BuffaloResearch.com
Genealogy & Local History in Buffalo, NY
 
Historic Maps of Buffalo, Erie County, and Western NY

In case it isn't obvious, the little elves at BuffaloResearch.com do not own any old Buffalo maps. Instead, we watch for when other people or institutions digitize local maps. Then we collect the links for your convenience.   Over 230 mostly vintage or historic maps & atlases are sorted into these categories:

  Historic Buffalo Maps
  Contemporary and Undated Buffalo Maps
  Historic Erie County Maps
  Historic Western New York and Niagara Frontier Maps
  Offline Maps

 
Historic Buffalo Maps

Date
Link and Name of Map
Description or Notes if Any
Undated
Street Name Changes in Buffalo There were a lot of street name changes around the turn of the 20th  century. This list was compiled by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.
Various
Historical Nautical Map & Chart Project The National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration has about 70 outdated nautical charts for the Buffalo waterfront. These charts are NOT to be used for navigation!
1800
Plan of New Amsterdam on Lake Erie
Possibly the first map ever drawn of what would become Buffalo
1802
Original Land Subdivisions in Buffalo A black and white map showing the names and outlines of large tracts of land in early Buffalo
1802
Original Land Subdivisions in Buffalo This map, produced in 1901, takes the tract boundaries shown in the map above and superimposes modern-day city streets over them. See, for example, the original boundaries of Black Rock.
1804?
Village of New Amsterdam
A color version of Joseph Ellicott's map
1804
Village of New Amsterdam As designed by Joseph Ellicott, before the name Buffalo stuck
ca. 1805
Village of Buffalo The inner lots, essentially the Niagara Square/Main Street portion of downtown Buffalo
ca. 1810
Village of Black Rock Prior to War of 1812 Shows the location of the actual black rock
1813
Village of Black Rock
Hand-drawn map showing location of major buildings
1813 Buffalo Village Shows buildings and some land owners
1813
Map of Burned Buffalo A diagram of the tiny village of Buffalo that was burned during the War of 1812
1822
Plan of Inner Lots, 206-214
On the Buffalo Creek
1829
Black Rock
Part of the Niagara River and Plan of the proposed Harbour at Black Rock, a printed map
1829 Niagara River Shows Squaw Island and harbor at Black Rock
1834 Erie Canal Surveys 12 maps of the Erie Canal in Buffalo and Black Rock, brought to you by the New York State Archives
1836 Buffalo By W.B. Gilbert.  Shows ward boundaries for the 1840 and 1850 censuses.
1836
Proposed Harbor Improvements Self-explanatory
1838
Buffalo An interesting negative (white on black background) map of the downtown area
ca. 1840? Niagara River Shows proposed bridge crossings and ship canal at Buffalo
1847
Map of Buffalo From Smith's History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County
1849
Buffalo Includes ward boundaries used for the 1840 and the 1850 censuses. Look for numbers 1-5 and subtle dotted lines
1850, 1900, 1901
Buffalo Historical GIS A work in progress. The final product will be interactive and will include more text and more categories, such as schools, hospitals, grocery stores, taverns, theaters, boarding houses, benevolent organizations, etc. Other icons will display demographic data such as population density, ethnicity, household income, property values, etc. and governmental information. Be sure to see the Buffalo ward maps!
1853
Buffalo Harbor A bird's eye view of the foot of Main Street
1854
Buffalo Harbor
Shows the breakwater and water depths
1854 Buffalo Harbor Another version, with zoom and pan options
1855
Buffalo Oddly printed with the Niagara River flowing east-west, but shows ward boundaries
1855-1890
Ward Map of Buffalo for Census Years 1855-1890 Title is self-explanatory
1863
Bird's Eye View of the City of Buffalo Photographs of a map in the "Neighbors"  exhibit at the Buffalo History Museum. Shows individual buildings.
1866
Buffalo
Reproduced from the Stone & Stewart Atlas of Erie County.  Shows some buildings as tiny, indistinct black squares or undifferentiated blocks. 
1866
Buffalo Same as above, only this version is available commercially as a reprint
1866
Buffalo, Part One
Buffalo, Part Two
Reproductions from the Stone & Stewart Atlas of Erie County.  This site sells reproductions of the plates.
1866 Buffalo River Shows Buffalo River with an overlay of a modern aerial photograph
ca. 1870
Buffalo Psychiatric Center, plan of grounds By Olmsted & Vaux
1872 Cornelius Creek The now-vanished stream is shown with an overlay of a  modern aerial photograph
1872
Hopkins Atlas of Buffalo
This is one of the first atlases in Buffalo to show individual buildings and names of property owners. Digitized by the New York Public Library.
