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Check Out What Lafayette Square Looked Like in 1889! [BUFFALO: THEN AND NOW]

Lafayette Square - June 5, 2012
Jack FM

We know Lafayette Square for many things: partying at Thursday in the Square, the location of our dumpy little studio and the colorful visitors to the Square every day. In fact, on my way to the Square’s Tim Horton’s this morning, I witnessed a mother/daughter cat fight that was about to get ugly.

I don’t think our Buffalo ancestors intended us to to air our family’s dirty laundry at the same location where Martin Van Buren once announced his run for the presidency, but times have changed, uh, for the better? Here’s a list of some other cool history stuff that took place in the Square.

Future president, Sheriff Grover Cleveland, hanged a criminal there. After Patrick Morrissey stabbed his widowed mother in 1872, he was sent to the gallows. Grover Cleveland, then-Erie County Sheriff, was to either hang Morrissey himself or pay a deputy $10 ($180 today) to do it. After his colleagues refused to carry out the job themselves, Cleveland took matters into his own hands and hanged Morrissey in the middle of the Square for all to see. All we have to say is, we can’t believe the deputies were such wimps. What an easy 10 bucks.

President-elect Abraham Lincoln spoke. On February 16, 1861, President Lincoln spoke to a crowd before taking office. We don’t know what he talked about, but we’re sure it was important.

The Square is named after some French guy. French general Marquis de Lafayette visited the Square in 1825, and they named it after him on that same day. We’re guessing he was a pretty big deal in his time. If you consider leading troops to victory alongside George Washington a big deal?

Hey, there is a purpose for that statue in the middle of the Square! Resurrected in 1883 to honor those who laid down their lives in the war, the unnamed female figure represents the Union, and the four bronze statues represent the infantry, cavalry, navy and artillery. Scripted on the side is…I’m sure we lost you after the word “female,” so go out and look at the statue yourself.

T.I.T.S. T.I.T.S — a.k.a., that place outside where you get drunk on Thursdays — has been around since 1986. Once called Thursday in the Park, it has hosted bands such as the Goo Goo Dolls and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Naturally, you can understand why Thursday in the Square was renamed Thursday at the Square. We’re going to miss our Thursdays in the Square, but we’ll happy to hang out with the Cult tonight down at the Harbor.

Library of Congress National Archives

Contributed by Sara Johnson

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