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eggertroad

Eggert Road

Eggert Road is one of the longer streets we’ve talked about here.  Eggert is a 6.5-mile, north-south route that runs through four municipalities – Cheektowaga, Buffalo, Amherst, and Tonawanda! The street is named for the first Postmaster of Eggertsville, Christian Eggert.  Eggertsville was also named for Mr. Eggert.  Eggertsville is one of five hamlets in the Town of Amherst. In New York, a hamlet is an unincorporated settlement within a town. A hamlet has no local government or official boundaries. Eggertsville centers around the corner of Main Street and Eggert Road. The western edge of Eggertsville is the City of Buffalo line, but the eastern border is often disputed. Adjacent to Eggertsville, the hamlet of Snyder centers around the corner of Main and Harlem Road. People differ in their opinions of where Eggertsville ends and Snyder begins. Eggertsville and Snyder are often thought of as one unit, such as in the Eggertsville-Snyder Public Library. The Town of Amherst has an Eggertsville Action Plan which uses the following boundary: west to Niagara Fall Boulevard, south to Kenmore Avenue/Main Street, Getzville Road to the east, and Sheridan Drive to the north.

eggertsville

Approximate boundary of Eggertsville

The Eggertsville area was first settled by property owners with large tracts of land. The first building in what became Eggertsville was a general store built on the northeast corner by Abraham Miller in 1811.  Mr. Miller lived behind the store. His property extended north along what became Eggert Road, where he set aside a cemetery to be used by the community. The first burial there was a child named Elizabeth Grobin.  Abraham was buried there in 1845. The cemetery was used until at least 1873. Mr. Miller’s property and the cemetery are now St. Benedicts Roman Catholic Church and School.  A hotel was built at the corner of Main and Eggert in 1816.

The first church in what became Eggertsville, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church was incorporated in 1827 and was granted its present site in 1829 by the Holland Land Company.  St. Paul’s is the oldest Lutheran Church in Erie County.  The church was first called the German Reformed Church. The congregation was established by Reverend Meyerhoffer, an ex-chaplain of the German Army who gathered together German-speaking residents of Buffalo, Black Rock, and Amherst from Alsace Loraine.  The original church on the site was built in 1833 and a new church was built in 1874.  Unfortunately, the church was destroyed by a fire in 1879. The church was rebuilt and dedicated in 1880. (Note from Angela: this is the church I grew up attending – Hi St. Paul’s friends!)

eggert

Christian Eggert III.  Source:  Town of Amherst

Christian Eggert was born in April 1795 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Mr. Eggert was actually Christian Eggert III. His grandfather, Christian Eggert, had come to Pennsylvania from Uckermark, Germany in 1742. Christian III moved from PA to Western New York in 1831, going into business with Hugh Cathcart as “Cathcart & Eggert”. Cathcart & Eggert owned an Iron Foundry and Plough Factory in Williamsville which built ploughs, cast iron turnpike scrapers, sleigh-shoes, wagon boxes, wagon axles, stoves and other cast iron materials.  The partnership was ended in 1832, with Christian Eggert continuing the company himself.  Mr. Eggert also worked as a land surveyor and surveyed many properties across Western New York.

Christian III married Anna Hershey in March 1818. They had ten children. Benjamin, Aaron, Jacob, Melvina, Oliver, Christian, Ann Marie, Esther, Andrew, and Anna. The first six children were born in Pennsylvania. The others were born in Amherst.

In 1836, The Buffalo and Williamsville Macadam Company was incorporated by Christian Eggert, John Hutchinson, and the Hopkins Family. The company operated a paved toll road. Macadam is a form of pavement invented by John McAdam in Scotland in the 18th century. The Buffalo & Williamsville Macadam toll road went from Buffalo to Williamsville along what is now Main Street and opened in 1837. At Humboldt Parkway in Buffalo and at Getzville Road in Amherst, there were toll gates. Everyone who traveled along the road had to pay the toll, including rates for vehicles and bicycles. In addition, farmers taking livestock to market were charged on a per-head basis. The toll gates operated until 1899.

On the southeast corner of Main and Eggert, Christian Eggert built a house in 1832. Mr. Eggert set up the first post office in this house in 1855. At the time, Post Offices moved around based on who Postmaster was, so they were often located in residences and business places. In 1861, when Michael Snyder became Post Master, residents of Eggertsville were angry since this moved the Post Office a mile to the east to Main & Harlem. Since several roads converged at Eggertsville, more business happened at Main & Eggert than at Main & Harlem. They also would have to pass the Toll Gate, which had a charge each way of 5 cents for a single wagon and 8 cents for a double wagon (between $1.50 and $2.56 today). There were 200 residents impacted by this change instead of 40 who were not affected. About 140 residents of Eggertsville banded together to write to Washington to have the old post office reinstated. The Post Office was back in Eggertsville beginning in 1867 when Christian Eggert was reappointed as Postmaster.  Residents of Snyder got their own Snyder Post Office in 1882, with Michael Snyder as Postmaster.

The Eggertsville Post Office was discontinued in 1905, and postal service was transferred to Williamsville.  The Eggertsville Post Office was reestablished in 1914, and discontinued in 1930 when it was absorbed by the Buffalo Post Office.

Christian Eggert III died in August 1879 at the age of 84. He is buried in the Williamsville Cemetery on Main Street in the Village of Williamsville.  Son Christian M. Eggert was one of the first Postmasters of the Tonawanda Post Office.  Son Aaron Eggert was the first lawyer in the town of Amherst establishing a law office in 1868.  Son Oliver Eggert was Sheriff of Erie County from 1865-67.

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Eggertsville House, circa 1875. Source: A History of the Town of Amherst

In 1859, the Eggert’s house was converted into a tavern by Nicholas Chassin. The Chassin family had a 15-acre plot extending south along Eggert Road. Eggertsville residents will recognize the Chassin name as there is a street named after him, Chassin Avenue, running parallel to Eggert through what was the Chassin property. Many of the settlers in the area at the time were of French origin. When new French immigrants arrived in Buffalo with little to no money, they were told to go out to see Nicholas Chassin. He would take them in, feed them and let them live with him until they found work. The Eggerstville House was demolished in 1960.

At the bend in Main Street, between Ivyhurst and Koster Row, was a little brick church, behind which was a cemetery. In 1866, it was designated as “The Free Church” and in 1880 as “The Union Church .”The church was a small, red brick building with a Pennsylvania Dutch fence and gateway. As members of the congregation passed away or moved, the church was abandoned and demolished. The cemetery was deeded in May 1849. It was known as “The Resting Place” and was dedicated for all denominations.  Two of the Eggerts were buried in The Resting Place: Christian III’s son, Christian M Eggert, who died in 1861 at the age of 31 and Christian M. Eggert’s daughter (Christian III’s granddaughter), Isabell Eggert who died at 19 in 1873.

eggertsville cemetery

Map showing the two Eggertsville Cemeteries – one behind St. Benedict’s Church and one located between Ivyhurst and Koster Row.

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Christian M. Eggert and daughter Isabell L. Eggert’s gravestone in Skinnersville Cemetery

In 1950, Henry Juette was looking to build a house on Main Street near Ivyhurst, having purchased the property from Erie County. The property along Main Street was the original church site. Residents of Eggertsville were up in arms as the development of the house would cut the cemetery property off from public access. The house would prevent those who did wish to visit the cemetery from maintaining their relative’s graves. The property had been purchased by John G. Sattler from the church. Mr. Sattler deeded the land to Erie County. Many of the older families had passed away or moved away, so the cemetery was not kept up. Many of those buried in the cemetery were the founders of Eggertsville, including the Frick Family. The Fricks were the first purchaser of land in Eggertsville from the Holland Land Company in 1817. Two of the Eggert children were buried here. The cemetery was abandoned in 1956, and those from this cemetery and the Eggert Road Cemetery (where St. Benedict’s is now) were moved to Skinnersville Road Cemetery in 1956.  Both Christian M. Eggert and Isabell Eggert’s bodies were moved at this time.  The original cemetery was developed with the existing residential subdivision.

crosbymansion

Crosby Mansion, Eggertsville. Source: Beautiful Homes of Buffalo.