1872
Hopkins Atlas of Buffalo
This site sells reproductions of the plates. 
1880
Buffalo Ward Map
Shows names of large land owners.  Reproduced from the Beers Atlas of Erie County. Brought to you by the NY Public Library.
1880 Buffalo Ward Map Shows names of large land owners.  Reproduced from the Beers Atlas of Erie County.  Brought to you by the New York State Archives.  You may need to disable your pop-up blocker.
1880
Buffalo Parks A schematic map showing the street grid but not street names, with the Olmsted park system picked out in black
1880
Bird's Eye View of Buffalo
An artist's conception showing downtown in the foreground
1881
Olmsted's Sketch map of Buffalo
Buffalo's park system as planned by Olmsted
1882
Buffalo Harbor and Head of Niagara River From House Document 72, 55th Congress, 1st Session
1884
Buffalo, Erie Co., NY Street Directory This list of streets was scanned from microfilm prints of the Buffalo City Directory. Buffalo city streets were renumbered in 1868 as described on the first page of the directory. No personal names here, just street names.
1884
Western Terminus of the Erie Canal
An 1884 map of the Canal district in Buffalo, with a modern aerial photograph superimposed on it
1888
All Roads Will Lead to Buffalo in September An artist's conception of Buffalo as seen from the air, produced for the International Industrial Exposition of 1888
1889
City of Buffalo
Street map by Rand McNally
1891 City of Buffalo From Atlas of the World
1892
City of Buffalo
From The Indexed Atlas of the World
1893 Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda, and Buffalo atlas The entire G.M. Hopkins Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda, and Buffalo atlas.  Images are zoomable and can be purchased as reproductions.  Shows individual buildings.
1893 City of Buffalo One plate from the G.M. Hopkins Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda, and Buffalo atlas.  Shows ward boundaries. Image is zoomable and can be purchased as a reproduction.
1893
Christian Homestead Association Map
This is the notorious "brothel map" of Buffalo's Canal District
1894
City of Buffalo Atlas All three volumes are online, brought to you by the County of Erie. Each volume has a clickable map to bring up the appropriate page in the atlas. Shows individual buildings.
1894 City of Buffalo Shows ward boundaries
1895
Buffalo Ward Map
Full color sheet map published by Joseph Rudolph Bien.  Brought to you by David Rumsey.
1895 Buffalo Ward Map Same as above, brought to you by Historic Maps Restored. available commercially as a reprint
1895 Buffalo By Rand McNally & Company
1895
Borings for Natural Gas in the City of Buffalo From the New York State Museum 49th Annual Report of 1895
1896
Buffalo A full color sheet map
1896 Buffalo From Cram's Universal Atlas Geographical, Astronomical and Historical
1897
Buffalo
From a Rand McNally's Atlas of the World
1897
Chart of Buffalo Harbor From the Blue Book of American Shipping, Cleveland, OH: Marine Review, 1897
1897
Good Roads, Buffalo Section
A bicycling guidebook with maps
1898 Buffalo From Cram's Universal Atlas, Geographical, Astronomical and Historical
1898
Main Portion of Buffalo
From Rand McNally and Company
1900 City of Buffalo From Universal Atlas of the World
1900 City of Buffalo Another copy from Universal Atlas of the World
1900
Lake Erie Entrance to Black Rock Harbor and Erie Basin From U.S. House of Representatives, 56th Congress, 1st Session, Doc. No. 143
1901 Buffalo From Rand McNally's Enlarged Business Atlas and Shippers Guide
1901 Buffalo Another map from Rand McNally, fully zoomable 
1901
Topographic Map of Buffalo One of the first topographic maps of Buffalo
1901, 1948
Topographic Maps of Buffalo These maps are divided in four sections which can be enlarged
1901
Map of the City of Buffalo
By George Cram.  Shows the Pan American Exposition grounds in relation to the rest of the city
1901
Pan-American Exposition Grounds
A large-scale (2MB), detailed black & while map
1901
Pan-American Exposition Grounds
A rendering in black, white, and red
1901
Pan-American Exposition Grounds
Another color rendering
1901
Pan-American Exposition Grounds
A bird's eye view in full color
1901 & later
Pan-American Exposition Grounds and Neighborhood Overlay
Shows the Pan Am grounds with an overlay of the streets that were built there after the Exposition, from "Doing the Pan" website.
1901 & later Pan-American Exposition Grounds and Neighborhood Overlay Shows the Pan Am grounds with an overlay of the streets that were built there after the Exposition, courtesy of the Buffalo History Museum, which produced this map for the 2001 centennial.  The Temple of Music and the New York State Building are highlighted in yellow.
1901 & 1926

