Amherst, New York

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
20090410 Amherst Central High School.JPG
Country United States
State New York
County Erie County
Elevation 594 ft (181.1 m)
Coordinates 42°58′42″N 78°48′00″W / 42.97833°N 78.80000°W / 42.97833; -78.80000Coordinates: 42°58′42″N 78°48′00″W / 42.97833°N 78.80000°W / 42.97833; -78.80000
Area 53.5 sq mi (138.6 km2)
 - land 53.2 sq mi (138 km2)
 - water 0.3 sq mi (1 km2), 0.56%
Population 122,366 (2010)
Density 2,287 / sq mi (883 / km2)
Incorporated 1818
Town Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein (R)
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 14051, 14068, 14221, 14226, 14228
Area code 716
Location in Erie County and the state of New York.
Location of New York in the United States
Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 4,153
1860 5,086 22.5%
1870 5,265 3.5%
1880 4,319 −18.0%
1890 4,014 −7.1%
1900 4,223 5.2%
1910 4,629 9.6%
1920 6,286 35.8%
1930 13,181 109.7%
1940 19,356 46.8%
1950 31,407 62.3%
1960 57,439 82.9%
1970 90,734 58.0%
1980 108,706 19.8%
1990 111,740 2.8%
2000 116,510 4.3%
2010 122,366 5.0%
Est. 2012 123,252 0.7%
Historical Population Figures [1][2]

Amherst (Listeni/ˈæmhərst/[3]) is a town in Erie County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 122,366.[4] This represents an increase of 5.0% from the 2000 census.[5]

In July 2010, ranked Amherst 42nd in a list of the Top 100 Best Places to Live in America. In 2012, ranked Amherst 50th.[6] In 2011 and 2012, Amherst was selected as one of America’s 100 Best Communities for Young People by America's Promise Alliance.[7]

The largest and most populous suburb of Buffalo, New York, the town of Amherst encompasses most of the village of Williamsville and the hamlets of Eggertsville, Getzville, Snyder, Swormville, and East Amherst. The town is in the northern part of the county and borders a small section of the Erie Canal.

Amherst is home of the Amherst campus of the University at Buffalo; the graduate campus of Medaille College, a campus of Bryant and Stratton College; and Daemen College. Millard Filmore Suburban Hospital is located in the center of town on Maple Road.[8]


The town of Amherst was created by the State of New York on April 10, 1818. Amherst was formed from part of the town of Buffalo (later the city of Buffalo), which had previously been created from the town of Clarence. Timothy S. Hopkins was elected the first supervisor of the town of Amherst in 1819. Part of Amherst was later used to form the town of Cheektowaga in 1839.[9]

The Town of Amherst Archives Center is housed in the Former Reformed Mennonite Church.[10] The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.[11]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 53.5 square miles (139 km2), of which 53.2 square miles (138 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) (0.50%) is water.

Much of Amherst was originally floodplain and marshland, much of which has been drained in recent years to facilitate development of new homes and businesses. The central and southern parts of the town are heavily suburbanized; however, the southernmost hamlets of Eggertsville and Snyder and the village of Williamsville have managed to retain much of their original character. The northern part of the town is still relatively undeveloped with the prominent exception of the portions along Niagara Falls Boulevard (U.S. Route 62) bordering the town of Tonawanda and the town of Wheatfield. Some sections of northern and eastern Amherst have experienced problems with residential foundations as a result of unstable soil conditions. A few active farms may still be found in the northern part of the town.

Amherst is bordered on the north by Tonawanda Creek and Niagara County. Ellicott Creek flows through the town.