In 1893, the Buffalo and Williamsville Railway opened, making Eggertsville more accessible. Large country estates, such as the William H. Crosby Estate, were developed for successful Buffalo businessmen. The Crosby Estate was 243 acres along Main Street, between Bailey Avenue and Eggert Road. William Crosby was a business tycoon.  He owned the Crosby Company, a metal works known for making bicycle frames, founded in 1896 at the corner of Pratt and Broadway.  Crosby Blvd in Eggertsville and Crosby Hall at UB are named for William Crosby.

eggertsville subdivisions

Some of the original subdivisions of Eggertsville – The Crosby Estate in Red, Pomeroy Park in Blue, High Park-Country Club in Green, Amherst Estates in Orange and Hollywood Subdivision in purple

In the early 1900s, these large estates began to be broken up for further residential development. Beginning around 1910, the Amherst Estates were developed by R.W. Goode and G. H. Sickles. They included the streets LeBrun Road, LeBrun Circle, and Keswick Road. They created 180 lots which ranged from one to five acres. The homes in the Amherst Estates were built as expensive homes in various styles for “people of means.”

In 1916, Chas S. Burkhardt developed the High Park-Country Club section adjacent to the Amherst Estates. The development’s name came from the Country Club at Main and Bailey. The Country Club became Grover Cleveland Park and Golf Course in 1926. High Park Boulevard was built and developed with what was considered a “high-class” neighborhood at the time. They restricted the development to single-family homes and required houses to all be setback at least 40 feet from the street and to cost at least $5,000 ($127,500 in 2022 dollars).

The Hollywood Subdivision was established in 1919, built out of John Sattler’s estate. This development includes Westfield, Ivyhurst and Dellwood Roads. While higher-end homes were built earlier, these houses catered to working-class residents looking for inexpensive modest dwellings.

The Crosby Estate was developed in 1926 as Cleveland Park Terrace.  The neighborhood was developed as a “Garden City” style of development. The development had 1300 home sites, 8 miles of streets, 16 miles of sewer and water, and gas, electric, and phone service.

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Pomeroy Mansion, Eggertsville. Source: Beautiful Homes of Buffalo.

Pomeroy Park was developed by J. C. Troidl beginning in 1929.  Pomeroy Park was established by Gurney, Overturf & Becker from Robert W. Pomeroy’s estate and advertised as “Buffalo’s finest subdivision.”  Robert Pomeroy was a prominent lawyer in Buffalo.  Pomeroy Park consists of the streets Elham Drive, Bradenham Place, Longleat Park, Audley End and Greenaway Road.  The development consisted of 59 lots and was restricted to “high-class” single family dwellings.  Advertisements of the time indicated that there were other restrictions in place to “assure purchasers of pleasing environments”….not sure what that meant at the time, but it could refer to restrictive covenants which limited people of color from owning homes in certain neighborhoods.

Like much of Western New York and the rest of the country, the growth of Eggertsville slowed during the Great Depression. The boom was replaced by a period of recession and stabilization. The area then began to grow again in the 1950s, when prosperity returned to America, with post-war suburbanization building out much of Eggertsville and Snyder, including sites like the former Hedstrom Estate.

The next time you drive down Eggert Road, think of Christian Eggert and the other early settlers of Eggertsville!  Want to learn about other streets? Check out the Street Index. Don’t forget to subscribe to the page to be notified when new posts are made. You can do so by entering your email address in the box on the upper right-hand side of the home page. You can also follow the blog on facebook. If you enjoy the blog, please be sure to share it with your friends.

Sources:

  • Young, Sue Miller.  A History of the Town of Amherst, 1818-1865.  Town of Amherst, 1965.
  • “Eggertsville Post Office.”  Buffalo Daily Courier.  August 17, 1861.
  • “Obituary – Christian Eggert.”  Buffalo Courier.  August 16, 1879.
  • Fess, Margaret.  “New House Isolating Cemetery Causes Furor”.  Buffalo Courier-Express.  August 20, 1950, p 22-A.
  • “The Amherst Estates.”  Buffalo Evening News.  May 7, 1910.  P53.
  • “Opening High Park”.  Buffalo Commercial.  March 19, 1915, p10.
  • Hubbell, Mark, editor.  Beautiful Homes of Buffalo.  Buffalo Truth Publishing Company, 1915.
  • Petri, Pitt.  The Postal History of Western New York.  copyright 1960, Buffalo NY.
lyth

Lyth Avenue on the left, Harwood Place on the right.

Today we are going to talk about two streets on the East Side. Lyth Avenue runs between Purdy Street and Jefferson Avenue in the Cold Spring neighborhood of Buffalo. Harwood Place runs a short distance off, across Jefferson Avenue, near Lyth Ave. Harwood Place is a dead-end street, though historically, it ran through to Lonsdale Road at times. The road was initially a driveway leading to the stables of the Lyth homes at Northland and Jefferson. The horses for the Lyth Tile Company were housed there. The street was deeded to the city around 1886. The family also built two houses and a place of business on the street.

john lyth 3John Lyth was born in Stockton-Upon-Tees in England in September 1820. Mary Ann Harwood Lyth was born in England in 1817. At age 13, Mr. Lyth learned the trade of earthenware manufacturer. John and Mary Ann were married in 1843. They had three children while living in England – Alfred, John, and Mary. They emigrated to Buffalo in 1850 and had two more children – William and Francis- born here in Buffalo.
In Buffalo, John Lyth worked for P.A. Balcom, a local brickmaker. He later worked with W. H. Glenny in the crockery business. In 1851, Mr. Lyth’s brother, Francis, invented and introduced the hollow tile arch in York, England. In 1857, Mr. Lyth purchased a plot of land nearly a half-mile square and began to manufacture farm drain-tile. In his first year, he only sold $50 worth of tile. Then, in 1864, he went into business with Mr. Balcom, a partnership that lasted for ten years. They manufactured salt-glazed, citrified sewer pipe and terra cotta goods. Their factory was located at 83 -163 Puffer Street (now Northland Avenue), between Purdy and Jefferson. Lyth Avenue was a driveway to the factory.

lyth works

Lyth Factory. Source: Buffaloah.com

The Lyth family were pioneer residents in the Northland section of the city. Northland Avenue at the time was known as Puffer Street. John Lyth chose the location for the factory because of the abundance of clay in the soil. This clay was the best type for making tiles. The Lyth factory was a landmark of the early neighborhood.

The Lyth home was located at 169 Puffer Street. The house was considered suburban when it was built. In later years, family members would say that they were so far out of town they couldn’t even get a doctor to come, except in gravest illnesses. The large house was surrounded by extensive lawns, gardens, and orchards. The family had a cow, chickens, and vegetable gardens to provide for the family. Mary Ann was devoted to her family. Twice, she refused to return to England on trips b/c she did not want to leave her children.

In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire happened. The demand in construction for fireproof hollow tile and bricks for construction leapt after the fire. In the 80s and 90s, the Lyth Tile Company was the largest of its kind in the country.

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Lyth Family Plot in Forest Lawn

The Lyth Family were members of the Unitarian Church. They were strong advocates of temperance. John Lyth was a member of the Royal Templars of Temperance, serving as Supreme Treasurer of the Order. John Lyth died at his home at 169 Puffer Street in 1889. He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Alfred Lyth was born in 1844. One of his earliest memories was traveling from New York to Buffalo along the Erie Canal when the family arrived here. In 1862, Alfred enlisted in the 100th Regiment, New York Volunteers. He served at Fort Sumter, Gloucester Point, the James River Expedition, and Drury’s Bluff. During his time in the regiment, he suffered from typhoid fever and was wounded in action three times. He was also captured by Confederates and held as a prisoner at Andersonville Prison for a year.  After the war, Alfred joined his father’s tile business with his brothers John and William. They formed the firm J. Lyth & Sons.

