Buffalo Outer Harbor and Main Lighthouse

We were driving to Canalside in downtown Buffalo to kill some time on the Friday before our son’s wedding. The signs we were following pointed left, but there were two possibilities. We took the closer left and went shooting off over a high-speed elevated bridge (the Buffalo Skyway I found out later) that curved out over the water. Clearly having no idea where we were, or any sense of direction, I said, “I hope we don’t end up in Canada.” Followed quickly by, “Do you have my passport in your backpack?”

I’m glad it was a calm day. The wind can get pretty strong up on that bridge, I hear.

Map of Buffalo Harbor Area. We were aiming for the red balloon.
Map of Buffalo Harbor Area. We were aiming for the red balloon.

Here is a picture of the Buffalo Harbor area. If you want to zoom in or out you can visit the link to this Google map. Buffalo is on the east side of Lake Erie, just south of the entrance to the Niagara River. The Buffalo Creek snakes through to the east. The geography was important in Buffalo’s early growth and affluence. The Erie Canal opened in 1825 and Buffalo was the western end of the line. But more on that next time.

The sail boat may be one of the Spirit of Buffalo cruises.

The bridge we were on landed us at the outer harbor and looking, through docked and sailing boats, across the water to downtown Buffalo, and Canalside, our original destination. We decided to look around the outer harbor area since we were already there.

06-to the lighthouse-2013-08-10So we walked out to see the Buffalo Main Lighthouse at the LIghthouse Point Park beside the Coast Guard facility. The park is billed as “One of the most historic places in Buffalo—the place where villagers built a harbor, that in turn built a city,” (Park signage). Sometimes you can bumble into some pretty interesting things.


What is it about lighthouses that make them so captivating? Is it the idea of a light in the night, a safe harbor, a history of rescues, the far point out to the sea?


Or maybe it’s simply the shape that rises up to the sky.

I’m not really sure what the purpose is of the white bottle structure or the black item. If you know what they are, please share. I didn’t read the signs. I was too busy snapping photos and loving the beautiful weather.

13-Edward m Cotter-2013-08-10
The Edward M. Cotter is the world’s oldest working fireboat. (Buffalo Place)

We were thrilled to see the Edward M. Cotter pull into the harbor. (If you look closely or click on the picture you can see two of the water nozzles on the front deck. )

Matts Cotter mural
Images of the Edward M. Cotter mural by Matthew Grote from Savarino Properties

The Edward M. Cotter was the inspiration for the mural Savarino Cos. commissioned for the lobby of 26 Mississippi Street by our son Matthew Grote, (Buffalo Rising). Matt said the circular wall posed a unique challenge.

15-boat and city-2013-08-10We watched the Cotter move on into the harbor with the Buffalo skyline as a backdrop.

05-city hall-2013-08-10Here’s a zoomed-in shot, from our position across the water, of the top of City Hall. The building is considered an art deco masterpiece.

16-Back to Canalside-2013-08-10Looking back up the sidewalk to where we parked, we could see one of the large docked ships from the military park beside Canalside. Our destination was in sight. But since we had no water vehicle, we returned to our car and muddled our way there through streets and across a small bridge. Pictures will follow.

See more posts about Buffalo.


20 thoughts on “Buffalo Outer Harbor and Main Lighthouse”

    1. Me too. I’d like to make a collection of photographs of lighthouses. But I’ve already visited quite a few and would hate to start over. They can be kind of creepy/scary inside for those who are acrophobic or claustrophobic. But they’re great to look at from the outside.

  1. Buffalo is such a great city! Been there many times and always enjoyed the people and places. So many lovely in-city neighborhoods, not to mention a great zoo, too! Love the proximity to Toronto for times when you want a bigger city environment.
    It was always my impression that people who pooh-poohed Buffalo had NEVER actually been there. Glad you posted these pics!

    1. I’ve never been to the zoo there, but since it doesn’t seem like my son and daughter-in-law have plans to leave there any time soon, I will add the zoo to my Buffalo to-do list. Thanks.

  2. Raising my hand here—-huge lighthouse fan. We visit as many as we can when we travel. There was just an article in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend about converting lighthouses into living spaces!!! Great photos and wonderful mural by your son. what a wonderful gift he has!!! Thanks for sharing.

      1. I really like to be organized too. But I have adjusted my outlook some since the reality of my mortality struck with the deaths of my parents. Some things just aren’t as important as they used to seem.


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