18 Mile Creek NY History

About 18 Mile Creek of New York

As most people in this area know, Eighteen-Mile Creek, which flows into Lake Ontario at Olcott, received its name from the fact that is approximately 18 miles from where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario. In the 18th century, many of these waterways were identified by how far they were from the Niagara River or Fort Niagara (Four-Mile Creek, Twelve-Mile Creek, etc.).

Occasionally, you will find these numbered creeks labeled on early maps with an actual name. This is the case with Eighteen-Mile Creek, but before disclosing a name it was given in the early 19th century, we have to go back even further to the time when this area was occupied by indigenous people.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, there was still extant evidence that the creek had been used by several native nations for hundreds of years. Though there is no certainty, 19th century New York State anthropologist Lewis H. Morgan wrote that the aboriginal name for the creek was “Date-ge-a’-de-ha-na-geh,” meaning “two creeks, near together.” Whether this referred to the fact that Eighteen Mile Creek splits into two branches just west of what is now Wrights Corners, or it refers to one of the other creeks near Eighteen-Mile (Hopkins, Honeoye or Keg), is unclear.


The first European contact in the area around the creek was by French soldiers from Fort Niagara. They established a small outpost there to keep an eye on British movement on Lake Ontario during the French and Indian War. There is a rumor that when an English ship was spotted on the lake heading toward the fort, the French soldiers quickly abandoned their post but not before burying valuables inside a cannon barrel on the shore of the creek. The cannon has never been found.

In the early 19th century, after the Holland Land Company had acquired more than 3 million acres in western New York, the creek was sometimes called Willink’s. A map made as late as 1830 uses that name. Wilhelm Willink was one of the Dutch investors in the Holland Land Company who hoped to profit from the sale of land here. A town named for him was once part of Niagara County, from 1808 to 1821, when Erie County was split off. It was later developed into several towns in the southern part of Erie County and his name all but disappeared except for a short street in West Seneca.

After the land became available for settlement, William Chambers and John Brewer came to Eighteen-Mile Creek in 1807. The following year, Burgoyne Kemp and Peter Hopkins arrived at the creek and James Van Horn came in 1810. The settlement clustered at the mouth of the creek soon became known as “Kempville” and further downstream was “Van Horn’s Mills” (now Burt).

In 1811, the United States Army built a road along Lake Ontario east from Fort Niagara to Eighteen-Mile Creek to facilitate the transport of grain to the grist mill at Van Horn’s Mills. Another crude road ran south along the east side of the creek to meet the Ridge Road at what is now Wrights Corners.

By the time of the War of 1812, both names were being used to identify the creek. On the morning of December 19th, British soldiers and their Native allies captured Fort Niagara and sent a detachment of soldiers east on the road along Lake Ontario with the ultimate goal of burning Van Horn’s Mill to deprive the settlers (and any U.S. soldiers) the means to make flour.

As they marched east, the soldiers burned log cabins in what is now Porter, Wilson and Newfane. When they arrived in Kempville on Christmas Day, they turned south and headed for the mill. Before arriving there, however, they encountered the log home of the Joseph Pease family. Mr. Pease had left to help defend the frontier and Mrs. Pease was left to defend their home. When the British arrived, she begged them not to destroy her home but they only allowed her to remove some personal possessions. She then mentioned the barrels of brandy that were still in the house. The soldiers very dutifully removed the barrels and began to help themselves to the contents. After a while they forgot about burning Mrs. Pease’s house and even released her teenage son whom they had taken prisoner. They further allowed the son to remove several barrels of processed flour from the gristmill before they torched it.

With the war ending in 1815, most of the former settlers returned along with many new ones. Eighteen-Mile Creek sprang to life again with numerous mills and businesses using its water for power and transportation.

Fishing On 18 Mile Creek

You will find plenty of spots on this creek that are great for steelhead fishing. The spawning runs attract plenty of anglers and you can find access in several areas. The best and easiest access is from Eighteen Mile Creek County Park, where there is a catch and release area with artificial lures only regulations. 

There is a gorge running along the creek and the parking lot found on South Creek Road allows anglers to access hiking trails that run for about five miles, as well as the creek itself for fishing. As part of a new project, the upper section of the creek near the headwaters is no longer fishable.

The country purchased the forested parcel at the headwaters, and they have been developing it into a habitat and nature preserve, dedicated namely to fish and wildlife, as well as drinking water improvement. There is an area of over 1,000 acres near the headwaters that are protected and are only accessible for passive recreation. 

The rest of the creek offers fairly good access throughout, including where it runs through Evans before it gets to the mouth of Lake Erie. You can walk most of it without much difficulty, but some areas can get a little tricky in spots.

18 Mile Creek Park

Eighteen Mile Creek Park is a 466-acre undeveloped park, that is defined by the two branches of Eighteen Mile Creek; the North Branch and South Branch. While the park’s landscape character is dramatically marked by a 60′ deep gorge cut by Eighteen Mile Creek, most of the park’s land above the gorge and between the two branches of the creek is very flat. The park is generally tree-covered, with former farmlands reverting back to woodlands. Here is a link to the 18 mile Creek Park Information Website


Wedding Venue: The Legacy On 18 Mile Creek

Nestled In the Hamburg region of Buffalo, NY, The Legacy on 18 Creek is the newest addition to the thriving wedding venue community. Finding a location for your wedding in the region has been a challenge for many new couples looking to plan the perfect wedding. We saw a need and scoped out the perfect location for our project, a fully functional barn style wedding venue that would provide an elegant, yet affordable option for newly engaged couples! 

If you are looking for a venue to bring in all your personal touches and vision to have the wedding you always dreamed of then The Legacy on 18 Mile Creek is your place! You can take your many ideas and details you have pinned and include them in your special day. With the custom designed ceremony site, the brand new reception venue and gorgeous landscape, you will have many post-worthy photos. We are not only unique but affordable and located right outside the Village of Hamburg, just a short drive from downtown Buffalo, close proximity to hotels, shops and restaurants. Check Out the Village Of Hamburg New York Town Site

The Legacy was designed to give you an intimate feel with modern amenities and great proximity to a variety of hotels, restaurants and activities. Some Features and Amenities that you will love about the Legacy are; a climate controlled building for any type of Western New York weather, tables and chairs for a reception up to 180 guests, and multiple ceremony locations to choose from on the grounds. Plus, use of Bridal and Groom suites, Access to Décor Den for inspiration or to incorporate in your big day, Numerous dedicated photo spots that will give you post worthy photos, and the option to choose the vendors of your choice to fit your taste and bud

How do I reserve a date?
We hope that you are able to come visit us in person or a virtual tour and a date can be reserved at that time. (tours are not required). At a later date all you need to do is email us at legacy18weddings@gmail.com telling us the exact date you wish to book. Dates are reserved on a first requested basis. After that a team member will contact you to share the rental agreement and take a reservation fee. Check Out Our Reservation Page.
When are payments due?
Once you have signed a rental agreement, the reservation fee ($2500) is due in order to continue holding the date. Twelve months prior to the event a portion of the balance is due and the final payment is due 30 days before the event. If you are the payment plan couple, feel free to send smaller amounts on your own schedule. Full payment is due by the specified date in the contract. Check Out Our Pricing Page
Does The Legacy provide a “Day of” Coordinator service?
Members of our team will be on site for the duration of your rental to maintain the facility and grounds and answer questions you may have. They will meet the vendors and direct them to where they need to go. If you are looking for someone to be more involved, we can refer you to a few that we are familiar with if you would like!
  Bridgette Prno Owner
  January 8, 2023

Contact The Legacy On Eighteen Mile Creek