Buffalo Along the Erie Canal

Buffalo’s Commercial Slip

When public authorities considered bringing more attention to the canal waterfront area of Buffalo for development purposes, they piqued the curiosity of long-time Canal Society member Henry Baxter, a Buffalo resident. However, their initial plan for the site was not ideal as far as he was concerned. They wanted to recreate a few remnants of the Slip. Henry felt people should see the Slip itself, and he rallied Canal Society members to get involved in the issue.

Buffalo’s Commercial Slip is an important part of New York’s canal heritage. The Slip was a remnant of Little Buffalo Creek, which flowed into the Buffalo River just before the larger stream entered Lake Erie. The Commercial Slip formed one boundary of Buffalo's infamous Canal District, and was filled in when the district was marked for urban renewal in the 1950s. By that time, the New York State Thruway and the Skyway had been built over the Canal district, and the Commercial Slip was buried and forgotten.

In the late 1990s, public authorities began showing an interest in reviving Buffalo’s Erie Canal heritage. After the citizens’ outcry begun by Henry’s letter, the planners changed course and excavated and restored actual portions of the district, including the Commercial Slip.

Today, the Slip is a vibrant focal point on Buffalo’s waterfront, offering a look back into the City’s storied Canal Street days.