This week’s speakers were Debra Hall-Stonish and Brad Hahn from Explore Buffalo, an organization that provides docent led tours (  The docents are highly trained and experienced.  Tour programs include:  Walking Tours (i.e. downtown architecture – focusing on national architects); Buffalo Classics focusing on local architects; Silo City Vertical and Grounded; Down by the River; Gilded Age Series (Buffalo Mansions); Crime in the Queen City / School Tours / Custom Group Tours / and, Behind-the-Scenes Tours.   Through tours and events, they promote the incredible assets found in Buffalo.


Debra Hall-Stonish is currently CFO for The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur after spending many years in banking including M&T Bank.  She is one of the instrumental people who formed Explore Buffalo and is the current Treasurer.  An active alumna of Mount Saint Mary Academy, she has a passion for the history, culture and architecture of Buffalo.


Brad Hahn, Executive Director of Explore Buffalo, is a graduate of Williamsville South HS and the SUNY-AB, with a triple major in political science, English, and geography.  He is actively involved with numerous community organizations, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Friends of the Night People, and the VFW.


Highlights of their presentation included:

·        Several fun facts about Buffalo’s history:

o   Grover Cleveland married Frances Folsom, a Buffalo native who, at the age of 21, is the youngest First Lady in history.

o   Grover Cleveland was 27 years older than his wife.

o   The greatest population that Buffalo has had was 580,000.

o   The Knox fortune is from FW Woolworth

·        Explore Buffalo holds many kinds of tours and collaborates with other organizations:

o   Downtown and neighborhood tours

o   Bus, boat, and bicycle tours

o   Step-on guides for private bus tours

o   Custom tours for schools, clubs, and other groups

·        The organization also holds regularly scheduled speaker series.