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University at Buffalo Libraries

Map Collection

Aerial Photographs of WNY & Buffalo


Collection Description

The University at Buffalo Map Collection has a collection of more than 5,000 aerial photographs covering Erie and Niagara counties for the years 1927-1928, 1966, and 1978. These were produced by the Fairchild Aerial Survey, Inc. and other operations.

The Collection has an almost-complete set of aerial photographs covering Erie County for the years 1927-1929, 1966, and 1978, and for Niagara County for 1966 and 1978.



Individual images are listed by number. Some index maps (Click on series number at top of each section) are included here (originals may be viewed by appointment). Images are added when requested. All images (except where noted) are .jpg files usually scanned at 300 dpi and scale 100% (a few are 150 dpi). Images are bled beyond photo edge to ensure that the entire image has been saved. Images are not rotated to proper North-South orientation. Red dots image show recent additions.

The best way to see what aerial photos have been posted below is to use your browser's SEARCH command and enter the most specific word for the location you wish to see (e.g., forest lawn).

For an appointment to access aerial photos contact the UGL/SEL Reference Desk by calling 645-2945 or via e-mail at library@buffalo.edu. If you have aerial photographs or maps that you wish to donate to the UB Map Collection, or would be willing to loan to the Collection for creating copies, please contact us.

Additional aerial photographs and maps of the UB campuses (North and South) are available on the UB in Maps page. Additional Erie County photos are available from the county website: Erie County Aerial Photographs: 1920 and 1951 collections (these may be downloaded).

Current satellite images of Western New York are also available online; See: Map & Satellite Images Online and Western New York Maps (GIS links provide access to satellite orthophotos).

image NEW Aerial Photographs of Western New York for Buffalo (City); 175 plates (including some of the below images) cover the entire city. This is a subset of the 8226 series.

Note: These images are scanned from photo proofs of the original negatives. Quality is lower than from originals. If you have better copies of these photographs, or if you have other photographs that you would be willing to share, please contact us and consider allowing us to scan these to upgrade our materials. Thank you.


1927-1929

Series - 8187 (Index) - 1927-1929

  • 261 Wanakah along Lake Erie (Wanakah Country Club shown)
  • 300, 302 Eighteen Mile Creek and S bank-Lake Erie shoreline; 300% excerpt showing S bank at Lake Erie shoreline; excerpt (100%) at 600 dpi.
  • 729 Stony Point, Union Ship Canal (W entrance), Tifft Nature Preserve (S end).
  • 731 Union Ship Canal, Tifft Nature Preserve (S end); NE portion Bethlehem Steel complex.
  • 734 South Park, (E) Our Lady of Victory Basilica, (W) RR tracks, (N) Tifft St, (S) Ridge Rd.

  • Series - 8226 (Index) - 1927, Scale 1:9,600

    See also: Aerial Photographs of Western New York (UB Digit) for Buffalo (City) aerials; includes 175 plates (including some of the below images).


    0-99

    • 8, 9, 11 South Buffalo, Cazenovia Park to West Seneca boundary. (Cazenovia Park 400%). (See also: 1966, 1978 views).
    • 16, 18 (S) Union Ship Canal, (N) Tifft Nature Preserve (S end); (W) Inner Harbor (S end); (E) RR tracks.
    • 26, 28, 29, 6065 Buffalo River
    • 69, 70, 71 Colden-Glenwood area

    100-199

    • 100 Downtown Buffalo (east of Michigan Ave); Broadway-Clinton-Madison triangle, Jefferson (W)
    • 101 Downtown Buffalo (east of City Hall)
    • 102 Downtown Buffalo (City Hall detail); west to waterfront; Michigan Ave (E); Buffalo River (S); North St. (N)
    • 104 Downtown Buffalo (west of City Hall)
    • 110 Downtown Buffalo141 Main Street, Delaware Avenue, and Masten district 142 Main Street, Delaware Avenue, west of Main
    • 145 Peace Bridge area and Black Rock Channel (detail) Humboldt Park (Martin Luther King, Jr. Park), Masten area, west to Main Street.
    • 154, 155, 156 Buffalo (NE of downtown) near Masten.
    • 182 Forest Lawn Cemetery & Main Street near Canisius College
    • 183 Forest Lawn Cemetery
    • 184 Forest Lawn Cemetery & Delaware Park
    • 196 Forest Lawn Cemetery & Delaware Park