183 Northland Spree

183 Northland.  Source  Buffalo Spree.  

In 1872, the Lyth Mansion at 183 Puffer (now Northland) was built by Alfred Lyth. This house is sometimes listed as being lived in by John Lyth; however, city directory records show that John and Mary Ann lived at 169 Puffer. Son Albert and his wife Kate lived at 183 Puffer.

After his father’s death, Alfred headed the business. He also joined Company F of the 74th Regiment, National Guard, and attained the rank of Major. When the Grand Army of the Republic formed, Major Lyth became a prominent member. For 25 years, he attended every state and national GAR convention as a delegate. In 1897, when the GAR National Encampment was held in Buffalo, Major Lyth was Vice-Commander-In-Chief of the convention.

lyth tile angola

Postcard view of the Tile Works in Angola

In 1872, Major Lyth was Supervisor of the Seventh Ward, and in 1873, he was Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. In 1874, Lyth Avenue was opened and named in Major Lyth’s honor.  In the 1890s, the Lyth Tile Company plant moved to Angola, New York. By 1894, the former factory site was developed for residential purposes.

In 1897, residents of Puffer Street asked for the name to be changed to Northland Avenue. The residents felt that people were getting confused between Puffer Street and Tupper Street, and their mail was getting sent to Tupper Street. Picture the old-timey cursive handwritten envelopes, and it’s easy to imagine the confusion! The name change was granted by Common Council in May 1897 and signed by Mayor Jewett on May 23, 1897.

Alfred’s brother William Lyth inherited the house at 169 Northland after Mr. Lyth’s death. In her later years, mother Mary Ann lived with Alfred at 183 Northland. Sometime between 1916 and 1950, the house at 169 Northland was replaced with a retail store.

Major Alfred Lyth died in 1925 at age 81. Major Lyth’s son, Alfred Lyon Lyth, took over the business. Alfred Lyon had been involved in the industry from a young age. His father had insisted on teaching him all aspects of the company before he retired. Alfred Lyon had been known as the “champion quarterback of Western New York and was offered a scholarship to Syracuse University to play football. Times were hard, so his father convinced him to stay in Buffalo for one year to help with the business before entering college. Alfred Lyon became interested in the work and didn’t leave for college.

In 1922, Alfred Lyon Lyth opened Lyth Chevrolet at 1159 Jefferson Avenue, the first Chevrolet agency in Buffalo. He sold J. Lyth & Sons to Globe Plaster Company three years later. Alfred Lyon Lyth was elected as Erie County Supervisor for the 13th Ward in 1908, 1913 and 1927.

royster northland ave

Royster Family in front of 183 Northland Avenue, 1973.

Lyth Family members continued living at 183 Northland until the 1950s. From 1956 to 1958, Luke Easter lived in the house. Luke Easter was the first African American to play for the Buffalo Bisons in modern times. As a result, the house is often called “the Luke Easter House.” After Mr. Easter, the house was owned by Clifford Royster, who owned the house until 2002.  The house is within the Hamlin Park Historic District, established in the late 1990s.

Next time you drive by Lyth Ave or Harwood Place, think about the Lyth Family and remember a time when Northland was known as Puffer Street!  Want to learn about other streets? Check out the Street Index. Don’t forget to subscribe to the page to be notified when new posts are made. You can do so by entering your email address in the box on the upper right-hand side of the home page. You can also follow the blog on facebook. If you enjoy the blog, please be sure to share it with your friends.

PS.  I hope you are all having a lovely holiday season and have a very Happy New Year!

Sources:

  • Smith, H. Katherine.  “Harwood Place Memorial to Wife of Area Pioneer.” Buffalo Courier-Express.  December 21, 1941, p7.
  • “Mr. John Lyth”.  Buffalo Commercial.  April 28, 1889, p3.
  • “It is now Northland Avenue.”  Buffalo Courier.  May 23, 1897, p6.
  • “J. Lyh & Sons of Buffalo Coming Here.”  Evans Journal.  September 26, 1957, p4.
  • The Clay Worker, Volume 27-28.  National Brick Manufacturer’s Association of the United States of America:  T.A. Randall & Company, 1897.
  • Nyhuis, Philip.  “Finding Happiness in Hamlin Park.”  Buffalo Spree.  May 15, 2019.
  • Brady, Karen. “Bus Tour of City’s East Side Provides a Trip into the Past”. Buffalo News. August 17, 1992.
  • “Alfred Lyth Will Bequests Total $22,900.”  Buffalo Courier-Express.  May 15, 1953, p19.
  • Smith, Katherine.  Lyth Avenue Honors Family Which Headed First US Tile Plant”.  Buffalo Courier-Express.  September 24, 1939, pL2.

carltonCarlton Street runs from Main to Genesee Street in the Medical Campus and Fruit Belt neighborhoods of Buffalo.  Like many streets in this area, it was impacted by the construction of the Kensington Expressway (NYS Route 33), which separates Carlton Street into two, with its final two blocks of the 33, cut off from the rest of the street west of the 33.

Carlton Street is named for Ebenezer Carleton Sprague.  Ebenezer went by the nickname of Eben and was born in Bath, Grafton County, New Hampshire on November 26, 1822.  Eben Sprague was the Great Great Great Grandson of Frances Sprague, who sailed to Plymouth on the ship Anne, and was the First Secretary of the Plymouth Colony.  Eben Sprague came to Buffalo in 1825 with his parents Noah Sprague and Abiah Carleton.  Technically, you could say that Carlton Street was named for Eben’s mom and her family.  The name was spelled interchangeably as Carleton and Carlton, depending on the source.

Noah Sprague worked in the mercantile business in Buffalo and was well known around Early Buffalo.  He was elected County Clerk of Erie County in 1831 and 1840.  He was mostly identified with the lake business and had an office on the docks for many years.

EbenCarletonSpragueEben Sprague attended Phillips Exeter Academy and graduated from Harvard College in 1843.  After graduation, he studied law in the office of Millard Fillmore and Solomon G. Haven, two of the most distinguished lawyers of their day.  Mr. Sprague was admitted to the bar in October 1846.  He was a successful lawyer and was associated with both Millard Fillmore and his son, Millard Powers Fillmore.  Mr. Sprague founded the firm Moot, Sprague, Marcy and Gulick.  He was well respected among the legal community for nearly 50 years.

Mr. Sprague served as the lawyer for the International Railroad Company, the Great Western Railway of Canada, Grand Trunk and Lake Erie & Western Railroads as well as other railroad and manufacturing concerns.  His firm went by several names over the years.  He served as attorney for Erie County Savings Bank for more than 40 years, beginning in 1854.

235 Delaware

Sprague House at Delaware and Chippewa in center of photo. Source: Chippewa Street Development Report

In 1849, Eben Sprague married Elizabeth H. Williams.  They had eight children, but only four lived to adulthood – Henry Ware,  Carlton, Louise and Mary.  The Sprague Family lived in a cottage on High Street and then moved to a home on the northeast corner of Chippewa and Delaware.  The house at 235 Delaware Avenue was originally built by W. S. Gardner in 1836 for Alexander A. Eustaphieve.  The house was a three story, Federal-style brick structure.  The house had a basement kitchen, which was the older style of house popular in the early days of Buffalo, called an English basement house.  The house was demolished in 1930.  The site is currently Starbucks and Bocce’s Pizza.

The Sprague house was a center of culture.  Mr. Sprague studied languages – including French and German which he was fluent in, and Latin and Greek.  He enjoyed poetry, especially Shelley.  He always said if he hadn’t’ been a lawyer, he’d have been a writer.

Mr. Sprague served as President of the Young Men’s Association, which developed into the Buffalo Library; Vice President and Curator of Buffalo Academy of Fine Arts (the Albright Knox Art Gallery); a member of the Buffalo Natural Science Association, the Harvard Club and the Thursday Club.  He was also one of the founders of First Unitarian Church.  In 1890, he was made the third Chancellor of the University of Buffalo.

