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Home > Our City > Buffalo My City > Buffalo My City Watercolors > 14-A The Peace Bridge (1990)

14-A The Peace Bridge (1990)


Narrative by - David M. Rote
(Narratives are copyrighted)

The International Peace Bridge was dedicated on August 7, 1927 with ceremonies which included the Vice President of the United States, the Prince of Wales, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Governor of New York State and many other prominent persons. In the words of Stanley Baldwin of Great Britain: "This is no ordinary bridge. It stands as a symbol of more than a century of peace." Hence its most appropriate name. Prior to the Peace Bridge, passenger and car ferries ran between Canada and the United States from the foot of Ferry Street.

The approach from the United States side was originally the site of Fort Porter, home of the Thirteenth United States Infantry, which distinguished itself in both the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. A huge glacial boulder, surmounted with a plaque honoring the Thirteenth Infantry, stood on the parade field at Fort Porter and when the fort was demolished in favor of the Peace Bridge, the boulder was removed to a place outside of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society where it may still be seen. The beautiful marble fireplace which was once situated in the Fort Porter commandant's house is now located inside the administration building of the Peace Bridge.

The bridge, which took eleven months to complete, is 4,400 feet long and 9,000 tons of structural steel, all supplied by Lackawanna's Bethlehem Steel Company, were used in its construction. The breakwall, from which we view the bridge, is also the western wall of the Black Rock ship canal and the main span of the bridge crosses the canal at a height of 100 feet. The canal assists the movement of boats at this point because of swift and uncertain currents of the Niagara River as it passes over the Onondaga Escarpment.

When the western terminus of the Erie Canal was decided in favor of the village of Buffalo over the village of Black Rock, the Black Rock ship canal became an important element in getting canal boats to the safety of the Buffalo harbor.

The breakwall view also enhances the castle-like structure of The Alliance apartment building and behind that is seen a tower from the Episcopal Church Home which is located nearby.