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Erie County’s Bicentennial

Erie County is blessed with an enviable bounty of stories of a place at the confluence of a Great Lake, a world-renowned river and a Canal that was the crowning achievement of the first 50 years of our country’s existence. This geographic good fortune has propelled our community’s destiny forward as millions of immigrants made their way through “the Gateway to the West” while others chose to settle on the shores of Lake Erie, making our region one of the great boom stories of the 19th century. Men and women of great aspirations, hopes and dreams made our region one of prosperity and invention. Fortunes were made here and the best and brightest architects and designers of the era arrived to build our parks, erect our civic monuments and design our homes and commercial buildings. We aspired to greatness and achieved it.

That legacy of Erie County’s first and second centuries is at the heart of our region’s renewal and re-imagination as we celebrate our bicentennial. People from around the world find their way to Erie County to hear the story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, to re-live life on the Erie Canal, to stand where Teddy Roosevelt stood when he took the oath of office, to experience the enlightened patronage of Darwin D. Martin, the visionary collection of Seymour Knox, Jr., the American landscapes of Charles Burchfield, the sylvan sanctuaries left to us by Frederick Law Olmsted, to spend a night in the hotel designed by America’s first female architect or to simply stand at the bar where the first of what came to be known around the world as Buffalo wings were served. The men and women who wrote the story of Erie County’s first two centuries left us a priceless legacy, a heritage as great as any in the United States.

Join us over the next 365 days for a celebration of Erie County’s Bicentennial, through special events, programming and tours, as we commemorate the past and look forward to the future!