In 1876, he was nominated to fill a vacancy in the State Senate for a single session.  During his time in the Senate in 1877, he was a member of the Committee on Canals and helped reduce tolls on the Erie Canal.  He also was a member of the Judiciary Committee, and worked to better the new code of civil procedure, which included writing 600 amendments to the code!  His constituents wanted to nominated him the next year, but he declined.  He had no desire for other public positions.

In the 1880s, Mr. Sprague advised wealthy Buffalonians to share their riches, saying, “It was wealth without a conscience that sowed the seeds of the French Revolution and drove its possessors into exile and to the guillotine.”  He was a supporter of many charities, giving of his time, money and attention.  He served as a Secretary of the Buffalo Orphan Asylum and a Trustee of Children’s Aid and Charity Organization Society, and of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Mr. Sprague wrote a number of essays that he published.  In 1891, Mr. Sprague printed a book titled “Lessons from the Life of Benjamin Franklin” for the young people of Buffalo.  This book is an autobiography of Franklin’s that was edited by Mr. Sprague.  In Mr. Sprague’s introduction he wrote to the boy and girls, hoping they could learn from Franklin’s life and, “while they cannot all be Franklins, they can become respected and prosperous.”  He desired wide circulation of the book, so he sold it at cost.

sprague graveMr. Sprague died on February 14, 1895 at the age of 73.  He suffered fell into a coma while home reading to his wife by the fire.  He died the next day of kidney disease.  His grave says:  Jurisconsultus Insignis – Civis Fidelis Literis Perdoctus- Hominum Amator, which means “Distinguished Lawyer – A Loyal Citizen – Lover of Human Learning.  He left behind an estate valued at $50,000 in real estate and $150,000 in personal property ($1.6 Million and $4.9 Million in today’s dollars).  Eben left his law office to his son Henry, who continued the practice until his death.  The firm then continued under Eben’s grandson!

Want to learn about other streets? Check out the Street Index. Don’t forget to subscribe to the page to be notified when new posts are made. You can do so by entering your email address in the box on the upper right-hand side of the home page. You can also follow the blog on facebook. If you enjoy the blog, please be sure to share it with your friends.

Sources:

  • Smith, H. Katherine.  “Carlton Street Memorial to Outstanding Buffalo Lawyer.”  Buffalo Courier-Express.  April 20, 1941, p 7-3.
  • “E.C. Sprague Dead”.  Buffalo Enquirer.  February 14, 1895.  p1.
  • “Last Will of Late Eben Carlton Sprague”.  Buffalo Enquirer.  June 14, 1895.  p2.
  • “Loved and Mourned:  A Departed Bright Light of the Bar of Buffalo.”  Buffalo Courier.  February 16, 1895, p6.
  • “Mr. E.C. Sprague:  Sudden Death of One of City’s Most Prominent Lawyers at Noon.”  Buffalo Evening News.  February 15, 1895, p6.
  • Patterson, Roger.  “Chippewa Street Development Report.”  Prepared for the Dept of Community Development, Buffalo New York.  February 1980.
  • Franklin, Benjamin.  Lessons from the Life Of Benjamin Franklin.  Ebenezer Carlton Sprague, editor.  P. Paul & Bro Publishers:  Buffalo.  1891.

metcalfeMetcalfe Street runs between Clinton Street and William Street in the Seneca-Babcock neighborhood of the East Side. The street is near the former Buffalo Stockyards and is named for James Metcalfe, a meatpacker.

The Metcalfe family came to America from Yorkshire, England, before the Revolutionary War. James Harvey Metcalfe was born in Bath, New York, in August 1822. James moved to Ellicottville with his parents in the 1840s. James came to Buffalo at the age of 33 in 1855, after the death of his father and a daughter. His first job in Buffalo was as a hotel keeper, operating the Drover’s Home. The Drover’s Home was located on Elk Street, where the Lake Shore and Erie Railroads exchanged freight, at what was known as Elk Street Junction. A drover is someone who drives cattle or sheep. Mr. Metcalfe quickly learned that more money was to be made in livestock in Buffalo rather than the hotel industry. He became a partner in the meatpacking firm of Metcalfe & Cushing, one of the largest local meatpacking houses. He was simultaneously a partner in Metcalfe & Gibbs, meat distributors in New York City.  In 1863, The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad opened the East Buffalo Stock Yards.  Metcalfe & Cushing were in charge of the department of hogs.  The Stock Yards had capacity for up to 35,000 hogs at a time.

Mr. Metcalfe was a strong promoter of the Buffalo, New York & Philadelphia Railroad and served as a Director. He was the largest stockholder in First National Bank, located on the southeast corner of Main and Seneca Street. He served as President of the bank for many years, during which time the bank weathered several financial panics. Mr. Metcalfe was appointed as a parks commissioner in 1876 and contributed to the improvement of the Buffalo Parks System until his death.

158 swan_2

Metcalfe House on Swan Street. Source: New York State Office of Historic Preservation

James Metcalfe married Erzelia Frances Stetson in 1849, and they had six children – Frances, Kate, James Jr, George, Francis, and Guy. The first two daughters were born in Ellicottville. Unfortunately, Kate died as an infant and is buried in Jefferson Street Cemetery in Ellicottville. In Buffalo, the Metcalfes lived in a house on Swan Street, one door from Michigan Avenue. At the time, Swan Street was a fashionable neighborhood. The house was across the street from Benjamin Fitch’s dry good store, which later became the Fitch Creche – the country’s first daycare center. The Metcalfe’s house was listed as a Buffalo Landmark in 1979 but was demolished in 1992 after a wall collapsed.

aaron rumsey

House at 672 Delaware Avenue. Source: Buffaloah.com

Mr. Metcalfe was fond of animals and had a dozen fine horses. In 1871, they moved to Delaware Avenue into a house purchased from Aaron Rumsey at 672 Delaware Avenue. When the Metcalfes moved to Delaware Avenue, he also got a cow, who grazed on the grass outside his gardens. The family had a lot of pets – dogs, cats, a pony, several varieties of pigeons, a raccoon, and a bear cub!  The family noted that the bear cub was well behaved; his only incident was when a popcorn vendor came to the house – the bear stole some popcorn.

The family attended St. John’s Episcopal Church, located at Swan and Washington Streets and later Christ Church. The Metcalfe family often attended plays in box seats at the Academy of Music. The children would enthusiastically stand near the rail of the box seats, blocking their father’s view. Mr. Metcalfe was known for settling into his chair and taking a nap, letting the kids enjoy the show.

Many distinguished guests would visit the Metcalfe Home, including James Blaine. James Blaine was a politician from Maine who served as U.S. Congressman, Senator, and Secretary of State. Mr. Blaine is said to have liked Mr. Metcalfe’s sitting room design so much, he copied it when he designed his own mansion on Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.  The Blaine mansion is still standing today.

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Metcalfe Marker in Forest Lawn

Mr. Metcalfe retired from his position as President of First National Bank in June 1879 due to his ill health. Unfortunately, the youngest Metcalfe son, Guy, drowned at age 11 while playing on the canal bridge in August 1879. Mr. Metcalfe, already ill and now heartbroken over the loss of his son, died eight weeks later on October 5, 1879. Both James and his son are buried in the Metcalfe Plot in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

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Metcalfe House in 1895. Source:  Wikimedia

James Metcalfe’s son, James Jr., built a house at 125 North Street from the estate for himself and his mother, Erzelia. The house was built just around the corner from their former house at 672 Delaware on the same property Mr. Metcalfe had purchased from Aaron Rumsey in 1871. The Metcalfe House was commissioned by McKim, Mead, and White architectural firm in July 1882 and was completed in 1884. This was the first house the NYC-based firm designed in Buffalo. The house cost $23,464 to build($636,263 in today’s dollars). The 125 North Street house was described in 1926 as “a charming house that was the scene of many exclusive but brilliant little dinners, for Mrs. Metcalfe had the happy knack of assembling clever people together.” The house was smaller than the grand mansions of the previous generation, with lower ceilings. They required less heat, fewer furnishings, and fewer servants.