    200-299

    • 206 Cheektowaga part of Mount Calvary Cemetery
    • 220, 222 University District near UB South Campus. Part of South Campus (E portion of campus not available).
    • 233, 234, 236 Niagara River: Riverside area; Strawberry Island (W), Riverside Park (N), just E of Military Road (E), Scajaquada Creek (S). Erie Canal runs along entire length of photo.
    • 244 Transit and Wehrle Drive (244 map key)
    • 245, 246, 247 (244-246, 409, 498 compilation map) Wehrle Drive, Spindrift, Transit (E), Ellicott Creek (S); connects to N with 406-407 Detail (300%) 245 showing Spindrift Drive & Court
    • 249, 251, 253, 254 Main Street, E of UB South Campus-Williamsville. See corresponding aerial images 397-399; 400-401.
    • 265 Buffalo/Kenmore Elmwood Avenue (W), mid-southern portion of Kenmore (N), Delaware Avenue (+2 blocks East) (E), Hertel Avenue
    • 266 Buffalo/Kenmore Military Road (W), southern portion of Kenmore (N), Delaware Avenue (E), Hertel Avenue (S); Bell Aircraft Corp. facility. See also 385-387.

    300-399

    • 329, 330, 331, 337, 339, 341 Cheektowaga (Buffalo Crushed Stone site).
    • 363, 365, 366, 376, 377 Cheektowaga (Buffalo International Airport site) and surrounding area (Ellicott Creek, Williamsville).
    • 385, 386, 387 Niagara River: Tonawanda/Riverside area; Niagara Street/River (W), Riverside Park at SW corner, Sheridan Drive (and S end of Mt. Olivet Cemetery) (N), Elmwood Avenue (E), Kenmore Avenue (S). Military Road runs N/S through center. See also 266.
    • 397, 399 Main Street, E of UB South Campus-Williamsville. See corresponding aerial images 249-254; 400-401.

    400-499

    • 400, 401 Main Street, E of UB South Campus-Williamsville. See corresponding images 249-254; 397-399.
    • 406, 407 Main Street, Youngs Road, Buffalo Country Club, Sheridan Drive (N), Wehrle Drive (S); connects to S with 245-247; 406 & 495 scanned at 200% showing Buffalo Country Club.
    • 451, 453, 454 Grand Island, S end; includes part of Beaver Island State Park; see also 1025.
    • 476 Tonawanda west (Sheridan Drive & Military) section. See corresponding topo maps.
    • 495, 496, 497, 498, 499. Transit Road area: Amherst (N)-Clarence. See compilation map: 495-503. (495 shows Buffalo Country Club--406 & 495 scanned at 200% showing Buffalo Country Club).

    500-599


    600-699

    • 606 607 608 609 Tonawanda (NW)-Grand Island (E) (east channel Niagara River)
    • 641 Tonawanda (City)-North Tonawanda, junction of Ellicott & Tonawanda Creeks, with Niagara River.
    • 663 Transit Road, North Amherst, near Niagara County line. (shows Transit Valley Country Club).
    • 667, 668, 669 Niagara Falls, Ont. (Township), W of Navy Island, just S of Chippewa; See Also: 746+.
    • 679, 681 Grand Island (ENE) and Niagara River E Branch.

    700-799

    • 723 Tonawanda at Ellicott Creek Island (on Tonawanda Creek; Town of Tonawanda/City of North Tonawanda).
    • 735, 737 Grand Island (ENE) and Niagara River E Branch.
    • 746, 747, 748 Navy Island (Ontario); Navy Island composite image (746 & 747 mosaic); and Niagara Falls, Ont. (Township), W of Navy Island; See Also: 667+.

