The land now occupied by City Hall was once
under water. It was the South Basin -- a sort of parking lot for canal boats.
When the city determined the stagnant waters in the basin were a health hazard,
orders were given to fill it in.
In 1846 Market Hall, designed by Luther Gifford,
was completed on top of this fill.
There were stalls for a public market on the first floor and a public
meeting hall on the second.
The building was enlarged 20 feet to the south in 1857 and the first floor
stalls were closed in to form rooms. The
building then held the city's first public library in the northwest corner, the common council and city clerk's offices were in the
Market Hall, about 1880.
Notice the steeple of St. John the Evangelist in the distance at the left.
The second floor assembly chamber saw its
share of historic meetings. The Whigs Party held its state convention
there in 1850, as did the Republican Party in 1874. Susan
B. Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage were among the
attendees who elected Lucretia Mott president of
the Women's Rights Convention in 1852.
Grover Cleveland's presidential campaign got
its initial launch from this building. Cleveland, 22nd President of the
United States, was
the mayor of Buffalo when the Democratic state convention endorsed his
nomination for the presidency here on July 7th, 1884.