The Polish influence in Western New York can be traced back to Pieter Stadnitski, one of the partners of the Holland Land Office Company; the Dutch company which purchased and brought settlers to the area in the early 19th century. More specifically, Polish settlers of Jewish heritage began arriving in the area before 1860, while Catholic Poles began arriving in large numbers soon after. Between 1873 and 1922, Polish Americans established 34 church parishes in Greater Buffalo and Western New York.
By 1940, there were 76,465 Western New Yorkers of Polish stock, and in the 1990’s a great number of people from this area claim to be of some Polish descent. Many of them still live in the areas of the city that their grandparents and parents first settled: Broadway-Filmore, Clinton-Bailey, Black Rock and Riverside as well as Cheektowaga, Depew and Lackawanna.
Video: Buffalo’s Historic Polonia District (created by Forgotten Buffalo Tours, for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Annual Conference held in Buffalo, NY in October 2011).