After the Metcalfes moved out, the 125 North Street house was occupied by E.R. Thomas and Edward M. Mills. The house was then leased to the Graduates Association and was used as a rooming house. By 1926, the house was “without a tenant and probably will pass, like so many others of its neighbors, into the discard, although it far too artistic a house to meet any such fate.”

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Former Butler Mansion, now Jacobs Executive Center. Source: UB

The former Metcalfe house at 672 Delaware was demolished in 1896 to build two homes for the Williams Brothers at Delaware and North – 672 Delaware for George Williams and 690 Delaware for Charles Williams. Like 125 North Street, these houses were also designed by McKim, Mead, and White. The house at 672 Delaware was the most expensive house of its time in the area, costing George Williams $171,877 (about $5.6 million today). The house was sold to Edward H. Butler, founder of the Buffalo News, in 1905. The Butler family lived in the home for 69 years.

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Metcalfe House on North Street. Pillars from the Butler Mansion can be seen on the right hand side of the photo.  Source: Library of Congress

Sportsystems Corp purchased the 672 Delaware Ave property and 125 North Street in 1979. Sportsystems became Delaware North due to the site’s location at the prominent corner of Delaware Avenue and North Street. The company insisted they could not move their headquarters into the Butler Mansion unless they created a 38 spot parking lot.  They planned to demolish the house to build the parking lot on the Metcalfe House site. The 672 Delaware mansion was meticulously rehabilitated by Delaware North to bring it back to its glory days. The Delaware North headquarters moved into the mansion in 1987.
Preservationists fought to save the Metcalfe House at 125 North, particularly Francis R. Kowsky, Professor of Fine Arts at Buffalo State. Professor Kowsky referred to the architecture of the building as the midway point between HH Richardson and Frank Lloyd Wright. In February 1980, 125 North Street was demolished. The parking lot was determined not to be needed and was removed a few years later.

Parts of the Metcalfe House were saved, and you can visit them today! First, the solid cherry dining room and library of 125 North Street were dismantled and stored in boxes. Then, in 1989, the pieces were reassembled on the first floor in Rockwell Hall at Buffalo State College. The Metcalfe Rooms serve as a reception area and conference room. The reconstruction of the rooms cost $220,000 and was financed by private donations, including Delaware North’s donation of $40,000.

Metcalf Room in Rockwell Hall at SUNY Buffalo State College.

Metcalf Room in Rockwell Hall at SUNY Buffalo State College.

Metcalf Room in Rockwell Hall at SUNY Buffalo State College.

Metcalf Room in Rockwell Hall at SUNY Buffalo State College.

Once it appeared that the preservation battle was lost, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City was also interested in taking the front portions of the interior. The Met received the entrance hall, central staircase, and parlor. The Stair Hall and Entrance were installed between 1990 and 1992 in the Museum’s American Wing. Guests enter through a former doorway and exit through the original colonial-style split (Dutch) door. The room features “a fashionable “inglenook” – a fireplace flanked by built-in benches – and a dramatic staircase with a half-story landing lit by leaded-glass windows.” The parlor has remained in storage.

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Entryway from the Metcalfe House at the Met. Source: Wikimedia

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Stairwell from the Metcalfe House at the Met. Source: Wikimedia

Many architects feel that the wrong house was demolished. The mansions at 690 Delaware and 672 Delaware were big repetitive style houses, whereas 125 North Street was unique and different. The property at 672 Delaware Avenue is currently owned by University at Buffalo. It is known as the Jacobs Executive Development Center. The site of the Metcalfe House is a part of the gardens associated with the Jacobs Center.  The demolition of the Metcalfe house organized the preservation movement in Buffalo. It led to the creation of the Preservation Coalition of Erie County (now a part of Preservation Buffalo Niagara).

So, next time you head down Metcalfe Street, think of the Metcalfe family’s houses that are no longer standing.  And the next time you pass the corner of Delaware and North, imagine someone playing outside with their bear cub!  Want to learn about other streets? Check out the Street Index. Don’t forget to subscribe to the page to be notified when new posts are made. You can do so by entering your email address in the box on the upper right-hand side of the home page. You can also follow the blog on facebook. If you enjoy the blog, please be sure to share it with your friends.

Sources:

  • Smith, H. Katherine. “Metcalfe Street Named for Bank Founder Who Also Built Up Parks.” Buffalo Courier-Express. January 7, 1940, pL5.
  • “The Duchess Strolls: Pomander Walk.” Buffalo Courier. June 5, 1926, p6.
    “First National Bank: Resignation of Mr. Metcalfe as President.” Buffalo Commercial Advertiser. June 9, 1879, p3.
  • “Obituary: Mr. James H. Metcalfe.” Buffalo Courier. October 6, 1879, p2.
  • Cardinale, Anthony. “Rising from the Rubble The Historic Metcalfe House was Razed Ten Years Ago, But Parts of It Can Be Revisited.” Buffalo News. December 24, 1989
  • Bosco, Jim. “At Home in the Office Eight Years and $6 Million Later, A Delaware Avenue Mansion Blossoms as Executive Offices.” Buffalo News. April 23, 1989.
  • Sommer, Mark. “Metcalfe house, preserved in part at Buffalo State, helped launch a movement.” Buffalo News. February 14, 2020.
  • Fairbanks, Phil. “Metcalfe House is a Long Way from Home Remains of Buffalo Landmark Will Go On Display in New York.” Buffalo News. July 7, 1991.
  • “Home of a Thousand Voices: Members of the Metcalfe Family in Ellicottville, New York.” Wisteria. June 29, 2017. http://wisteria-dawn.blogspot.com/ (online November 2021).
  • Larned, JN.  “A History of Buffalo:  Delineating the Evolution of the City.”  Empire State Company, 1911.
hutchinson ave

Hutchinson Avenue

Hutchinson Avenue is a street in the Lasalle Neighborhood of North Buffalo. The street runs between Midway Avenue near Bailey to Clarence Avenue. The street used to run through to Clyde Avenue into the Harrison Radiator Kensington Plant. At some point, the road was fenced off from the industrial site. It is named for Edward Howard Hutchinson.  The Hutchinson Family was an important family in Williamsville’s early history, as well as in Buffalo.  

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Old Village Hall on Main Street in Williamsville. The Hutchinson Homestead is the white house in the photo. Source: Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village

John Hutchinson, Edward’s grandfather, first arrived in Williamsville from Connecticut in 1815. He returned to Connecticut to marry Harriot Martin and brought his bride to Williamsville in 1818. John Hutchinson worked as a tanner and was the first chief of the Williamsville Fire Department, which started in 1835.  The group was known as “Rough and Ready Fire Engine Company No. 1.”   In memory of his grandfather, in 1907 Edward Hutchinson gave Williamsville the land on which the Village Hall and Fire Headquarters were built. To honor the family, in 1908 the Williamsville Hose Company changed its name to the Hutchinson Hose Company.  They are still in operation today, with two stations – one at 5565 Main Street and one at 5045 Sheridan Drive.  It is the oldest volunteer fire company in Erie County.  Edward Hutchinson also contributed $3,000 ($90,000 in 2021 dollars) towards the building of the Village Hall and firehouse.  Village Hall also contained the Town of Amherst Offices.  The building was built with limestone quarried from the Young’s quarry, located at what is now the Country Club of Buffalo.  In 1964, the Village and Town separated their offices and Amherst Town Hall was built on the site of Old Village Hall.  Williamsville Village offices moved into a building that had been used by Amherst Police Department.  

John Hutchinson’s son, John Martin Hutchinson, was born in Williamsville on March 7, 1820. Like his father, John M. worked in the leather business. He opened a leather store on Lower Main Street where he sold the pelts tanned by his father. His business grew, and he had two stores. John M. Hutchinson married Eunice Alzina Howard in January 1851. Rufus Howard, who Howard Street is named for, was the brother of Eunice.