1926 Aerial Photo Superimposed on the Map of the Pan- American Exposition

A cool animation that shows a small section of the Exposition morphing into an aerial photograph from 1926
1901 & 2007 Pan-American Exposition A map of the grounds superimposed on a modern aerial photograph
1902
Bird's Eye View of Buffalo This one is impressive--you can zoom in and see your own neighborhood with individual buildings! Obviously, whoever drew this had to use artistic shortcuts--he couldn't go out and sketch every single factory, house, and shed. But it's still a must-see.
1902
Bird's Eye View of Buffalo
The same map as above only with less ability to zoom in
1905
City of Buffalo
From Enlarged Business Atlas and Shippers Guide
1906 Geological Map of Buffalo "Typical geologic map with fine detail including details of Buffalo city proper and cross section printed perpendicular to map along edge."
1907 Buffalo From Cram's Standard American Atlas
1909
Buffalo
From Baedeker's Guide
1909 Buffalo Another version from Baedeker's Guide
1909 Buffalo From P.F. Collier and Son's The New Encyclopedic Atlas and Gazetteer of the World
1909 Buffalo Ward Map
From the Century Atlas of Erie County
1911 Buffalo From Rand McNally's Indexed Atlas
1912
Buffalo
From The Library Atlas of the World
1912
Buffalo
From The Rand McNally Imperial Atlas of the World
1914
Olmsted Parks and Parkways in Buffalo Brought to you by the University at Buffalo
1914
Buffalo River Area Shows the downtown and South Buffalo area from roughly Tupper Street to the Buffalo River
1915
New Century Atlas, vol. 1
Covers Buffalo downtown and north of downtown, shows individual buildings & names of some land owners
1915
New Century Atlas, vol. 2
Covers Buffalo south of downtown, shows individual buildings & names of some land owners
1915,
1920,
1925
Buffalo Wards by Street This is not a map but an A-Z list of streets in the City of Buffalo and what wards they were in for the purpose of the 1915, 1920, and 1925 federal and state censuses.  Brought to you by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.
1917 Buffalo A street map produced for the 1917 Buffalo city directory.    Brought to you by the New York State Archives.  You may need to disable your pop-up blocker.
ca. 1920
Railroad Map of Buffalo Shows "pre-merger" railroad lines along the Niagara River and in Buffalo
1920
Extension of City Limits Shows how the city expanded over time
1920
The Future Electric City Imagines Buffalo with 360 square miles, encompassing Niagara Falls, and a population of 2,000,000
1922 Plan of Buffalo Very few street names are shown, but parks and major traffic routes are color-coded.  
1920s-1950s
Buffalo Movie Theaters Hand drawn by Carl Zoschke
1930 to present Buffalo Ward Map Shows ward boundaries, 1930 to the present.  Large, slow-loading PDF will open in new window.
1931
Grain Elevators A detailed map of the Buffalo harbor by the Army Corps of Engineers, showing locations of grain elevators, mills, railroads, and slips
1935
International Railway Co. Street Car and Bus Routes
Shows trolley and bus routes in Buffalo
1938
Buffalo Police Precincts
1940
Buffalo Scanned in four sections
1950
Downtown Buffalo
Shows the property owners in downtown Buffalo just before the advent of Urban Removal and surface parking blight
1950
Historic USGS Maps Focuses on railroads in Buffalo
1950s
New York Central Railroad, Buffalo Includes the New York Central Terminal
1960s
Topographic Map of North Buffalo In black and white
1960s
Topographic Map of South Buffalo In black and white
1965 Topographical Maps of Buffalo At Archive.org
1970
Buffalo Scale 1:500,000
1982
Buffalo, New York and Vicinity Railroads & Industries
Very detailed
1984
Buffalo Central Terminal Sanborn maps of the entire complex
1987
City of Buffalo Zoning Map Brought to you by the University at Buffalo
1987
Buffalo, New York and Vicinity  Railroads & Industries
Very detailed
2000
Average Housing Age Distribution Shows age of Buffalo houses based on census figures but does not make a distinction among houses older than 50 years, which is most of the city
2002
Buffalo Neighborhoods Shows commonly used neighborhood names and areas
2003
Downtown Buffalo Parking Lots and Ramps Contrary to the popular imagination, there is so much parking downtown that there is little to do BUT park.  Scroll down for map.
2003
Buffalo Common Council Districts
2004
Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood
Shows house lots but not buildings.  In PDF.
2004
Triangle Neighborhood
South Park-Abbott Rd area in South Buffalo.  Shows house lots but not buildings.  In PDF.
2006
to present
Buffalo: World Capital of Drivers Hitting Buildings
Added for sheer silliness.
2011
Past & Present Buffalo Catholic Churches
An interactive Google map by someone identified only as Drew
2012
Buffalo Jazz Clubs, 1945-1970
Addresses, years of operation, and some of the owners during the years when these clubs were in business.  Brought to you by the Buffalo History Museum.


