Buffalo’s Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Delaware Park has a 118-year-old new water feature. In Hoyt Lake, originally called The Gala Waters, a new water fountain–complete with lighting–has been installed matching the original fountain built in 1895.
|A postcard showing the original 1895 fountain.
The lake was much larger then – much was filled in during the construction
of the Scajaquada Highway (Route 198).
The fountain has a central jet that shoots 50 feet in the air surrounded by lower water jets that reach 25 feet. It is at the Forest Lawn Cemetery/Delaware Avenue S-curves end of the lake. It’s difficult to see from Delaware Avenue currently with all the leaves on the trees.
The fountain won’t run overnight, and will be turned off during the winter. It is powered by electricity, with the city picking up the tab.
The new fountain is part of efforts by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the City of Buffalo, and Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper to improve water quality in Hoyt Lake and the Scajaquada Creek watershed and was made possible by a grant from NYS Department of Environmental Conservation initiated by Senator Mark Grisanti. The $100,000 grant attracted $90,000 more in matching funds from the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a study of the sediment in the lake to help with lake restoration efforts.
This summer, the city drilled two new artesian wells to feed the lake from the eastern shore. The new fountain will not only look great, but will also help improve water conditions in Delaware Park’s historic lake by aerating the water to increase the oxygen levels, thereby helping the fish and ecosystem begin to heal. Previously, this end of the lake was not attractive to look at–or on some days to smell–because of stagnation and pollution. I wish they’d built two or three more!
|At the other end of Hoyt Lake, the canoes are lined up
for the evening. Believe it or not, THIS is downtown Buffalo.
Frederick Law Olmsted is America’s first and greatest landscape architect. He once said, “A park is a work of art, designed to produce certain effects upon the minds of men.” His system of parks and parkways in Buffalo is the first of its kind in the nation and represents one of his largest bodies of work. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the System consists of six major parks, their connecting parkways and circles, and several smaller spaces. Olmsted’s claim to fame is his design of Central Park in New York City, and Boston’s “Emerald Necklace,” and the Washington DC Mall.
We live steps away from two of the Olmsted Parkways and a few minutes walk from Delaware Park. I don’t think the Olmsted Parks have ever looked better in the 30 years I’ve lived in Buffalo. There is so much going on in Buffalo right now–from rejuvenated Olmsted Parks, to waterfront development, Larkin Square, the Medical Corridor, Chippewa Street, new and old Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and structures, the revival of the Richardson Olmsted Complex (the old Psych Center), and dozens more small and large projects. If you haven’t been to Buffalo in a while–even as little as five years ago–you need to come back. It’s a different city. So glad that between Garden Walk Buffalo, the National Garden Festival , and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Graycliff Estate that me and my cohorts have been able to contribute to Buffalo’s resurgence in our own small way.