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Daguerreotype of Edward H. Hutchinson at age 3. Source: The Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.The Daguerrotype was donated by grandson, along with Edward’s trousers and shoes.

Edward Howard Hutchinson was born on March 7, 1852 in Buffalo. His mother died when Edward was just 5 days old. After her death, John and Edward moved from their home at Ellicott and North Divison Streets to the home of Eunice’s sister, Sally. Sally was married to James D. Sheppard (sometimes spelled Shepherd). The Sheppards lived at 175 West Chippewa Street.  James Sheppard had built the house in 1844.  Mr. Sheppard was often referred to as the “Father of Music in Buffalo”, arriving in Buffalo in 1827.  He used to play the piano for the crowds at the old Eagle Tavern on Main Street.  He established the pioneer music store of the Lower Great Lakes region.  He later formed the firm of Sheppard & Cottier, which later became Denton, Cottier & Daniels.  They are still in business today!  Mr. Sheppard gave lessons in piano, violin and organ.  

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Sheppard House on West Chippewa.  Source: Buffalo Historical Society Publications

Edward attended School No. 10, located on Delaware Avenue between Mohawk and Huron. He attended Central High School at Court Street and Niagara Square until 1869. In preparation for attending Harvard, he studied with Dr. Horace Brigg’s Private School. Unfortunately, ill-health ended his studies.

His health improved, and Mr. Hutchinson began working at the pork packing firm of L.W. Drake at age 18. Five years later, the Drake plant burned down, and the company dissolved. Just 23 years old, Edward established Buffalo’s first newspaper advertising agency with a complete job printing plant. The agency was located at 195 Main Street.  Mr. Hutchinson built several buildings, including the Hutchinson Block, built in 1887, located on Main Street north of Virginia Street. The Hutchinson consisted of a 4-story building with 12 residential apartments. It was considered a model apartment house in its day. In 1890, he constructed the Strathmore at Main and Carlton Streets, a duplicate of the Hutchinson Block.  In 1889, he built the Hutchinson Office Building, located at 71-73 West Eagle Street.  

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Hutchinson Home, 180 Morgan Street (now 200 South Elmwood). Photo by author.

In September 1872, Edward married Jeannie Blanch Ganson. Jeannie was the niece of John S Ganson. The Hutchinsons had two daughters – Martha and Blanche. The family lived at 180 Morgan Street (now 200 South Elmwood) for nine years. On June 8, 1882, Mr. Hutchinson purchased the house built by Dennis Bowen in 1853. The home was located at 157 West Chippewa, now the site of Hutch Tech High School. Mr. Hutchinson also bought and sold the Joseph Warren House to the east of the house. The Warren house was moved to a property on West Avenue. The property was next door to the Sheppard house, where Mr. Hutchinson had grown up. When the Hutchinsons moved in, they added a west wing to the house.  After his aunt and uncle died, Mr. Hutchinson inherited the house. They had it demolished to allow additional lawn on the west side of the property.  The lawns of the Hutchinson house were known for their extensive gardens.  

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Hutchinson Home, 157 W Chippewa.   Source: Buffalo Historical Society Publications

 

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Hutchinson Gardens on West Chippewa.  Source: Buffalo Historical Society Publications

In 1882, Mr. Hutchinson formed a partnership with George Thurstone to go into the drug business. Mr. Thurstone would operate the store, located at 416 Main Street, and Mr. Hutchinson would tend to the financial affairs of the store.  In 1887, Mr. Hutchinson decided to focus on banking. He was a nationally known banker, working as a Director of Marine Back for 26 years. In 1913, he became a Vice President of the People’s Bank. In 1927, the merger occurred that formed Manufacturers & Traders Trust Company (M&T); Edward became Honorary Chairman of the Board. He also served as President and Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Williamsville and a Trustee of the Erie County Savings Bank.

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Edward Howard Hutchinson     Source: Buffalo Sunday Morning News

Mr. Hutchinson was also involved in public service. In 1887, he was elected Alderman of the 10th Ward on the democratic ticket. At the time, the Ward was considered a Republic stronghold. He served in 1888 and 1889, the only Democrat ever elected by that constituency. Mr. Hutchison would say that he had been a Democrat since age 8 when he heard Stephen Douglass speak in Buffalo on the Terrace in 1860. Mr. Hutchinson was also a close friend and supporter of Grover Cleveland.

In 1890 and 91, Mr. Hutchinson served as secretary of the committee campaigning to revise the City Charter. The Citizen’s Association was successful. The State Legislature approved the new charter, which divided the City into 25 wards and set a three-year term for mayor. In 1891, he was appointed by Mayor Bishop to serve as a member of the Board of Fire Commissioners. During his tenure, he traveled to look at fire departments in other cities and countries to compare their operations to Buffalo’s. In 1895, he was appointed by Mayor Jewett to an advisory committee to City Council regarding the Niagara Falls Power Company and Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Canal Company. This committee helped to enable the use of streets to allow for the transmission of electricity. In 1901, he was appointed by Mayor Diehlto to serve on a commission working for a Union Station in Buffalo. In 1932, he was named to the committee in charge of the Buffalo Centennial Celebration. His name had often been bounced around to be nominated for Congress, Mayor, or Governor. Mr. Hutchinson always refused to allow even a nomination to come forward in his name.

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Central High School on Court Street. Source: WNY Heritage

In 1909, the City of Buffalo had realized that the Central High School was overcrowded, and a new facility was needed. Downtown prices had become higher, but the City was eager to keep a school in the central part of the City. So they put out a request for proposals for a site.

On January 16, 1909, the Hutchinsons offered their property. It came as a surprise to everyone. Both Edward and Jeannie had attended Central High School, and it was where they had met. They had been members of the group known as “Miss Ripley’s Boys and Girls,” named after Mary Ripley. The Hutchinsons donated their property to give something back to the school that had educated them. As they joked, “They didn’t want the property to go into the hands of strangers.”

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Approximate boundary of the Hutchinson Property donated to the City of Buffalo shown over image of modern Hutch Tech High School

The Hutchinson property was approximately 113,000 square feet in size and was valued at $175,000 to $250,000 at the time, which would be about $5.2 to $7.5 Million today. The value was set to increase in the next two years. The construction of the Elmwood Extension would extend Morgan Street northward to be called South Elmwood. It would open up the property to prime frontage along South Elmwood. Other properties were proposed for the school, including the following:

  • the Jewett Property on Delaware Avenue, extending from Chippewa Street to the Hotel Touraine (backing right up to the Hutchinson Property), amount unknown
  • The Buffalo Orphan Asylum Property, for $60,000
  • The George S. Metcalfe property on Cottage Street from Maryland to College Street, for $129,500
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Houses on Johnson Park that were demolished when Hutch Tech was built. Source: Buffalo Historical Society Publications

The Hutchinsons offered their property for free as a gift to the City. The Hutchinson property consisted of multiple properties: first, the Sheppard Property, owned by Mr. Hutchinson; the Hutchinson’s house, which belonged to Mrs. Hutchinson, the land had been given to her as a gift from John M. Hutchinson; the Warren property which Mr. Hutchinson purchased in 1889; and property on the rear of Whitney Place that had been a part of the Whitney Estate which had been purchased by Mr. Hutchinson. The Common Council called the gift a “noble and generous act.” As a result, the school was named after the Hutchinsons and became Hutchinson Central School. In 1954, the school merged with Technical High School and became Hutchinson Technical Central School, typically referred to as Hutch-Tech. Work on the school began in March 1913. In addition, other properties along Johnson Park were purchased to allow for the full use of the site.

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Hutchinson House, 296 Linwood Avenue. Source: Beautiful Homes of Buffalo.