Contemporary and Undated Buffalo Maps

Date Link and Name of Map
Description or Notes if Any
  NYS Gazetteer & GeoData Collection Search any place name or feature in New York State and this database locates which topographic map it appears on and supplies a Google Map link

Buffalo Architecture Map
1200 buildings mapped and color-coded by architect, with client and date built.  Brought to you by the Buffalo History Museum, based on this spreadsheet.

Buffalo Neighborhoods Includes superb histories of all Buffalo neighborhoods

Downtown Buffalo Publicly Available Parking
Brought to you by Buffalo Place, Inc.  In PDF.

Frommer's Buffalo Shows accomodations, dining, attractions

Downtown Buffalo Shows location of County Hall & Court
  Buffalo/Niagara Watershed map from the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation

Cemetery Maps of Buffalo Actually, maps of Pine Hill in Cheektowaga, Mount Olivet in Kenmore, and Forest Lawn in Buffalo. Brought to you by the Schwert Family website.
  Forest Lawn Cemetery A printable PDF showing locations of notable graves

Olmsted Parks in Buffalo Has several vintage maps and views

Historic Districts in Buffalo Shows the boundaries of preservation districts established by the City of Buffalo
  Buffalo Niagara Shows attractions, lodgings, etc.. Best printed on oversized paper. Brought to you by VisitBuffaloNiagara.

City of Buffalo GIS
Here is the City's Geographic Information System (GIS).  Works best with a fast connection. 

OpenStreetMap
A map wiki that anyone can add to and edit.

Buffalo Maps Brought to you by Chuck LaChiusa at his award-winning Buffalo History and Architecture website. Includes many of the maps seen here.

