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Amherst is a town in Erie Countymarker, New Yorkmarker. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 116,510. This represents an increase from the 1990 census figure of 111,711. The town is named for Jeffrey Amherst, a British Army officer of the colonial period who is famous for inventing biological warfare.

The largest and most populous suburb of Buffalo, New Yorkmarker, the Town of Amherst encompasses most of the Village of Williamsvillemarker and the hamlets of Eggertsville, Getzville, Snydermarker, Swormville, and East Amherstmarker. 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 State University of New York 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.


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 Clarencemarker. 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 Cheektowagamarker in 1839.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 53.5 square miles (138.6 km²), of which, 53.2 square miles (137.9 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.7 km²) of it (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 (Eggertsville, Snyder) and the Village of Williamsvillemarker 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 (US 62) bordering the Town of Tonawandamarker and the Town of Wheatfieldmarker, New Yorkmarker. 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 Creekmarker and Niagara Countymarker, New York. Ellicott Creek flows through the town.

Adjacent Cities & Towns

Major Highways in the Town of Amherst

  • U.S. Route 62, marks the west town line as Niagara Falls Blvd. as the route heads north, then as Sheridan Drive then Bailey Avenue heading south out of town.

  • New York State Route 324 (Sheridan Dr.), East-West Highway through the town from Niagara Falls Blvd. (US 62) to Transit Rd. (NY 78)


Amherst Municipal Building
As of the census of 2000, there were 116,510 people, 45,076 households, and 29,885 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,188.1 people per square mile (844.8/km²). There were 46,803 housing units at an average density of 879.0/sq mi (339.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 89.28% White, 3.90% African American, 0.13% Native American, 5.22% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.37% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.36% of the population.

There were 45,076 households out of which 29.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.6% were married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.2 males.

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.

47.4% of residents (aged 25 and over) have obtained a Bachelor's degree or higher, including 22.6% with a Graduate or professional degree.

As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 87.1% of Amherst's population; of which 84.9% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 5.3% of Amherst's population; of which 5.0% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indians made up 0.3% of the city's population; of which 0.0% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 7.6% of the city's population; of which 7.2% were non-Hispanic. Pacific Islander Americans made up less than 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 0.7% of the city's population. Individuals from two or more races made up 1.0% of the city's population; of which 0.9% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 1.8% of Amherst's population.


Amherst is among the top ten American cities (with a population greater than 50,000) in average yearly snowfall making the region a winter destination, particularly the ski slopes south of the region.

Communities and locations

The Amherst Bee installed Amherst's first telephone line.
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

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 Amherstmarker (formerly Transit Station) – An unincorporated community or hamlet in the eastern part of the town, shared with the Town of Clarencemarker. 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 1960-1980.
  • Eggertsvillemarker is a suburban community in the southwest part of the town, bordering on Buffalo centered around Eggert Road. The community is named after early postmaster Christian Eggert. Many of the houses in Eggertsville were built between 1900-1930.
  • Getzvillemarker - 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, located on Millersport Highway in the 14068 zip code, the Getzville Fire District, was originally a stop on the Peanut Line railroad.
  • Great Baehre Swamp State Wetlands – A conservation area with trails for nature viewing.
  • North Baileymarker – A location near the junction of Bailey Avenue and Maple Road. The main post office for Amherst is located in North Bailey in the 14226 zip code.
  • Snydermarker (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 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).
  • Swormvillemarker - 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, it should be noted that "West Amherst" is not an acceptable locality name per States Postal Service mailing regulations.
  • Williamsvillemarker - 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, it should be noted that 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 Clarencemarker and Lancastermarker.


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 Collegemarker have satellite campus classrooms in Amherst.

Public schools

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 Clarencemarker. A small portion of Amherst residents in the southeast corner of the town are in the Clarence Central School District. The Amherst Central School Districtmarker 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 Tonawandamarker with its core in West Amherst and Getzville.

Cultural Resources

  • Amherst Museum is a historic house museum dedicated to preserving and communicating the history of the Town of Amherst. The Museum is an official department of the Town of Amherst.
  • Amherst Saxophone Quartet is affiliated with the SUNY Buffalo Department of Music
  • Amherst Symphony, founded in 1946. Volunteer amateur and professional musicians of all ages; 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.

Annual events

  • July – Fourth of July Fireworks – at the SUNY Buffalo Amherst Campus
  • July – Old Home Days – four-day festival at Island Park
  • August – Savor the Flavor, food samplings from local restaurants – Island Park
  • August – Scottish Festival featuring Highland games, dancers and entertainment – Amherst Museum
  • September – Harvest Festival and Craft Show – Amherst Museum

Police Department

Amherst Police patrol car
In 1819, Timothy S. Hopkins was elected the first supervisor for the Town of Amherst. He 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 wasincorporated 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 inWilliamsville. 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 Bath Rapist cases finally come to a close, after a two decade crime spree.

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

Based on statistics reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigationmarker, Amherst has frequently been ranked as the Safest City in America (1996-1998, 2000-2003); 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 Townshipmarker, New Jerseymarker. In 2008, it dropped to 7th place.

Notable Residents



External links

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