After donating their property, the Hutchinsons moved to a new house built for them in 1910 on Linwood Avenue. In the 40s, the site was home to Stratford Business School. In the 50s and 60s, the site was home to the Girl Scouts Headquarters.  In 1970, the Girl Scouts moved out of the building and moved to Jewett Parkway.  The site of the Hutchinson House is currently a parking lot for the Saturn Club on Delaware.  The front steps and a Hutchinson marker are still visible along the sidewalk on Linwood.  

While contributing to Buffalo, he also held Williamsville in high regard. In 1911, the Williamsville Free Library opened in Williamsville Village Hall. More than 200 books were donated by Mr. Hutchinson to the library. He also gave the hose company the original bucket his grandfather had used as part of the old all-bucket brigade.

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Hutchinson Memorial Chapel. Source: Buffalo News.

Mr. Hutchinson was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral for more than 50 years. He built the Hutchinson Memorial Chapel of the Holy Innocents in memory of his parents in 1895. Among the items placed in the chapel’s cornerstone when it was built were the Bible, prayer book, and hymnal that belonged to Mr. Hutchinson’s mother and his father’s fire commissioner badge.  The chapel was located on the grounds of the Episcopal Church Home, which occupied the entire block surrounded by Busti Avenue, Rhode Island Street, Massachusets Avenue and Columbus Parkway.  The Episcopal Chuch Home was the oldest privately operated home for aging in Western New York, having been incorporated in 1858 by Reverand William Shelton.  Before the Church Home located on the Rhode Island Street site, the site had been home to an orphanage.  The Church Home was a major institution on the West Side.  At one time, it had been home to 1,000 residents and had 500 employees.  The Church Home closed after many years of planning for a new Peace Bridge or expanded plaza deisgn.  The site was sold to New York State in 2013.  The State sought to demolish the six buildings on the site to expand the Buffalo plaza of the Peace Bridge.  Residents and organizations fought to preserve two of the structures on the site – Thorton Hall, built in 1905, and the Hutchinson Chapel.  The Hutchinson Chapel, located on Rhode Island Street, is the only building still standing, vacant and boarded up. 

In 1908, Mr. Hutchinson donated $10,000 (about $300,000 in 2021 dollars) to St. Paul’s for their 50th Anniversary Celebration. That same year, Mr. and Mrs. Hutchinson contributed a $25,000 ($750,000 in 2021 dollars) organ, one of the finest in the country. After Mrs. Hutchinson died in 1921, Mr. Hutchinson donated organ chimes and a memorial stained glass window to the church. After his death, a second window was placed in his memory.

Mr. Hutchinson supported many projects in Buffalo that he saw as valuable to the City. He said, “I know of no better investment for a Buffalonian’s capital than in building up this city.” He was one of the first contributors to the Pan American Exposition, a life member of the Buffalo Historical Society, Vice President of the Buffalo Public Library Board, and a supporter of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences (Science Museum), the Academy of Fine Ars (the Albright Knox) and the Buffalo Orphan Asylum. He was a member of the Lodge of the Ancient Landmarks, No. 441. The Lodge building is still standing today at 318 Pearl Street, home to Lucky Day Whiskey Bar. In 1935, Mr. Hutchinson was honored with a service medal after 62 years of membership at the lodge, which began when he was just 21 years old.   He served as President of the Board of Trustees for Buffalo City Cemetery (Forest Lawn) for 33 years.

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Hutchinson Plot, Forest Lawn.

Mr. Hutchinson had a stroke on February 17 and died on February 26, 1938, just before his 86 birthday. He had been active in his business affairs, heading to the office at Erie County Savings Bank daily, up until his stroke. He often said people were like good machinery and shouldn’t be allowed to sit idle, so he never retired. On his 85th birthday, he was quoted on the front page of the Buffalo News saying that he felt he was in good shape as he ever was.  He credited his well being to a strict schedule – waking up every day at 6am, breakfast at 7:30, lunch at 12:30, supper at 5:30 and in bed by 10pm.  His funeral was at St. Paul’s, and he is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Newspapers referred to him as Buffalo’s First Citizen. Flags in Buffalo were at half-mast after his death.

Want to learn about other streets? Check out the Street Index. Don’t forget to subscribe to the page to be notified when new posts are made. You can do so by entering your email address in the box on the upper right-hand side of the home page. You can also follow the blog on facebook. If you enjoy the blog, please be sure to share it with your friends.

Sources:

  • Smith, H. Katherine. “Hutchinson Avenue Honors Buffalo Banker’s Memory.” Buffalo Courier-Express. October 26, 1941, p5.
  • “Edward Howard Hutchinson.” Buffalo Courier-Express. February 27, 1938.
  • “E. H. Hutchinson, 62 Years in Lodge, Honored at Rites”. Buffalo Courier-Express. April 5, 1935, p7.
  • “Interesting Sketch of John M. Hutchinson, Pioneer of Williamsville.” The Amherst Bee. October 14, 1909, p1.
  • “E. H. Hutchinson Succumbs at 85, Funeral Monday”. Buffalo Evening News. February 26, 1938, p1.
  • Sheldon, Grace Carew. “The Edward H. Hutchinson Home.” The Buffalo Times. October 11, 1909, p2.
  • “Mr. and Mrs. Edward H Hutchinson Two of Buffalo’s Most Sincere and Generous Philanthropists Give Their Beautiful Homestead.” The Buffalo Times. January 17, 1909, p41.
  • Endres, Matt.  History of the Volunteer Fire Department of Buffalo New York.  Wm. Graser, Printer, Buffalo, 1906.
  • Frank H. Severance, ediro.  Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Volume 16:  Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo.  Buffalo Historical Society:  Buffalo NY, 1912.  
  • Hubbell, Mark.  Beautiful Homes of Buffalo.  Buffalo Truth Publishing Company:  1915.  
  • McCarthy, Robert.  “State Purchases Former Episcopal Church Home”.  Buffalo New. July 3, 2013.
  • “Local Banker is 85 Sunday.”  Buffalo Evening News.  March 5, 1937, p1. 
  • “Girl Scouts Plan to Move”.  Buffalo Courier-Express.  July 1, 1969, p27.  

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Box Ave

Box Avenue runs between Fillmore Avenue and Moselle Street in the MLK Park neighborhood of the East Side.   I always enjoy finding the origins of streets like Box, where you’d think perhaps there was a box factory near there or something.  Instead, the street is named after Henry Box.

Henry Wellington Box was born in Cornwall, England on April 23, 1836.  His parents died when he was young, so he started working at age six.  He drove sandcarts on a farm.  He worked his way up to making $12.50 (about $440 in today’s dollars) a year.  The sand was necessary in Cornwall to make the soil useful for farming.  At age 13, he came to America.  At the time, the crossing of the Atlantic took 32 days.  When he landed in New York, he had nine English shillings.  He spent three of those shillings on dinner when he arrived.  The rest of his life, he would say that after the weeks of ocean voyage food, the meal tasted better than anything he ever ate after!  His first job in America was working on a farm near Honesdale, PA.  He decided that he finally needed to get an education, and at age 16 enrolled in the rural school while working part-time at the farm.  He became acquainted with a prominent Pennsylvania lawyer who helped him attend Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, PA.  To earn tuition and board, he taught in nearby rural schools.

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Source: Buffalo Times

Mr. Box studied law in the office of Judge Campbell Collins of Wilkes-Barre, PA.  In 1859, Mr. Box was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar.  He came to Buffalo in 1861 and worked as a clerk in the law office of Sherman S. Rogers.  He worked for a salary of $2/week and slept in the office to avoid having to pay rent.  Mr. Box was admitted to the New York State bar in 1862.  He worked his way up in the profession and quickly became recognized.  He was particularly known for his work as a criminal lawyer.  During the 1870s, he started to be in demand as corporation counsel for a variety of companies, so he discontinued his criminal practice.  He served for 31 years as attorney for the Buffalo Street Railway and played an important role in its expansion.  He also served as the attorney for Union Fire Insurance Company, Buffalo Gas Company, Bell Telephone Company and Western Union.

