A city’s statues can tell you a lot about the city & its people. What do the more off-the-beaten-path statues of Buffalo have to say about our city?

by Max Fisher

Pre-Timmy Ho’s: in case you thought Tim Horton was just a fast food miracle worker, we’re here to tell you that he was also a world class hockey player who just happened to have coffee and doughnut issues

A city’s statues can tell you a lot about the actual city and its residents, or they can come off as downright miscellaneous. I decided to focus on both the miscellaneous variety as well as the meaningful to hopefully find some balance that leaves one in the sweet spot between learning something new and finding something a bit baffling. Full disclosure: the many colorful, well-known buffalo statues that are found throughout the city will not be mentioned. I love them too, but they’re just too obvious.

The McKinley Monument at Delaware Circle

The William McKinley monument was constructed in memory of the 25th president, who was assassinated in Buffalo during the Pan-American Exposition

The McKinley Monument shaft was erected (named after the 25th president William McKinley), located in front of city hall, was commissioned by the State of New York and dedicated on September 6, 1907, 6 years to the day of President McKinley’s fatal shooting while attending the Pan-American Exposition. (which was taking place in Buffalo). Daniel H. Burnham did the architectural design of the monument, referred to as an Obelisk (or “shaft”). Now for those of you saying, “A monument is not a statue!”, I agree – but the four lions made of marble surrounding the base are. They were completed in 1905 by Alexander Phimister Proctor based on a real lion from the Bronx Zoological Park. The lions are there as a sort of crowning flourish for the grandness that is the McKinley Monument.

The Tim Horton statue at Canalside

Only ice fraps, Tim Bits and croissant sandwiches? No way. Tim Horton was a beast in the rink and helped carry the Buffalo Sabres to their first playoff season in 1973

The Tim Horton statue found at Canalside (sculpted by Jerry McKenna in 2014) is in honor of the hard-hitting Hockey player that helped take the Sabres to their third playoff season in franchise history. Horton has all the makings of a true Buffalo sports-hero (although he was not originally from here). A strong-willed leader that didn’t shy away from confrontation, as well as the opportunity to mentor those on his team. He also was a savvy businessman creating the eponymous coffee chain that you see nationwide. Although his life was cut tragically short, this statue is a great reminder not only of the great spirit he brought to the Sabres, but also the strong spirits that the city attracts and creates.

The Indian Hunter in Delaware Park

The Indian Hunter statue focuses on the bond the hunter has with his dog, while showing the alertness of the duo while they’re hunting in the wild

The Indian Hunter found in Delaware Park, sculpted in 1886 by John Quincy Adams Ward, was presented to the city by Ella Spencer Darr in memory of her husband Marcus M. Darr. The statue is of a young Indian male (which should be Native American, but they weren’t very progressive in 1886) in a hunting stance with his dog. The statue focuses on the bond the hunter has with his dog, while showing the alertness of the duo while they’re hunting in the wild.

A glimpse into the past

Statues are a reflection of the place we live in as well as a mirror to the past. They give us a glimpse of what others before our time thought was extraordinary. I hope, at the very least, I sparked your interest to go out and see these and other statues around Buffalo Niagara.


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