In 1868, when Olmsted, Vaux & Co. was invited to design a park for Buffalo, the firm envisioned a system of parks connected by “park ways,” 200-foot-wide thoroughfares designed for “pleasure travel,” allowing passage across the city without having to leave park-like environs. Olmsted and Vaux greatly admired Joseph Ellicott’s 1804 plan for Buffalo, which featured strong radial axes inspired by Pierre L’Enfant’s design for Washington, D.C., and sought to seamlessly extend those thoroughfares in their network of parkways. Lincoln, Bidwell, and Chapin Parkways, known collectively as the West Side park approaches, formed a grand entrance to Delaware Park in the shape of an inverted “Y”, with Chapin and Bidwell being the angled branches moving diagonally across the street grid.
Comprising an area of 10.7 acres, Bidwell Parkway runs 2,323 feet northwest through the Elmwood Historic District, from Colonial Circle (originally Bidwell Place) to Soldiers Circle (originally Soldiers Place). Named for the Buffalo-born Civil War general Daniel Bidwell, the parkway consists of two roadbeds separated by an approximately 100-foot-wide grass median dotted with four rows of equidistantly planted elm trees selected for their disease resistance which replaced original plantings. Several sculptures and memorials are installed along the boulevard, including an equestrian statue of Daniel Bidwell, a bronze sculpture, Birds of Flight, by Larry Griffiths, and a stone memorial for World War I soldier John Boechat. The boulevard is lined by stately Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival homes set far back from the road. The parkway was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 as part of a multi-property nomination of Olmsted parks and parkways in Buffalo. In 2004 the maintenance and operation of the park system was ceded to the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.