Williamsville, New York is the perfect vacation destination for history buffs of all ages. The historical village is located in the town of Amherst and is part of the Buffalo - Niagara Falls Metropolitan Area. Jonas Williams established the first mill there back in the early 1800s and the village was named for him. During the War of 1812, Williamsville was the base for American soldiers and British prisoners of war. One of the main attractions in the area is Glen Falls, an 8-meter (27-foot) high waterfall which was used to power the old mills that were originally built there.
If you are looking for things to do in Williamsville, why not check out these historical sites.
1. Williamsville Water Mill Complex
The complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. In the beginning, it was built solely as a sawmill in 1801. By 1903 the Watermill Complex had grown to include the Water-Lime works and Williamsville Cement Company. After 1908 the mills sole production was apple cider. The structure is one of the few early industrial buildings still standing. Today the complex is home to the Williamsville Farmers Market.
Williamsville Water Mill Complex
Address: 56 Spring Street, 14221 Williamsville, NY
Phone Number: (716) 984-6572
Hours of Operation: The complex is open to explore daily
Ticket Prices: No charge
2. Williamsville South High School
The original high school has an interesting history. The red brick structure began as the Williamsville Classical Institute, a private school for children in 1853. The “Academy,” as it was known, closed its doors in 1869 and was later reopened as an elementary school.
In the early 1920s, the original schoolhouse was demolished and a larger structure built in its place. Now the building is known as the Williamsville South High School and is a popular historical attraction. Even though the school is registered as a historical site, it still functions as a working school for students. During school hours, touring the inside of the building is not permitted.
Williamsville South High School
Address: 5950 Main St, Williamsville, New York
Phone Number: (716) 626-8000
Website: Williamsville South High School
3. St. Mary of the Angels Motherhouse
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Folks who love old, Gothic style architecture should be sure to pay a visit to St. Mary of the Angels. The convent was built in 1924 from soft, buff colored bricks and includes stone trim on the windows and doors. Located in the Amherst State Park, the complex is just a short drive from Williamsville. Take a peaceful stroll along one of the radial walkways and enjoy the beauty of the grotto or gardens.
St. Mary of the Angels Motherhouse
Address: 390 Mill St, 14221 Buffalo, NY
Hours of Operation: Open daily until 10 p.m.
Ticket Prices: No charge
Website: St. Mary of the Angels Motherhouse
4. Village Meeting House
One of the focal points of Williamsville is the Meeting House. Originally built by the Disciples of Christ in 1871 the church included many improvements of the “time” like the baptistery set into an elevated stage. The church was disbanded in 1976 and the building was sold to the village for the low price of 1 USD. The Williamsville Historical Society has renovated much of the structure and converted the church into a museum and meeting hall.
Village Meeting House
Address: 5565 Main Street, 14221 Williamsville, NY
Phone Number: (716) 632-4120
Website: Village Meeting House
5. Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site
Just a short drive from Williamsville you can visit the Ansley Wilcox House where President Theodore Roosevelt gave his inaugural speech. Throughout the course of history, this site has seen many changes. What began as an army barracks became a private residence, a major landmark in history marking the beginning of President Roosevelt’s time in office, then it was converted into a restaurant and is now one of the National Park Service sites. The house is now a museum where you can see collections from the original owners and Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt.
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site
Address: 641 Delaware Ave, 14202 Buffalo, NY
Phone Number: (716) 884-0095
Hours of Operation: Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.
Ticket Prices: 10 USD (Adults), 7 USD (Seniors), 5 USD (Children, ages 6-18) and free-of-charge (Children, ages 5 and under)
Website: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site
6. Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Soak up the rich history of the area with a trip to the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village. The 14-hectare (35-acre) open-air museum is dedicated to teaching the folks of today the culture of yesterday. See how the early settlers lived when you stop by the Historic Village that features homes, a schoolhouse, church and working Blacksmith from the 1800s.
Also located on the grounds is the Community Art Gallery showcasing the talents of local artists. Throughout your visit, you will be greeted and entertained by folks dressed like the settlers of days gone by. The Heritage Village is also the home of local cultural events like German and Scotland days serving up food, music, and handicrafts from the early 19th century.
Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village
Address: 3755 Tonawanda Creek Road, 14228 Amherst, NY
Phone Number: (716) 689-1440
Hours of Operation: Wednesday & Friday, 9:30am - 4:30pm, Thursday, 9:30am - 8:00pm & Saturday, 12:00pm- 4:30pm
Ticket Prices: 8 USD (Adults) and 6 USD (Children, Seniors & Military)
Website: Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village
Williamsville has a rich history
The village of Williamsville has a long, rich history dating back to before the American Revolution. The village started as a community of millers and went on to attract various Christian centered congregations. The village has 11 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. From industrial buildings to old churches history lovers of any age will enjoy their time spent visiting this quaint village.
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