The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Gazette (Detroit, MI), 19 July 1822, page 2

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Buffalo and Black Rock harbors.--The great interest which many of our citizens feel, in the construction of a good harbor at Buffalo or at Black Rock, have caused them to look with anxiety at the probable result of the dispute which has so long existed between the people of those two places, as to the relative advantages which both offer, as a point for the termination of the Grand Canal--a dispute which has already produced some legislative enactments, and which will, perhaps, cause more.

However much we may deprecate that ill-will and unneighborly feeling, which the contention alluded to has excited in the bosoms of the good people of Buffalo and Black, yet there is left to us the satisfaction of believing, that it will eventuate in good to them, and, not very remotely, in good to the commercial part of the inhabitants in this section of the country. For from what has already transpired in the newspapers, and from conversations with intelligent gentlemen, we are led to the belief that there will be, at no distant period, not only a spacious and safe harbor constructed at the mouth of Buffalo Creek, but one also at Black Rock, which will extend along the shore to the head of the rapids. To many who have visited the latter place, and viewed the capacity and depth of the current in which it is proposed to erect a dam, the plan of making a harbor and setting the water back, so that vessels will be enabled to enter the lake without the assistance of the towing rope, seems utterly impracticable. This was long our opinion.--but the very sanguine manner in which the supporters of the Black Rock plan express themselves, and the great confidence which they appear to feel i the success of the undertaking, to say nothing of the means proposed to accomplish it, have greatly lessened our doubts as to its practicability.

Although it be found that a harbor, such as is contemplated, can be made at Black Rock yet it will not follow that the Canal will terminate at that place--it is, perhaps already determined to extend it to Buffalo Harbor, for the very good reason, that from that source, its waters, for its most important section, would always be uniform and abundant--but should it terminate at Black Rock, and depend on the existence of a dam for a supply of water, it would , at times, be liable to a terrible contingency. And to us it appears, that the people of Black Rock cannot loose but temporary advantages, by the extension of the Canal to Buffalo; for it will run along the shore, parallel with their harbor, into which cuts can be made for the passage of boats. Nor, on the other hand, could the people of Buffalo suffer much, should the Canal terminate at Black Rock, for, by means of that harbor, all the canal craft would be enabled, in a few minutes, to reach the Buffalo "Long Wharf" and Store Houses; and the only contention that would remain between the storers and freighters of the rival harbors, would be, that of gaining business by prompt and honorable dealing and moderate prices.

If it be practicable to make a good and permanent harbor at Black Rock to the head of the rapids, which many assert--and if, also, a convenient and safe one can be made at the mouth of Buffalo Creek, which few deny--then, indeed, it is a matter of surprise that so long and bitter a dispute should have existed between the two places, in relation to this subject. It those most interested had, for a few moments, contemplated the probable amount of business that will, in a short time after the completion of the Canal, be transacted at the lower end of Lake Erie, they would, we think, have been more afraid that they would lack ability to accommodate one half of the water craft that will then demand accommodation, than fearful of not getting a proper proportion of business.

In a few brief years, when the strip of woods which now separates them, shall give place to elegant mansions and rich stores, and Buffalo and Black Rock shall have become the same in name and in interests, with what astonishment and regret will many look back upon their present prejudices and quarrels!

When we glance our eye over the map, and see the vast extent of territory which must be supplied with the usual articles of merchandize by means of the Great Canal, and reflect upon the immensity of the population which that extent is capable of sustaining, we cannot feel that it is a visionary prediction, to say that Buffalo is destined, within the short space of twenty five years, to be the third or fourth city, in point of magnitude, business and wealth, of which the state of New York will then boats.--It will, without doubt, become a "whole sale" place shortly after the completion of the Canal, from which time she can, with certainty, date her importance and prosperity.

There is something in names--and we trust we may be permitted to close this article by suggesting to the good people of Buffalo, the propriety of giving their important locality a better and more appropriate name.

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19 July 1822
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Dave Swayze
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Gazette (Detroit, MI), 19 July 1822, page 2