Explore Buffalo’s Gilded Age with Explore Buffalo

Visit explorebuffalo.org to see all the tours taking place in July, from walking, biking and kayaking to the many new tours.

At the turn of the 20th century, Buffalo was home to more millionaires per capita than any other U.S. city. Lumbermen, shipping magnates, tanners and other self-made businessmen were building their palatial homes along Delaware Avenue and the surrounding area. Take a stroll with Explore Buffalo this summer to view the beautiful architecture and learn the history of the families and the area.

Visit explorebuffalo.org to see all the tours taking place in July, from walking, biking and kayaking to the many new tours. 

Delaware Mansions
Dates: July 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30 @ 10 a.m. • July 8, 15, 22, 29 @ 1 p.m. • July 11, 18, 25 @ 6 p.m.
Meet: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. Meet in front of the TR Site on the Delaware Avenue side.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Holders Free

The richest of the rich in Buffalo put their wealth on full display on this section of Delaware Avenue, home to the grandest collection of mansions built in the city. Marvel at these grandiose monuments to the Gilded Age and enjoy the intriguing stories of the families who built them – many were related – on this tour of Delaware Avenue from North Street to Bryant Street. This is an exterior-only tour, except July 14 which includes a brief interior tour of the Lockwood Mansion, now part of Child & Family Services. 

Delaware Avenue Midway
Dates: July 5 @ 6 p.m. • July 8, 15 @ 10 a.m. • July 31 @ 6 p.m.
Meet: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. Meet in front of the TR Site on the Delaware Avenue side.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Holders Free

Historically the most prestigious address in Buffalo, Delaware Avenue is full of historic and architectural treasures. Join us for this tour of historic landmarks on the section of Delaware Avenue from North Street to Tupper Street (for the other half of “Millionaire Mile,” see the Delaware Avenue Mansions tour). Featured prominently in the tour are the Midway rowhouses, which are the only group of rowhouses built on Delaware Avenue. Also seen on this tour are historic mansions, churches, social clubs and commercial buildings which provide a glimpse into society life of Buffalo’s capitalists and business elite in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Estates Along the Avenue
Date: July 6 @ 1 p.m.
Meet: On the front steps of Blessed Sacrament Church at 1035 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. Parking is available in the Blessed Sacrament Church parking lot. Note: The church parking lot is separate from the Catholic Academy parking lot. The entrance to the parking lot is on Linwood Avenue, north of West Utica Street.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Holders Free

Delaware Avenue’s northern section was predominately farmland throughout much of the 19th century but began to be developed as family estates. Discover how some of Buffalo’s wealthiest families came to dominate this section of Delaware Avenue in the late 19th and early 20th century. While many of their former homes remain, most have been reused by businesses and institutions. Join us on this walking tour of one of Buffalo’s most beautiful streets to admire classic homes of the Gilded Age and learn about the families who built them. 

Hidden Gems of the Delaware District
Dates: July 3, 17 @ 6 p.m. • July 7, 14 @ 1 p.m. • Sunday, July 29 @ 10 a.m.
Meet: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. Meet in front of the TR Site on the Delaware Avenue side.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pall Holders Free

Take a walk around-the-block on Linwood Avenue, Bryant Street, Oakland Place and Summer Street to discover beautiful gardens and spectacular homes in a wide variety of architectural styles just off Delaware Avenue. Many of the families who built these homes are well-known in Buffalo history, such as the Goodyear family, while others are less well known but equally intriguing. Join us to learn their stories and discover the many hidden delights of this neighborhood!

Landmarks of Delaware Avenue
Date: July 20 @ 1 p.m.
Meet: Blessed Sacrament Church at 1035 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. Parking is available in the Blessed Sacrament Church parking lot. Note: The church parking lot is separate from the Catholic Academy parking lot. The entrance to the parking lot is on Linwood Avenue, north of West Utica Street.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Holders Free

Delaware Avenue is well known for its many Gilded Age mansions, but there are also many magnificent landmarks found along Buffalo’s Millionaire’s Row not built as residences. Join us on this tour to learn about some of the most prominent landmarks on Delaware Avenue, including the Saturn Club, Blessed Sacrament Church and Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Along the way, learn about some of the prominent families who once lived on Delaware Avenue and led the way in building these beautiful buildings that we continue to enjoy today. 

Lincoln Parkway
Dates: July 7, 15, 28 @ 10 a.m. • July 12 @ 6 p.m.
Meet: The tour meets at the statue of Abraham Lincoln in front of the Rose Garden in Delaware Park. Abundant free street parking on Lincoln Parkway is available.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Holders Free

Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to be the principal approach to the jewel of his Buffalo park system, Delaware Park, Lincoln Parkway is one of the most beautiful streets in Buffalo. The homes along Lincoln Parkway, constructed in the early part of the 20th century by some of Buffalo’s wealthiest families, represent a wide variety of architectural styles. This tour will be a “walk in the park” as we explore the neighborhood and the stories of the families who have lived there!

Spotlight Tour: Canisius High School
Date: July 31 @ 5:30 & 7:30 p.m.
Meet: Main entrance of the high school, 1180 Delaware Ave., Buffalo
Cost: General $25, Explorer Pass Holders $20

The Delaware Avenue buildings that today house Canisius High School have a layered history that continues to evolve along with the school. The original structure at the heart of the campus is the George Rand mansion, designed by William and Franklyn Kidd and built between 1918-21. George Rand Sr. was president and chairman of the board of directors of Marine Midland Bank; unfortunately, both he and his wife died before the mansion was completed.

The campus has continued to expand and be renovated in recent years. In 2012, the school’s weight room underwent a six-figure extensive renovation. In May 2017, the Canisius High School campus was expanded across West Ferry Street with the purchase of the William J. “Fingy” Conners mansion. The Connors mansion has since been renovated to house the school’s art and music rooms. 

On this extensive and in-depth tour of the Canisius High School campus, we will tour the original Rand mansion, the Masons’ auditorium addition, athletic areas including the swimming pool area and new field house, and the Connors mansion on West Ferry Street.  

Space on this tour is limited, and reservations are required. Please arrive approximately 10 minutes early to check in so the tour can begin promptly. There will be a number of staircases to climb on this tour. Parking is available in the high school parking lot off Delaware Avenue. This tour will be between 90 minutes and two hours in length. Interior photography is allowed.

For more information on all Explore Buffalo tours, please visit explorebuffalo.org or phone (716) 245-3032.

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