    800-899


    900-999


    1000-1099


    Series - 8275 (Key to Indexes) - 1928


    Series - 8326, Date - 1929

    • 159 Boston Center (Patchin); route 391-Patchin Rd.-Liebler Rd.
    • 784, 805, 807, 829 Ashford Hollow (Cattaraugus County) (near West Valley Nuclear Demonstration Project).

    1966 (ARE-ARF) Scale: 1:20,000

    Series ARE-1GG-n Date - 1966 June (ca. 1:20,000 scale)

    • 136 Lockport SW to Pendleton, shows NYS Barge Canal; E to Transit Rd
    • 149 Lockport SW to Pendleton; Comstock Corners; Lockport Rd; portion of NYS Barge Canal
    • 150 Lockport SW to Pendleton;
    • 176, 177 Cambria, Pendleton

    Series ARE-2GG-n Date - 1966 (ca. 1:20,000 scale)

    • 19 20 Grand Island (south bridge area) and Tonawanda (Town). Niagara River.
    • 74 Niagara River, N end Lake Ontario (Fort Niagara, Youngstown, NY-Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont./S to area North of Lewiston)
    • 88 89 90 Niagara Falls, Ont.; W section of Niagara Falls, NY along river between Falls and Whirpool; (89 detail).

    Series ARF-1GG-[nnn] Date - 1966 June 12

    • 15 Cheektowaga I-90/33 (Kensington) interchange (similar coverage to ARF-3gg 52, 53)
    • 42 d
    • 71 South Buffalo, Cazenovia Park, N Buffalo River, E West Seneca (Thruway/400 interchange), S Ridge Road (Cazenovia Park 400%). (See also: 1927, 1978 views).
    • 72, 73, 74 Thruway (I-990) corridor N Walden Avenue S exit for (pre-400) 400 expressway.
    • 77 Cheektowaga I-90/33 (Kensington) interchange (S); I-90 (E); Main Street (Eggertsville), (N); Bailey Avenue, UB South Campus (W).
    • 102 Buffalo (E of downtown); W Jefferson Ave., S Dingens St, E Harlem, N East Ferry St. (400% section Bailey/William/Bud Mill Drive; map key).
    • 104 South of 102 (above), Buffalo River, South Buffalo.
    • 129, 130, 131, 135, 136 Cattaraugus Creek
    • 160 Stony Point, Union Ship Canal, Bethlehem Steel complex; Furman Blvd; Smoke Creek & Ridge Road.
    • 163, 164, 165 Buffalo downtown (alt res images: 600 dpi; 300 dpi)
    • 166 Buffalo (northern) Delaware Park/Buffalo State (N); Scajacquada /Kensington Expressways (E); Virginia St. (S); Niagara St./Squaw Island (W) (300% excerpt)
    • 167 (300% excerpts: Elmwood Corridor/Elmwood Strip; Buffalo State; Canisius College; Delaware Park area (includes Lake, Forest Lawn Cemetary, Buffalo Zoo)
    • 168 Kenmore/Tonawanda west (Military Drive) (W); Buffalo (northern) Delaware Park/Buffalo State, Scajacquada (S); Starin Avenue (E); near Highland Avenue (N) 300% detail
    • 170 section
    • UB South Campus and vicinity (detail)

    Series ARF-2GG-[nnn]-1966-[mo.-day]
    • 5, 6, 7, Grand Island NW; North Tonawanda (E) including Tonawanda Island, City of Tonawanda, Town of Tonawanda, and Niagara River (E Branch), Grand Island Bridge (S).
    • 8 9 Grand Island (south bridge area) and Tonawanda (Town). Niagara River.
    • 10 Tonawanda west (Sheridan Drive & Military) section
    • 42, 47, 48, 49, 50 Cattaraugus Creek
    • 73, 74, 75, Grand Island (S) (south bridge area) and (E) Tonawanda (Town). Niagara River.
    • 84 Grand Island (North); Buckhorn Island, Navy Island; bridges to Niagara County.
    • 90 Grand Island S tip (partial); Ontario (Ft. Erie); part of Beaver Island State Park (E part not in collection).Beaver Island: 1920, 1951. 165 Buffalo downtown (600 dpi) (300 dpi)

