County Seat: Buffalo
Year Organized: 1821
Square Miles: 1,045
25 Delaware Avenue
derived from a tribe of Indians living in Western New York prior to 1654
County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts
Erie County is located in western New York State. In 1990, the county population was 968,532 in a land area of 1,044 square miles, an average of 927 people per square mile. The county seat is Buffalo, organized in 1810, incorporated as a village in 1816 and as a city in 1832.
The County itself was formed in 1821 from Niagara County which was itself formed in 1808 from Genesee County, formed in turn from Ontario County in 1802, which was created in 1789 from Montomery County which was formed in 1772 from Albany County (Montgomery was known as Tryon County until 1784). Full History at NYSAC
The earliest inhabitants of Erie County were the Erie Indians, followed by the Seneca Indians who controlled Western New York in the 17th century. To protect the fur trade, the French built Fort Niagara in 1726. In 1798 the Holland Land Company purchased the land west of the Genesee River, and hired Joseph Ellicott to survey and begin the development of the area. Ellicott with his brother, Andrew, had laid out Washington D.C. and the same wagon-wheel plan was used for “New Amsterdam” (later called Buffalo).
Erie County is in the western portion of New York State, bordering on the lake of the same name. It is the most
populous county in New York State outside of the New York City metropolitan area.
According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,227 square miles (3,178 km2), of which, 1,044 square miles (2,704 km2) of it is land and 183 square miles (473 km2) of it (14.89%) is water. The northern border of the county is Tonawanda Creek. Part of the southern border is Cattaraugus Creek. Other major streams include Buffalo Creek (Buffalo River), Cayuga Creek, Cazenovia Creek, Scajaquada Creek, Eighteen Mile Creek and Ellicott Creek.
The county's northern half, including Buffalo and its suburbs, is relatively flat and rises gently up from the lake. The southern half is much hillier and is the northwesternmost foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
The highest elevation in the county is a hill in the Town of Sardinia that tops out at around 1,940 feet (591 m) above sea level. The lowest ground is about 560 feet (171 m), on Grand Island at the Niagara River.
The Onondaga Escarpment runs through the northern part of Erie County.
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