1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Buffalo
BUFFALO (see 4.754). The population in 1920 was 506,775, an increase of 83,060 or 19.6% for the decade, as compared with 71,328 and 20.2% for the preceding decade. The death-rate of Buffalo in 1920 was 12.08, the average from 1900 to 1920, 15.18. In 1914 a new commission charter was adopted which did away with the bicameral city council and mayor formerly in existence. The first commission government took office Jan. 1 1916.
The citizens choose by direct non-partisan nomination and election a mayor and four councilmen. These constitute the sole legislative body and are also the chief executive heads. The mayor is ex officio the head of the departments of fire, police and health, which comprise the Department of Public Safety. The four other departments are Finance and Accounts, Public Works, Parks and Public Buildings, and Public Affairs. A councilman is appointed as head of each of these departments. The principal subordinate officials are nominated by the mayor and appointed by the council. The mayor has a vote in the council, but no veto power. All ordinances and appropriations for purposes outside ordinary city expenses may be referred to vote of the people on petition of 5% of the citizens who voted at the last regular election for mayor.
The schools are under a board of education appointed by the mayor and council, but subject mainly to state laws. The city court, consisting of a chief judge and seven associate judges, is also under state law. A technical and four other high schools were built between 1902 and 1920. The sum of $8,000,000 was appropriated for new grammar schools in 1919. The university of Buffalo was given an endowment fund of $5,200,000, raised by popular subscription, in 1920. In 1909 it acquired a site of 106 ac. in the northern part of the city, to which 44 ac. were added in 1919. Canisius College (Jesuit) also, in 1920, raised by popular subscription an endowment fund of $1,000,000. D'Youville College for women (Roman Catholic) was opened in 1908. Among important new structures may be mentioned: Marine Trust Co., Erie County Savings Bank, New York Telephone, Electric, Iroquois and Y.M.C.A. buildings. The new city hospital was under process of development in 1921. The city also maintained the J. N. Adam memorial hospital for tuberculous patients at Perrysburg, N.Y.
The new Erie canal, rebuilt by the state as a barge canal at a cost of $150,000,000, was opened for traffic in 1919. It provides water transportation to the seaboard for barges up to 2,000 tons' capacity and drawing not more than 12 ft. of water, adding greatly to the city's commercial facilities. The city completed in 1915 a new pumping station and tunnel 6,500 ft. long, by which water is brought from Lake Erie. The capacity of the plant is 150,000,000 gal. each 24 hours.
The city's greatest growth in recent years has been in manufactures. It has very diversified industries, producing 58% of all the different lines of goods recognized by the United States Census Bureau. Among the chief manufactures are: iron and steel products, meat products, soap, cars, flour, lumber, linseed oil, clothing, automobiles, etc.
The grain elevators in Buffalo harbour had in 1920 a capacity of 28,500,000 bushels. The receipts of grain by lake boat in 1920 were 108,825,000 bushels. Receipts of flour approximate 5,000,000 bar. yearly. More than 20,000 carloads of live stock are handled yearly in the stock-yards at East Buffalo. Other important articles of commerce are: iron ore, in which Buffalo stands second in receipts among the lake ports; coal, flax-seed, manufactured iron and steel and lumber.
Buffalo furnished over 10,000 volunteers and selected service men to the U.S. army in the World War. The greater number of these served in the 77th and 78th divisions and had an active part in the Argonne and other battles. In addition, the 74th Infantry, N.G.S.N.Y., became the 108th Infantry in the United States service; the Third Field Artillery, N.G.S.N.Y., became the 106th Field Artillery; Troop I, N.G.S.N.Y., became the 102nd Trench Mortar Battery, and Base Hospital No. 23 was recruited in Buffalo. The 108th regiment, forming a part of the 27th division, participated in the breaking of the Hindenburg line near Le Cateau, France, Sept. 29-Oct. 1 1918. The 106th Field Artillery and 102nd Trench Mortar Battery were in the battle of the Argonne. Nearly 4,000 Buffalo men served in the navy and about 1,000 in the U.S. marine corps. There were also over 600 Buffalo men who volunteered for the Polish army. The Buffalo men who died in the war numbered 966.
Recent important books on the history of the city are History of Buffalo (1911) by J. N. Larned, and An Old Frontier of France (1917) by F. H. Severance.
- (M. M. W.)