    Series ARF-3GG-[nnn]-1966-[mo.-day]

    • 19

    • 24, 25 Cattaraugus Creek
    • 52, 53, 55 Cheektowaga (Buffalo International Airport, Thruway, Transit Road, Genesee Street). (Buffalo Crushed Stone site near Airport). Similar image from ARF 1gg 15; 200% Detail of Buffalo International Airport complex.
    • 57, 58, 59 Cheektowaga/Williamsville (East), Clarence (North of Buffalo International Airport, Thruway, Transit Road, Maple Road)
    • 63, 65, 71, 73 Amherst-Pendleton area along Tonawanda Creek (Transit Road & Millersport--New Road--Tonawanda Creek Road).
    • 81, 84, 85, 86, 87 Lancaster NY and vicinity (86 excerpt 400% showing comparison to 1966 and 2008).
    • 114 Western New York Nuclear Service Center (West Valley Nuclear Demonstration Project), Ashford, NY (Cattaraugus County). Includes Ashford and part of Cattaraugus Creek (200% detail). Also topo maps: 1924; 1939; 1964; 1988. Current sate image (Catt. Co GIS) showing topography/structures. Recent sate image. See also 1978 image.
    • 116129 Ashford Hollow (near West Valley Nuclear Demonstration Project). Includes Cattaraugus Creek.
    • 145, 146, 147, 148 Elma, East Aurora
    • 157 Lancaster, Clarence (between Thruway (I-90) and Genesee Street; shows quarries, Lancaster Speedway).
    • 194 Elma (N), East Aurora (S)
    • 196 East Aurora (N), Wales (E)
    • 232, 233, 234 East Aurora to Wales (routes 20A/78)

    Series ARF-4GG-[nnn]-1966-[mo.-day]


    Series ARF-5GG-[nnn]-1966-[mo.-day] July 16, 1966

    • 2, 3, 4, 5 Cattaraugus Creek
    • 18 Eighteen Mile Creek at mouth to Lake Erie and S; 300% excerpt near Creek mouth. See also 1995 image.
    • 39, 58, 63 Cattaraugus Creek (Erie-Chautauqua County Line) W Lake shore-several miles inland (Portion of Cattaraugus Indian Reservation).

    1978

    Series 36029-176--[nnn]-1978-[mo.-day]