Historic Erie County Maps

Date
Link and Name of Map
Description or Notes if Any
ca. 1800 Hamburgh, Buffalo Creek Reservation Holland Land Company maps of Township 9, ranges 7-9.  Brought to you by the New York State Archives.  Requires Flash version 9 or later.
1819
Niagara River Chart
Shows the river from Grand Island to Lake Ontario
1820
Niagara River
Shows the river from Lake Erie to Grand Island. Brought to you by the New York Public Library.
1892
Lancaster
A bird's eye view
1892
Springville
A bird's eye view
1829
Erie County From the David Rumsey map collection
1829
Erie County
By David H. Burr; engraved.by Rawdon, Clark & Co., Albany, & Rawdon, Wright & Co., New York.
1838
Erie County Printed in reverse; white on black background
Mid 1840s
Erie County A basic outline map of the towns. Includes a summary of how Erie County came to be formed, plus a link to some or all of the names from the 1830 Erie County federal census
1841
Erie County By David H. Burr; engd. by Rawdon, Clark & Co., Albany, & Rawdon, Wright & Co., New York.
1866
Stone & Stewart Erie County Atlas
The oldest atlas that I know of that shows individual buildings, albeit as indistinct tiny black squares.  Also shows property owners' names.  Digitized by the New York Public Library.
1866
Stone & Stewart Erie County Atlas
The plates shown here are available for sale as reproductions.
1880
F.W. Beers Atlas of Erie County
Shows some property owners' names.  Digitized by the New York Public Library.
1880
F.W. Beers Atlas of Erie County
The entire atlas is online and the plates are available for sale as reproductions.
1880 Erie County A scan of one page from the F.W. Beers atlas showing the entire county.  Image is zoomable and can be dowloaded as an PDF.
1893 Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda and Buffalo Includes the towns of Erie County.  Published by G.M. Hopkins.  Images are zoomable and can be purchased as reproductions.
1895
Erie County A sheet map
1898 Depew A bird's eye view & artist's conception
1901 Erie County A sheet map from by Century Map Co.
1909
Century Map Co. Atlas of Erie County
Shows some property owners' names.  Includes all towns. The plates shown here are available for sale as reproductions.
1915
Buffalo New Century Atlas, vol. 3
This volumes covers towns and villages outside of the City of Buffalo.  Shows individual buildings and names of property owners. 
ca. 1926
General Motorways System, Erie County
Shows plans for an early highway system
1938
Niagara Frontier Planning Board Atlas
Shows names of property owners
1940 Erie County A rural route map dotted with mystery numbers
1951
Erie County Aerial Photos This clickable map brings up a vintage black & white photo of your neigborhood
Mid 20th century
Topographic Maps Includes Amherst, Cheektowaga, Grand Island, Hamburg, Kenmore, Tonawanda, West Seneca, Depew, Springville, Eden, Silver Creek
Undated
Erie County Cemetery Maps Includes maps of cemeteries in Buffalo, Amherst, Cheektowaga, Hamburg, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Orchard Park, Tonawanda, and West Seneca.

Erie County Internet Mapping System Designed to provide access to the most popular layers of digital maps in the County's GIS. Users can create and print their own maps, and locate information on a variety of subjects such as roperty parcels, roads, parks, schools districts, and environmental data. Do yourself a favor and read the Help/Instruction pages first.

Erie County Shows current attractions, including museums. Brought to you by the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Historic Western New York and Niagara Frontier Maps

