A Revitalization

Governor Kathy Hochul and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) are leading the charge to revitalize Buffalo's waterfront and restore economic growth to Buffalo. Over the past 10+ years, ECHDC, a subsidiary of Empire State Development, has spearheaded projects along Buffalo’s waterfront to help Buffalo and Western New York realize a vision of renewed prosperity. Buffalo is experiencing a renaissance - and newly developed waterfront access, as well as new buildings, public spaces and activities where there once were none, are helping to drive our city’s resurgence. Look no further than the work ECHDC has done at Canalside and the Outer Harbor!

Ruins in Buffalo, NY

“The Gateway to the West”

The Erie Canal Harbor was originally built in 1825 as the western terminus of the Erie Canal. In its heyday Buffalo, known as America’s “Gateway to the West”, was one of the world’s greatest business centers, teeming with canal and rail traffic passing from the Atlantic seaboard across the Great Lakes. For much of the 19th century, it was truly an industrious port that bustled with people and goods from all over the world.

As a result of this prodigious commercial activity, by 1850 Buffalo was transformed from a small waterfront village into a thriving metropolis—eventually becoming the largest inland port in the nation as well as the unofficial grain capital of North America.

The arrival of trains and automobiles in the early 20th century led to the ultimate demise of Erie Canal Harbor as a functional hub of commerce. In time, the site was covered over with stone and dirt to make way for modern streets and vehicle parking.

The harbor rested in this state until the 2000s, when the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) was formed, and Buffalo's waterfront was reclaimed for restoration.

Explore the timeline below to see the journey of transformation that ECHDC has led to revive the Buffalo Waterfront.