    • 23 Niagara Falls to Grand Island north (see also 161 below)
    • 39 Southern Erie County
    • 41, 42, 43 Erie County: Wales (N); Holland (S). See compilation map.
    • 62, 63, 64, 65, 66 Erie County: Aurora & East Aurora, Holland, Wales. See compilation map.
    • 71 West Seneca/Buffalo (SW), I-90-Route 400 interchange.
    • 84 Williamsville/Clarence (North of Thruway (I-90), Transit Road (West) to Lancaster. Includes quarries and Lancaster Speedway). Detail (300%) of Thruway corridor and quarries; from Transit Road to East of Lancaster Speedway. Detail (200%) of Transit Road corridor from Thruway North to Maple Road (current Eastern Hills shopping mall/plaza strip).
    • 85 Williamsville/Clarence (Image almost the same as 84 above, but includes South of Thruway (I-90) South to Genesee Street; Transit Road (West) to Lancaster. Includes quarries and Lancaster Speedway).
    • 86, 87 Williamsvill/Clarence Transit Rd., Sheridan Dr., E toward Lancaster. (#87-400% section)
    • 90, 91 Lancaster (N), Elma (Center), Aurora & East Aurora (S); Route 400. See compilation map.
    • 92, 93 Aurora & East Aurora (E); Orchard Park (W); West Falls (S); Colden (91 image).
    • 101 Ashford Hollow (near West Valley Nuclear Demonstration Project).
    • 103 Western New York Nuclear Service Center (West Valley Nuclear Demonstration Project), Ashford, NY (Cattaraugus County). Includes Ashford and part of Cattaraugus Creek. (Detail image of Center; 200% detail). See also 1966 #114 for more images, map, and detail shots.
    • 121 West Seneca; I-90/I190 junction (W), routh 400 (S), Transit (E) Clinton St. (N).
    • 123 Cheektowaga/Williamsville/Depew/Buffalo (East). Airport N, Transit Rd. E, Lancaster S, I-90 W. 124, 125, 126 Additional to above cover Williamsville and Clarence (Transit Rd., Main St., Sheridan Dr., to Harris Hill)
    • 128 Amherst-Pendleton area along Tonawanda Creek (Transit Road & Millersport--New Road--Tonawanda Creek Road) See also 210-212 & 215 adjoining images
    • 139 Cattaraugus Creek (County Line) W Lake shore-several miles inland.
    • 159, 160 Niagara Falls (N.Y.) along river (E to bridges and LaSalle Expwy), Grand Island W & NW, Navy Island, SE Niagara Falls, Ont. (Township), showing Chippewa; S border (159) on Fort Erie).
    • 161 Niagara Falls (N.Y.) to Grand Island north (Niagara Falls detail; Navy Island, Grand Island detail)
    • 164 Niagara Falls, Grand Island north, NF airport, W Wheatfield
    • 165 Niagara Falls/Wheatfield (N), Grand Island (excluding S end), East Branch Niagara River (E)
    • 166 Tonawanda west (Sheridan Drive & Military); Grand Island (south-central)
    • 167 Tonawanda west (Sheridan Drive & Military); Grand Island (south); Includes Beaver Island State Park; excerpt of Park.
    • 168 Tonawanda west (Sheridan Drive & Military) section (at 300%) excerpt showing Black Rock/Niagara River section.
    • 170 South Buffalo/Lackawanna
    • 175 Derby, SE Hamburg, Eighteen Mile Creek from W of Eden to Lake Erie; 300% excerpt near Creek mouth.
    • 198 (W) Lake Erie; (N) Ridge Rd (Smoke Creek); (E) S. Park Ave; (S) Wanakah Ctry Club, Camp Rd, Pleasant. Also Hamburg Town Park.
    • 200 Buffalo River, South Buffalo Area. (W) Lake Erie; (N) Small Boat Harbor, William St; (E) South Park Ave; (S) Ridge Rd (Smoke Creek).
    • 202 Buffalo downtown (600 dpi) (300 dpi) (detail 150%)--image covers most of the city
    • 204 Town of Tonawanda (Grand Island Bridges, I-290, I-190, to North Buffalo (Scajacquada Expressway), to International RR Bridge (to Canada), to Eggert Road).
    • 206 Grand Island (E half); North Tonawanda; Tonawanda (City & Town); I-290 (S edge)
    • 210, 211 Amherst-Pendleton area along Tonawanda Creek (Transit Road & Millersport--New Road--Tonawanda Creek Road) See also 128 adjoining image.
    • 212 Amherst/Williamsville (E of UB)
    • 215 Amherst-Pendleton area (N of UB North Campus)
    • 216 UB North Campus and Getzville/North Forest; Tonawanda. hi-res excerpt of Campus.
    • 217 UB North Campus; Amherst (Boulevard Mall/Niagara Falls Blvd); Tonawanda; UB South Campus; Buffalo; Williamsville
    • 219 UB South Campus and Eggertsville (N Amherst -- S Broadway/W Delaware Park -- E Cheektowaga). (Excerpt 300% showing UB/Englewood Ave.)
    • 222, 223, 224 South Buffalo, West Seneca, Hamburg; N Cazenovia Park/Creek, E West Seneca (Route 400), S Milestrip Road (Orchard Park), W Lake Erie (Lackawanna) (Cazenovia Park 400%). (See also: 1927, 1966 views).