Adjacent cities and towns[edit]

Major highways[edit]


As of the census of 2010, there were 122,366 people, 48,894 households, and 29,840 families residing in the town. There were 51,179 housing units. The racial makeup of the town was 83.8% White, 5.7% African American, 0.2% Native American, 7.9% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.3% of the population.[12]

There were 48,894 households out of which 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.4% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.0% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 31.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.98.[12]

The median income for a household in the town was $55,427, and the median income for a family was $68,951. Males had a median income of $51,667 versus $32,030 for females. The per capita income for the town was $27,647. About 4.2% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.6% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.[12]

51.7% of residents (aged 25 and over) have obtained a Bachelor's degree or higher, including 26.7% with a Graduate or professional degree.[12][13]


Amherst is among the top ten American cities (with a population greater than 50,000) in average yearly snowfall.[14] Average high temperatures from May through October range from 60 to 81 degrees. Average high temperatures from November through March range from 31 to 47 degrees.[15]

Communities and locations[edit]

The Amherst Bee installed Amherst's first telephone line.[16]

Areas within Amherst are referred to by the former post office station names and are not legally incorporated. During the 1990s, many of these regional post offices were closed and consolidated into the central Amherst 14226 post office on Bailey Avenue, leaving only a Williamsville (14221) post office on Sheridan Drive, a Getzville (14068) post office on Millersport Highway, and an East Amherst (14051) post office on Transit Road. Mailing addresses to areas within the Town of Amherst are Amherst, East Amherst, Eggertsville, Getzville, Snyder, and Williamsville. These postal districts are still recognized by the post office and widely referred to by citizens.

Some of these mailing addresses overlap: some areas of Clarence directly east of Transit Road have Williamsville addresses, although for the purposes of taxes, schools and community resources, these people are residents of the Town of Clarence.

Communities and locations in the Town of Amherst[edit]

Left: The Lord Amherst who introduced germ-warfare to kill Native Americans, and for whom Amherst was named; Right:Lord Amherst Hotel

The areas listed below are governed by the Town of Amherst. The Village of Williamsville also has its own Mayor and board.

  • Audubon - A location in the center of the town situated around John James Audubon Parkway. The town police, courthouse, and main library are located here.
  • East Amherst (formerly Transit Station) – An unincorporated community or hamlet in the eastern part of the town, shared with the Town of Clarence. The East Amherst area is defined by the 14051 zip code with a post office located on Transit Road. Many of the houses were built between 1960 and 1980.
  • Eggertsville is a suburban community in the southwestern part of the town, bordering on Buffalo and centered around Eggert Road. The community is named after early postmaster Christian Eggert. Many of the houses in Eggertsville were built between 1900 and 1930.
  • Getzville - A location near the center of the town by Campbell Boulevard (Route 270) and Dodge Road. The name comes from early resident Joseph Getz. The Getzville post office is located on Millersport Highway in the 14068 zip code. Getzville was originally a stop on the Peanut Line railroad.
  • Great Baehre Swamp State Wetlands – A conservation area with trails for nature viewing.
  • North Bailey – A location near the junction of Bailey Avenue and Maple Road. The main post office for Amherst is located on North Bailey Avenue in the 14226 zip code.
  • Snyder (originally Snyderville after postmaster Michael Snyder) – A suburban community located between Eggertsville and the Village of Williamsville. The Snyder post office was formerly located at Main Street and Chateau Terrace and was closed in the 1990s. Snyder is served by the Snyder fire department. Daemen College is located on Main Street (NY Route 5).
  • Swormville - A hamlet in the eastern part of the town, shared with the Town of Clarence. Named for Adam Schworm, prominent landowner and businessman. Once also known as "Swormsville".
  • West Amherst - A location in the northwestern part of the town bordered by Niagara Falls Boulevard (US 62) to the west, Sweet Home Road to the east and Maple Road to the south. Principally the section of the town which comprises the ZIP code 14228. However, "West Amherst" is not an acceptable locality name per States Postal Service mailing regulations.
  • Williamsville - The incorporated Village of Williamsville is mostly within the incorporated Town of Amherst, located in the south-central part of the town. Business and residential addresses having ZIP code 14221 are often referred to as being in Williamsville. However, this zip code extends beyond the Village of Williamsville and includes a large portion of the Town of Amherst and to a lesser extent portions of the towns of Clarence and Lancaster.


