by Fred Schrock

Stars Along Scajaquada

Last Saturday the Black Rock-Riverside Good Neighbor Planning Alliance organized a War of 1812-themed block party just steps from the site of the Battle of Scajaquada Creek.  A number of other groups, including the Black Rock Historical Society, the Buffalo Maritime Center, and a host of reenactors took part in the event.  Several hundred people took in the historical lectures, buggy rides, and live music, too.  Here are a few photos from the event.  (Some of the many “stars” along the creek are seen in the tree above.)

Local researchers Chris Andrle, Doug Kohler, and John Percy gave presentations.  There was even a live blacksmithing demonstration among all the other activities.

Above all other Buffalo neighborhoods, Black Rock has been defined by its involvement in the War of 1812.  The village, then independent, was burned right before the more infamous attack on what is downtown Buffalo.  The shore near Scajaquada Creek, which itself was a naval shipyard during the war, was the site of numerous crossings into and out of Canada.  The remains of the HMS Detroit still sit at the bottom of the Niagara River only a stone’s throw from Squaw Island.  Residents continue to find bullets, arrowheads, and other artifacts buried on their properties.

Lately the community has used this unique past in their renaissance, especially in the commercial area near the intersection of Grant and Amherst.  Scores of fifteen-star American flags are now displayed up and down streets and a new 1812-themed mural was recently dedicated where Amherst meets Thompson.  Several historic plaques were put up at the corner of Amherst and Niagara, historically known as Market Square, in the past year.  A Binational Heritage Peace Garden opened on nearby Dearborn Street.  Market Square and several other important properties were added to the National Register of Historic Places in late 2011.

Be sure to visit the neighborhood this December for the 200th commemoration of the Burning of Buffalo.  As part of the festivities, locals will build and light a massive bonfire on Squaw Island with a twin bonfire visible on the Canadian side.  But until then, the next big community event will the Discover Amherst Street parade on Saturday, June 15th.  See below for details.

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