Date
Link and Name of Map Description or Notes if Any

Physical Regions of the Niagara Frontier Shows the glacial and geological formations that shape the Niagara Frontier
1615-1708 Seneca Villages and the Jesuit & French Contacts Shows villages and sites east of Buffalo, with written explanations
1683-1915
New York County Formation Maps
Shows how New York State's counties changed over two centuries
ca. 1755 Trails, Portages, and Settlements from Albany to Niagara Produced in 1913 to accompany the papers of Sir William Johnson (1715-1774).  Shows some place names that didn't exist in 1755.
1795-1841
Evolution of County Boundaries in Western NY
Includes a map of early migration routes into the area
ca. 1793-
1830
Holland Land Company
1,361 maps of various towns and parcels in the eight counties of Western NY as surveyed for the Holland Land Company
1802
Genesee County All of Western New York was Genesee County at one time. This simple outline map shows when each county was split off from Genesee.
1804
Morris's Purchase or West Geneseo in the State of New York by Joseph Ellicott One of the first maps of what was later called the Holland Land purchase
1804
Land Holdings in Western New York Shows which developers owned which large tracts. Does not show names of individual buyers.
1810 Plan of Niagara River Made in Quebec. Shows the Black Rock Fort but not the emerging settlement of Buffalo
1812 Niagara Frontier in 1812 Drawn in 1872 to represent towns and villages as they were in 1812
1812 Niagara River Area, War of 1812 A modern map showing forts and battle sites along the Niagara Frontier
1812
The War of 1812: Operations Along the Niagara River Shows locations of forts, battles, and troop movements.  Drawn mid-19th century.
1812 War of 1812 A large, detailed PDF of historic sites on both sides of the Niagara, produced in 2009 by the Niagara Legacy Council in Ontario
1814 Niagara River Shows "Buffaloe Creek" and Black Rock
1815 Niagara River View of the Country round the Falls of Niagara, by John Melish
1819
Straits of Niagara Shows both sides of the river from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario
1819 Grand Island
Includes Buffalo, Black Rock, Bird Island, and Squaw Island
1820
Niagara River
From Elkanah Watson's History of the rise, progress, and existing condition of the western canals in the state of New-York
1820
Western New York Self-explanatory
1821 Holland Land Purchase A black & white version 
1822
View of the Country Round the Falls of Niagara By John Melish.  Shows the entire Niagara River.
ca. 1825
Holland Land Purchase Shows the entire Western NY region
1827 Niagara River Oddly, Lake Erie is at the top of this map and Lake Ontario at the bottom, putting Buffalo on the "wrong" side of the river
1830
Western NY Shows some place names. Includes links to census indexes.
1830
Niagara Frontier
1831
Western NY Reproduced in very small scale from The Northern Traveller and Northern Tour, J & J Harper, 1831
1841
Upstate New York
New York State between Albany and Buffalo, showing Erie Canal and other transportation routes
1849 Niagara River Shows the section of the river around Navy Island
1869
Niagara Frontier
An animated map that zooms in, then comes into focus
1871
Western New York
Niagara, Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Allegany, Monroe, and Livingston Counties
Mid-19th century
Western New York Atlases Individual plates with town & village maps from multiple atlases. Brought to you by SUNY/Fredonia.
1890 Allegany Indian Reservation Includes names of residents
1890 Cattaraugus Indian Reservation Includes names of residents
1890 Tonawanda Indian Reservation Includes names of residents
1890
Tuscarora Indian Reservation Includes names of residents
1895
Niagara and Erie Counties
Published by Joseph Rudolph Bien
1904
Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Vicinity: The Coming Industrial Center of America, 1904 Shows New York Central Railroad lines
1908 Automobile Map of Buffalo District Actually shows the Niagara Frontier and Ontario, Canada
1909 Buffalo and Vicinity Shows Youngstown to Lackawanna
1914 Western New York Includes the Finger Lakes region
1916 Buffalo and Vicinity Shows Niagara Falls to Blasdell, including Grand Island
1920
Pennsylvania Railroad Routes in Western NY
1921
Niagara Region
Shows the Niagara River from Buffalo to Niagara Falls
1920 New York, Western Section Shows all of upstate NY
1922 Buffalo and Vicinity Shows lots of place names in Western NY
1952
Upstate and Western New York
1989
Western NY Shows county outlines, county seats, lakes, and little else
Various Western NY Atlases Individually scanned pages from 19th century atlases, brought to you by SUNY/Fredonia.  Includes Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Genesee, and Wyoming counties.


Offline Maps


More historic maps are offline, in various libraries, than online.  Here are lists and guides for finding them.

Repository
Link
Description
Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
Buffalo & Erie County Atlases: Best Bets for House Researchers & Genealogists
A guide to vintage atlases that show individual buildings, names of property owners, or both
Buffalo History Museum
Buffalo & Erie County Atlases in our collection
A list of offline and online atlases
University at Buffalo
Buffalo & Western NY Maps
An in-depth guide to the collection, which is enormous and mostly offline
Multiple Libraries Buffalo, N.Y. Maps A list of over 700 vintage and contemporary maps and atlases in various libraries
Multiple Libraries Erie County, N.Y. Maps A list of over 400 vintage and contemporary maps and atlases in various libraries


Updated 9 October 2014
BuffaloResearch.com