Introduction to Amherst, New York

The town of Amherst is located in Erie County in the northwestern corner of New York State. It is a suburb of the city of Buffalo, which is situated about 10 miles to its southwest. Amherst is bisected by New York State Highway 5, which runs through the town. It is surrounded by several other highways, including Interstates I-90 and I-290; U.S. Route 62; and State Highways 33, 78, 240, and 277.

The first component of the town of Amherst was the village of Williamsville, which had its beginnings around the turn of the 18th century. Williamsville, which derived its name from one of its first settlers, Jonas Williams, was the area's first settlement because of its location on the main road to Buffalo and also because of its proximity to Ellicott Creek. The Creek was of great importance to early settlers because its waterfalls were utilized to power mills for sawing corn into cornmeal, wood into lumber, and wheat into flour. In 1818, the town of Amherst was officially created and was named for Sir Jeffrey Amherst, an English lord who was a former Commander-in-Chief of the British troops in America. The new town was made up of the village of Williamsville along with several small hamlets (including Snyderville, Eggertsville, Getzville, and Swormsville). The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 spurred more settlement and ushered in a period of growth for Amherst, which by mid-19th century had become a prosperous farming community. By the 1920s, farmland had already begun to be sold to make way for subdivisions and housing development. Today there are only a few farms left in Amherst, most of them in the northern section of the town near Tonawanda Creek. Rapid population growth in recent decades due to the town's proximity to Buffalo has resulted in more houses, highways, schools, shopping centers, and recreational facilities.

Attractions In and Around Amherst

The crown jewel of Amherst from a cultural and historic point of view is its museum. The Amherst Museum is dedicated to preserving and communicating the history of the town with exhibits depicting 19th-century life on the Niagara Frontier. Included are historic homes, churches, one-room schoolhouses and exhibits on local history, textiles, and the Erie Canal. In the category of performance arts, the town takes pride in the Amherst Symphony Orchestra. Dance aficionados can learn the history, etiquette, costuming and steps of a very specialized type of dancing from the Victorian Dance Society, which offers lessons in dances popular during the years 1837-1901, including the Spanish Dance, Waltz, Quadrille, Virginia Reel, and many others.

The town's proximity to the city of Buffalo affords visitors the opportunity to take in the attractions of that city as well. Some of the more notable places of interest in Buffalo include the following:

  • Albright-Knox Art Gallery: A world-class gallery featuring thousands of exhibits housed in a Greek Revival building with 18 dramatic marble columns on its facade.
  • Graycliff: A 1927 home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for his most generous patron, industrialist Darwin D. Martin, is set on a 70-foot cliff overlooking Lake Erie.
  • Buffalo Museum of Science: Features over a dozen interactive galleries.
  • Buffalo Zoological Gardens
  • Buffalo Transportation/Pierce-Arrow Museum
  • Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park
  • Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens
  • Buffalo Zoological Gardens
  • Buffalo Lighthouse

Buffalo is also an active sports town, boasting three major-league professional franchises. The Buffalo Bills are a longtime staple of the National Football League (NFL) and the Buffalo Sabres are a mainstay of the National Hockey League (NHL). Also in town are the Buffalo Bandits, a member of the National Lacrosse League (NLL). The city also has a professional minor league baseball team; the Buffalo Bisons. The Bisons, who play in the International League, are the Class-AAA affiliate of Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians.


Total Population 124,044
Male Share of the Population 47.9%
Female Share of the Population 52.1%
Senior Citizens 18.7%
Employed Population 16+ 59,350
Age of the Population 41


% of people married 48.3%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 53.4%
Median Earnings25+ $50,311
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $16,973
Median Earnings With High School Degree $29,802


Median Family Income $93,006
% Above Poverty Level 89.8%
% Below Poverty Level 10.2%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 19 minutes
% Working from Home 3.5%
% Walking and Biking to Work 3.5%
% Using Public Transportation 1.9%


People Living Alone 31.7%
Median Gross Rent $958
Median House Value $177,400


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 20.3%
US/American 0.2%
English 8.7%
Irish 17%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Amherst Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 9 miles NE of Buffalo, New York
County Erie
Metro Area Buffalo - Niagara Falls
Standard Zip Codes 14051, 14068, 14221, 14226, 14228
Company Zip Codes 14260, 14261
Phone Area Codes 716
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 43.
Longitude -78.76

Amherst Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 4.8 miles
Jan Temp 18 to 31 F
Apr Temp 36 to 54 F
Jul Temp 62 to 80 F
Oct Temp 43 to 59 F
Annual Precip 40.5 inches
Station LOCKPORT 3 S
Distance 10 miles
Jan Temp 17 to 32 F
Apr Temp 35 to 57 F
Jul Temp 61 to 82 F
Oct Temp 42 to 60 F
Annual Precip 37 inches
Distance 15.2 miles
Jan Temp 17 to 32 F
Apr Temp 36 to 55 F
Jul Temp 60 to 81 F
Oct Temp 41 to 60 F
Annual Precip 36.5 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Amherst, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Clarence (14221)

East Amherst (14051)

Eggertsville (14226)

Getzville (14068)

Snyder (14226)

Snyder Square (14226)

Swormville (14051)

West Amherst (14228)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Clarence Center 2,151 $127,941
Kenmore 15,271 $74,387

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Amherst Public Libraries

Amherst Public Library
Amherst, New York
(716) 688-4919
Library Web Site

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Serves 1,004 students.

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