Old First Ward murals, Buffalo

The First Ward in Buffalo NY includes the docks along the Buffalo River and was once a thriving industrial area.  Old grain elevators still dominate the area.   The first residents were Irish who came to help dig the Erie Canal (completed in 1825) and who stayed.   A second wave of Irish immigrants arrived in the 1840’s as refugees from the famine.  They settled here and found work in the port.

Two large murals have been painted on Republic Street, both facing the railway tracks.   The first is ‘The Worker’ on the old Brock’s building/warehouse between Tennessee and Kentucky streets.   It was completed just over a year ago.

a long horizontal mural called The Worker, with the words Thw WOrker written in large capital letters and filled in with pictures of working people. Along the side of a wall beside a train track - view of whole mural with tracks in the foreground

The project was headed by ELAB (Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo).

below: Molten metal and flying sparks by Nicole Cherry

a tub of molten metal and sparks flying, as part of a large mural that pays tribute the workers and labourers who lived and worked in Buffalo's First Ward back when it was an industrial powerhouse

below: Nick Miller’s painting, “Brakemen” a tribute to those who worked on the railways fills the word THE.

part of a larger mural called The Worker, with the words Thw WOrker written in large capital letters and filled in with pictures of working people. Along the side of a wall beside a train track

below: W O R K E R with its images

the word worker is written in large capital letters and each letter contains an image of people working, a large mural in Buffalo New York

below: A harbour scene.

part of a larger mural, a dock scene, harbour, ship in the water, lift bridge open in the background, kegs and barrels on the dock, a man working on the dock

below: Honouring the police and firemen.  The boat is  the “Edward M. Cotter”.  This fireboat was built in 1900 as the “William S. Grattan” – named after the first paid fire commissioner in Buffalo.   After a 1953 rebuild she was given her present name in honour of a recently deceased Buffalo firefighter and leader of the local firefighters union.  She is the oldest active fireboat in the world and is a National Historic landmark.  She also acts as an ice breaker during the winter months.

part of a large mural celebrating the workers of Buffalo, this panel is for the police and firemen and includes a red fire boat.

below: Scoopers with grain in the hold of a lake freighter.

part of a larger mural, men hauling a rope and filling a shovel with wheat

The second mural was painted by Vinnie Alejandro and a team of artists.  It is a 5000 square foot painting contrasting the past and present of the Old First Ward.

railway tracks run past the community steel corp building on Republic St., Buffalo. There is a mural on the side of the building.

It is just up the street from ‘The Workers’ mural – on the side of the Community Steel building at Alabama and Republic.

mural about the Old FIrst Ward, Buffalo. involves two large panels, one is an image from the past with grain and grain elevators and the other is a scene from the present with the area as a residential parkland with old grain elevators in the background. Railway tracks run in front of the mural.

The area has many railway lines. The ones that run parallel to Republic Street were in 1903 the City of Buffalo granted private railroad rights to the Quaker City Cooperage Company (they made barrels). These tracks connected to the Erie Railroad.

mural about the Old FIrst Ward, Buffalo. involves two large panels, one is an image from the past with grain and grain elevators and the other is a scene from the present with the area as a residential parkland with old grain elevators in the background. Railway tracks run in front of the mural.

From what I could find, other artists include Tom O’Brien, Amanda Gala Roney, Suzie Molnar Goad, Ed ‘Sparky’ Lawton, Jake Wiles, and Chris Kameck.   Like all community mural projects, many people and organizations were involved. For a short history of the mural, and a list of groups who gave supplies and/or time, see an article in ‘Buffalo Rising‘ (an excellent resource if you’re interested in the city of Buffalo).

mural about the Old FIrst Ward, Buffalo. involves two large panels, one is an image from the past with grain and grain elevators and the other is a scene from the present with the area as a residential parkland with old grain elevators in the background. Railway tracks run in front of the mural.

Photos were taken January 3, 2017

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s