Buffalo, especially during Halloween, is full of ghost tours, hiking trails and amazing site stories. Our city even entered the Discovery Canal for our horrible buildings.
But, what you don’t know is this Washington Irving The tale of the sleepy emptiness has a Buffalo connection.
The literary Ichabad crane – the lame and horrible schoolteacher who confronts him as a title rider – is in fact quite different from the real Ichabad crane. The real life of Crane Ichabad, according to The Prime Minister of the United States, was a 48-year-old U.S. Army Corps officer.
The Prime Minister of the United States shows that Irving loved unusual names and was inspired to use the name Crane Ichabad after meeting a soldier in the War of 1812. During the war, Irving served as an assistant to New York Governor Camp Daniel Tompkins and assisted Tompkins in investigating state defense, including an artillery battery at Fort Pike, which Crane built and presided over.
Decades later, in 1840, Crane made his first appearance in Buffalo history. according to Publications of the Historical Society of Buffalo, Volume VIII, Colonel Ichabod Crane commanded eight 2nd Artillery Corps in Buffalo, defending the city during the Patriot War, a Canadian-US border conflict, where raids against British Canadian forces took place in December 1837 and December 1838, respectively. New York Almanac.
During this time, the Crane was stationed at the present site of the Wilcox Channel / Theodore Roosevelt, located in Delaware Ave., noted Cynthia Van Ness, director of the library and archives of the Buffalo History Museum.
So next time you read The tale of the sleepy emptiness, or even walk down Delaware Avenue, you’ll remember that this legendary folk character was inspired by a guy who…. if you believe in ghosts … maybe you can still walk the streets of Buffalo and get rid of his worst enemy, Savora Sardargum.