    Modern Satellite Imagery (from outside sources)


    Origins of the Photographs

    Below are descriptions of each collection:

    1927-1929 Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Inc., New York, N.Y.

    Coverage: Erie County, N.Y. / Scale: ca.1:9,500

    Codes: 8187, 8225, 8226, 8275, 8326

    The 1927-1929 collection of photographs were produced by the Fairchild Aerial Survey, Inc. Sherman Mills Fairchild, who was born in New York State, took great interest in the role of airplanes and photography. His company, Fairchild Aerial Survey, Inc., produced thousands of aerial photographs of the United States and Mexico. Its vast collection has been dispersed and collections of these photos are in libraries across the country. One of the largest collections of Fairchild aerial photos is the Fairchild Aerial Photography Collection at University of California at Santa Barbara. The National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution also has a large collection of Fairchild and USGS aerial photos, as does the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress.

    1966 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Stabilization and Conservaiton Service
    (Flown by Keystone Aerial Surveys, Inc., Philadelphia, Pa.)
    Coverage: Erie and Niagara Counties, N.Y. / Scale 1:20,000
    Code: ASCS (Plates have series numbers/sub-numbers)

    1978 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service
    (Flown by Kucera & Associates, Mentor, Ohio)
    Coverage: Erie and Niagara Counties, N.Y. / Scale 1:38,000
    Code: 36029 (Plates have series numbers/sub-numbers)


    Technical Note on the Photographs

    The entire aerial collection is made up of contact proofs of the negatives that were shot. These vary in quality and some contain imperfections caused by the processing of these contacts. Also, some frames are missing from the collection. These prints were given to the University Libraries "as is" and what was missing when we received them cannot be replaced.

    The scale of the 1927-1929 photographs was approximated by calculating a sampling of photographs. Because of altitude variations, the scale varies slightly throughout the series.


    Requesting Aerial Photographs

    Requests to obtain copies of aerial photographs must be made through the Map Collection. You may set up an appointment to view and locate photographs. We will make either photocopies of the selected images or scanned electronic files.

    Aerial photographs by Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Inc. are still under copyright and may not be used in publications without permission. It is the user's responsibility to obtain permission. USDA aerial photographs are free to use.

    Please cite the Western New York Aerial Photograph Collection at the University at Buffalo when using any of these images.


    Other Aerial Photographs & Satellite Imagery at UB

    In addition, the Map Collection contains a small collection of miscellaneous satellite imagery of United States cities. Contact the UGL/SEL Reference Desk by calling 645-2945 or via e-mail at library@buffalo.edu to set up an appointment to access the aerial photos. See also: Satellite Images, Aerial Photographs, and Databases for a selection.


    Additional links to Erie County Air Photos

    Other photograph collections of Erie County aerial photographs are at the Erie County Aerial Photographs (Erie County Public Works Dept.) website. Currently has 1920 and 1951.

    A source for Canadian aerial photography is the National Air Photo Library (Natural Resources Canada). Extensive aerial and high-altitude images of Canada. Find digital copies of images and order photos. Also has resources on aerial photography, including: Introduction to Air Photo Interpretation, a page that explains how to 'read' these photographs.


    Aerial Photograph Collections in Other Institutions (Selected List)

    Listed alphabetically by country or state, then by city or county, etc. Most are vertical aerial satellite images, but a few oblique or selective collections are here because of their usefulness.


    The Fairchild Aerial Photography Collection at Whittier College is one of the largest libraries of aerial photographs in North America. The Collection is estimated to consist of at least 500,000 items, including prints, negatives, photoindices, and photomosaics. All of the photographs in the Collection were produced by Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Inc., or its subsidiaries and contractors during the period of 1927-1965, and are mostly black-and-white, vertical images.

    Further Information and Donations Request
    If you need further assistance, please contactthe UGL/SEL Reference Desk by calling 645-2945 or via e-mail at library@buffalo.edu. If you have aerial photographs or maps that you wish to donate to the UB Map Collection, or would be willing to loan to the Collection for creating copies, please contact us. Thank you.