Lincoln Visit 150 Years Ago Today

President Lincoln's visit to Buffalo, NY February 16, 1861-Parade in front of the American Hotel

Abraham Lincoln’s stop in Buffalo was one of several on his tour from Springfield, Illinois to Washington, D.C.  to take his oath of office on March 4, 1861. His train’s arrival at the old Exchange Street depot was greeted by 12,000 people, almost the entire population of Buffalo.   President-elect Lincoln was greeted by former President Millard Fillmore. Lincoln spoke from the balcony of the American Hotel and later that evening, he and his wife held public receptions in the same hotel.  Today, the American Hotel’s site is now occupied by the former downtown AM&A’s. 

Before President Abraham Lincoln came to Buffalo, he stopped at Westfield to see Grace Bedell, a little girl, who wrote to him during his campaign to tell him to grow whiskers.  He took her advice and stopped to show her his new grown beard. So, when almost the entire population of Buffalo came to see him on his visit to Buffalo, the people saw him as we picture him today.

The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library’s Grosvenor Room has a wealth of information for your local history needs.

NOTE: Western New Yorkers can begin the American Civil War Sesquicentnneal observance with a visit from “Abraham Lincoln” tomorrow February 17th from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Buffalo, 695 Elmwood Avenue at West Ferry Street.  For further information visit: or call 884-0095.

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