterfront. It is a destination for recreational boating, waterfront dining, bike and walking paths, and beautiful gardens. This summer some familiar faces have returned and are overlooking this abundance of activity…lifesize wood carvings from the Carvings for a Cause art project.

Carvings for a Cause is a charitable effort to retree Western New York using trees and wood from the disastrous ice storm of October 2006. The wood leftover from the storm has been transformed by a chainsaw artist into 25 lifesize figures of historical personalities with ties to Buffalo. Sponsorships of individual carvings have help support planting efforts to replace the thousands of trees that were destroyed during the surprise storm.

Currently at the entrance to the marina, ten prominent figures reside welcoming visitors to the waterfront. Thomas Edison, DeWitt Clinton, Frederick Law Olmsted and Tim Russert are a few celebrated people who are immortalized in wood. The carvings make an excellent backdrop for photos or an impromptu history lesson.

The marina is not the only place where you can see these unique creations. Carvings currently reside in Buffalo, Clarence, Orchard Park, South Buffalo, Tonawanda and Williamsville.

To learn more about Carvings for a Cause and where you can view them, visit www.carvingsforacause.com.

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