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Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village
Entry 11 of 11
This is a contributing entry for Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
The General Store provided small communities and local farmers with goods that would be otherwise difficult to obtain. It also served as a meeting place where farmers and townspeople could meet to socialize. Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village's General Store was once originally the home of a local tenant farmer, but it has been repurposed as a store in order to focus on trade and commerce from the Erie Canal.

  • General Store
  • General Store
  • General Store
  • General Store
  • General Store

Life for early settlers in Western New York was very difficult. They would have to grow their own food, make their own clothing, and carve their own household items. With the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, life became a bit easier. The Erie Canal made it easier to transport goods from one town to another and many small communities developed in the canal's wake. Many of the towns in Western New York are examples of these small communities which appeared after the Erie Canal was opened.

The General Store was the center of the community. Once a store was established, it would help the community grow by attracting other tradespeople to the area. Printers, blacksmiths, cabinetmakers, and potters would set up their workshops near the general store creating a main street. It then would not take long for this small community to become a town with a schoolhouse, church, and homes.

The General Store most importantly provided farmers and townspeople with goods that they could not make or grow on their own. But, it also served as a meeting place where townspeople gathered to meet and socialize, and provided small communities with exciting new services like newspapers from the city and postal service. Since many local farmers had very little cash, they would usually barter for the products that they needed. They would trade their eggs, butter, and crafts for the metal tools, lamp oil, and sugar that they needed.

Items typically carried in the General Store included:

HOUSEHOLD ITEMS: blankets, washboards, coffee grinders, dishes, candle, candle holders, glass jars, pots and pans, brooms

GROCERIES:

Imported -coffee, tea, brown sugar, spices, molasses, rice, raisins

Locally Grown – dairy products, fruits and vegetables, dried-smoked-salted meat

CHILDREN’S ITEMS: Jars of candy, sticks of candy, licorice, toys, dolls, marbles, balls

DRY GOODS: bolts of cloth, thread, lace, ribbon, buttons, needles, pins, patterns, dyes, overalls, leather gloves, boots, shoes, hats, bonnets, knitted items and other clothing

HARDWARE: nails, hoes, hammers, shovels, axes, window glass, animal traps, guns, ammunition

OTHER ITEMS: clocks, pipes, tobacco, books, paper, pens and ink, lanterns, lamps and kerosene

LARGE ITEMS: farm equipment, lumber, stoves, sewing machines

Kalman, Bobbie. Historic Communities The General Store. New York. Crabtree Publishing Company, 1997.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village

Historic Communities: The General Store

Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village

Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village

Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village