There are four institutions of higher education located in Amherst. The North Campus of the University at Buffalo (housing all of the University programs apart from architecture, planning, nursing, dentistry, and medicine), Daemen College, and one of the three campuses of Erie Community College are located there. Bryant and Stratton offers two-year programs. Both Medaille College and Canisius College have satellite campus classrooms in Amherst.

Public schools[edit]

There are four separate public school districts within the town. The Williamsville Central School District is the largest and comprises the eastern half of the town along with portions of the Town of Clarence. The Williamsville Central school district is ranked #1 out of 97 public school systems in Western New York.[17] Williamsville high schools were awarded Silver rankings according to 2013 U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools, and rank among the top 2-3% out of over 21,000 high schools nationally.[18] A small portion of Amherst residents in the southeastern corner of the town are in the Clarence Central School District. The Amherst Central School District is the southwestern portion of the town with its core in the Eggertsville and Snyder areas. The Sweet Home Central School District is the northwestern portion of the town along with portions of the Town of Tonawanda with its core in West Amherst and Getzville.[19]

Cultural resources[edit]

Amherst Municipal Building
  • Amherst Museum is a historic house museum dedicated to preserving and communicating the history of the Town of Amherst. It is now known as the Buffalo-Niagara Heritage Village and regionalized its mission after the Amherst Town Board, led by Dr. Barry A. Weinstein, voted to privatize the facility.[20]
  • Amherst Saxophone Quartet is affiliated with the SUNY Buffalo Department of Music
  • Amherst Symphony, founded in 1946, is composed of volunteer amateur and professional musicians of all ages. It performs free concerts throughout the year at various locations.
  • Cabaret in the Square in Snyder offers musicals, concerts, plays and dinner-theater packages.
  • Central Station Dinner Theater in Williamsville
  • Katherine Cornell Theatre at the University of Buffalo Amherst campus seats 400 in the round and is used by speakers for educational programs and stage productions.
  • Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo (north branch - Benderson Family Building).
  • Islamic Society of Niagara Frontier in Getzville.[21]

Annual events[edit]

  • January/February – Winterfest, Glen Falls Park; family events, hayrides, petting zoo, hiking, snowshoeing, sledding.
  • April – Children's Easter Egg Hunt; Island Park, Village of Williamsville.
  • May through October – Farmers Markets: Every Saturday, Williamsville Water Mill; free children's activities, home grown fruits, vegetables, cheeses, baked goods, jams/jellies, organic meats, flowers, wine, etc. Christophers Garden Farmers' Market on Niagara Falls Boulevard; Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • May – Memorial Day Parade; Main Street, Williamsville.
  • June – Strawberry Festival; Island Park.
  • June – Annual Village Garden Walk; Village of Williamsville.
  • June – Village of Williamsville Youth Street Hockey Tournament.
  • July – Fourth of July Fireworks – at the SUNY Buffalo Amherst Campus.
  • July – Old Home Days – four-day festival at Island Park.
  • July – Glen Park Art Festival.
  • August – Savor the Flavor, food samplings from local restaurants – Island Park.
  • August – Scottish Festival featuring Highland games, dancers and entertainment – Amherst Museum.
  • September – Oktoberfest; 3 day festival in Village of Williamsville.
  • October – Children's Halloween Costume Contest/Parade; Main Street, Williamsville.
  • October – Halloween Trick or Treat at Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village; kids event trick or treating at historic buildings decorated for Halloween.
  • December – Holiday Tree Lighting; tree lighting, bonfire, caroling, santa, refreshments; Island Park.

Police Department[edit]

Amherst Police patrol car


In 1819, Timothy S. Hopkins was elected the first supervisor for the Town of Amherst. Hopkins appointed two Constables, Joseph Hershey and Palmer Cleveland. These two men patrolled the present boundaries of Amherst as well as portions of Cheektowaga. By 1883, the number of the Town Constables had been increased to five.

The Village of Williamsville was served by Town Constables until it was incorporated in 1850. Early records show that no Constables appeared on the election ballots until late in the 19th century. Then, when speeders became a problem in 1918, the Village Trustees hired two men, W. Carlton Baker and Jewett Hoffman, whose only duties were to arrest speeders.

In 1920, the Town and Village began the practice of hiring special police officers. In June of that year, Mr. Edwin Evans, a former State Trooper, was appointed in Williamsville. Charles Albert, Howard F. Voelpel and Hubert Daniels were appointed to the Town post. Eggertsville was set up as a police district in 1922, and Richard Maving was appointed to be the officer. He left after a few months and was replaced by Earl E. Speich.

In 1924, the Town of Amherst Police and the Village of Williamsville Police merged. Officer Speich was appointed to the Amherst Police and Mr. Maving was rehired. Then Town Supervisor, Mr. Wehrle, appointed Edwin Evans Chief of Police, a position he held until 1956. By 1938, the Department had grown to thirteen men.

After World War II, additional men were appointed in 1947. One of the men, Herbert E. Zimmerman, later replaced Mr. Evans as Chief of Police in 1956 and served as Chief of Police for 31 years. In 2006, the Police headquarters building was named after Chief Zimmerman.

In January 1989, John B. Askey was appointed Chief of Police and served in that capacity for 10 years. His goals included maintaining the community’s status as one of the safest in the nation and sustaining the police department’s reputation as one of the finest.

In 1999, John Moslow took over the office of Police Chief. Chief Moslow met with President George W. Bush in 2002 and was in office to see the Bike Path Rapist cases involving Altemio Sanchez finally come to a close after two decades of crime.

In 2007, John Askey Jr. became Chief, after Moslow retired. The department currently employs around 156 sworn officers, including a chief, assistant chief, seven captains and at least 20 lieutenants.

Crime in Amherst[edit]

Based on statistics reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Amherst has frequently been ranked as the Safest City in America (1996–1998, 2000–2003, 2010); many other years it ranks within the Top 5. The designation is based on crime statistics for the year in six categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and auto theft. In 2006, Amherst was ranked the second safest city in the United States, after Brick Township, New Jersey.[22] Most recently, it ranked 6th safest out of 400 cities in 2011.[23]

In 1990, Amherst was the location of the rape and murder of University at Buffalo (UB) Sophomore Linda Yalem. Yalem studied communications at UB and was training to run in the New York City Marathon when she was killed by Altemio Sanchez in Amherst while on a run on the Ellicott Creek Bike Path near UB.

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ " Fourteenth census of the United States, 1920, 1910, 1900" Department of Commerce and Labor. (1921), page 532. Retrieved 2013-02-16.
  2. ^ "Decade of change - population and housing trends" (PDF). Town of Amherst. 2003. p. 12. Retrieved February 17, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Amherst". Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "US Census Bureau 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Patrick, Klinck. "Census Results: Amherst Shows Modest Growth Since 2000". Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "CNN Money Best Places to Live 2012". Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "America's Promise Alliance 100 Best Communities for Young people". Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Town of Amherst website". Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "A Brief History of the Town of Amherst" (PDF). 
  10. ^ Claire L. Ross (November 2002). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Former Reformed Mennonite Church". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2009-07-17.  See also: "Accompanying four photos". 
  11. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  12. ^ a b c d "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder - 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  14. ^ Top 101 Snowiest Cities
  15. ^ "Weatherbase Weather Data". Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  16. ^ Grande, p. 39
  17. ^ Thomas, Scott. "2012 school district rankings for Western New York". Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  18. ^ "2013 US News and World Report Best High Schools". Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  19. ^ "Town of Amherst Schools and Education". Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  20. ^ Keaton, Depriest. "Museum’s autonomy to provide new beginning". Amherst Bee, 12.08.2010. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ City Crime Rankings by Population Group
  23. ^ "CQ Press City Crime Rankings: 2010-2011". Retrieved 17 December 2012. 

External links[edit]