Mr. Box developed an interest in real estate.  He built the subdivisions in the Box Street section; as well as two subdivisions  on Clinton Street – one near the stockyards and the other east of Bailey Avenue; and the Sweet Avenue subdivision.  He named streets for some of his friends – including Warren Street for Orsamus Warren and Sweet Avenue for Charles A Sweet.  He named Selkirk Street after the husband of hiw wife’s sister, John Selkirk.  He built more than 400 houses on the East Side of Buffalo, mainly for railroad employees and mechanics.

Mr. Box married Mary Mason Peabody in 1865.  Mrs. Box was the daughter of John Peabody, another prominent family.  The Box family lived on Pearl Street and later built a mansion at 638 Delaware Avenue.  They adopted one daughter, Mary Elizabeth Box.  Mary Elizabeth’s coming-out party was held on December 26th 1893 at the Hotel Niagara and had more than 1000 guests.  The family collected paintings and books of immense value.

In 1893, he served as a New York State Commissioner to the Chicago World’s Fair.  He was a member of the Buffalo Club, the Country Club, the Buffalo Library, the Historical Society(Buffalo History Museum), and the Fine Arts Academy (Albright Knox Art Gallery).  He returned to Great Britain several times to visit relatives on London and Edinburgh, Scotland.

henry boxMr. Box retired in 1901.  He passed away in 1909 at Saranac Lake.  He had suffered from tuberculosis for five years before his death.  He spent his last year in the Adirondacks to help with his health.  He is buried in Forest Lawn in the Peabody-Selkirk-Box family plot.

The value of Mr. Box’s estate was determined to be $134,974 in personal property and $150,082 in real property.  It took years to close out Mr. Box’s estate due to his extensive real estate holdings.  This would total about $8.5 Million in today’s dollars.  In 1923, to help close out the estate, the remaining 88 lots on Clinton, Archer, Littell, Seneca, Clemo and other streets were offered for $35,000.  Some of the family’s paintings were donated to the Albright Knox and 850 books were donated to the JN Adam Memorial Hospital to build their library.  Donations were also left to Buffalo General Hospital, Sisters Hospital, Buffalo Orphan Asylum and Children’s Hospital.  Mary Elizabeth never married, in her will she left her remaining money to various organizations including the Tuberculosis Association.

Want to learn about other streets? Check out the Street Index. Don’t forget to subscribe to the page to be notified when new posts are made. You can do so by entering your email address in the box on the upper right-hand side of the home page. You can also follow the blog on facebook. If you enjoy the blog, please be sure to share it with your friends.

Sources:

  • Smith, H. Katherine.  “Box Avenue Memorial to Noted Lawyer.”  Buffalo Courier-Express.  January 21, 1942
  • “Funeral of Henry W. Box.”  The Buffalo Commercial.  February 11, 1909, p10.
  • “Henry W. Box Passes Away”  Buffalo Express.  February 8, 1909, p8.
  • “To Close The Estate of Henry W. Box.”  The Buffalo Enquirer.  June 25, 1923, p5.
  • “Hospital Gets Books as a Henry W Box Memorial.”  Buffalo Courier.  November 3, 1912, p25.
  • “Will of Henry W Box is Filed for Probate.”  Buffalo Courier.  February 16, 190, p7.
  • “Life Story of Henry W Box is History of Distinguished Man.”  Buffalo Courier.  February 14, 1909, p41.

shumwayShumway Street is a north-south street running between Broadway and Howard Street in the Emslie Neighborhood on the East Side of Buffalo.

The street is named for Horatio Shumway.  Mr. Shumway was born in Belchertown, Massachusetts in 1788.  Schools were hard to come by at that time in his hometown, so he prepared for college on his own.  He attended Middlebury College in Vermont.  After graduation, he taught school while he trained as a lawyer in Watertown at the office of Luther Bradish.  In 1824, Mr. Shumway decided to go west to St. Louis.  At the time, transportation westward was uncertain, precarious and in some areas, non-existent.  Mr. Shumway arrived around Buffalo during a blizzard.  He intended to leave Buffalo via boat for Chicago, but the lake was icebound.  He was forced to wait until the lake thawed.  While waiting, he decided that he really liked Buffalo and decided to stay.  I guess I could have named this entry “Get Stuck in a Blizzard, Get a Street Named After You!”

In 1831, Mr. Shumway was involved in the incorporation of the City of Buffalo, which occurred in April 1832.  In 1838, he was involved in a series of meetings involving the creation of public school services.  When Buffalo City Water Works was incorporated in 1851, Mr Shumway was also involved.

Elected in 1846, Mr. Shumway represented Buffalo in the New York State Assembly.  Mr. Shumway introduced to the Legislature the first bill to guarantee the protection of a married woman’s property rights.  Mr. Shumway worked tirelessly until it became a law.  Prior to this law, a husband could dispose of his wife’s property anyway he saw fit.   The Married Women’s Property Act of 1848 became an important law as it served as a template for other laws across the country.  While America gets much of its legal precedent from British Common Law, a similar statute was not passed by Parliament until 1882!  This law created an exception to the rule that a man and a woman who were married were considered one single unit.  Women who inherited land from their father’s estates were now allowed to own the property, instead of it going to her husband.  After his time in the legislature, Mr. Shumway decided public life was not for him and continued his private law practice.

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64 Franklin Street Source: Buffalo Times

Mr. Shumway married Mary Haywood, a member of another prominent early Buffalo family.  The Shumway family lived at 64 Franklin Street.  Mary Haywood came to Buffalo after her brother, Russell Heywood, had established himself in a department store at the corner of Pearl and Seneca Street.  The Shumways had one daughter, also named Mary, who was one of the early graduates of Buffalo Female Academy.  Mary Shumway married George F Lee.  Following Mr. Shumway’s death, Mrs. Shumway and Mary moved to 299 Delaware Avenue.  The Franklin Street property was sold to Miss Nardin, principal of St Mary’s Academy.  Ernestine Nardin began the school on Pearl Street and East Seneca in 1857, but moved to the corner of Franklin and Church Streets in 1868.  In 1890, the school moved to Cleveland Avenue. While the school was officially named “St. Mary’s Academy and Industrial Female School”, it was known around town as Miss Nardin’s Academy.  In 1917, the school officially changed its name to The Nardin Academy.  The house at 64 Franklin Street stood between the school and St. Joseph’s Cathedral, which is still standing.  The 64 Franklin Street property was used to house the Italian nuns who taught on Fly Street at Our Lady of Mount Caramel school, just down the street at what is now Canalside.

Mr. Shumway was the first President of First Presbyterian Society, which built First Presbyterian Church.  Through their work with the church, Mr. Shumway was a close friend of Jabez Goodell.  Mr. Shumway was also president of the Buffalo Female Academy, now Buffalo Seminary, and helped persuade Mr. Goodell to donate the land on which Goodell Hall was built for the school.  His life long interest in education was an important factor in helping to found the school.

114653886_1405023043He was also committed to helping Buffalo develop.  He helped many Buffalonians establish their large estates as their lawyer, as he was so well trusted in the community that people felt he would help ensure estates were handled in the appropriate manner.  Horatio Shumway died in July 1871.  He is buried with his wife in Forest Lawn Cemetery.  His tombstone says “faithful to every trust”.

Want to learn about other streets? Check out the Street Index. Don’t forget to subscribe to the page to be notified when new posts are made. You can do so by entering your email address in the box on the upper right-hand side of the home page. You can also follow the blog on facebook. If you enjoy the blog, please be sure to share it with your friends.

Sources:

  • “Death of Horatio Shumway”.  Buffalo Courier.  July 25, 1871, p2.
  • Smith, H. Katherine.  “Street Here Memorial to Legislator”.  Buffalo Courier-Express.  February 1, 1942.
  • “Seeing Buffalo of the Olden Time:  The Horatio Shumway Residence”.  The Buffalo Evening Times.  April 15, 1909, p4.

collegestreetCollege Street runs one-third of a mile between North Street and Cottage Street in the Allentown neighborhood of Buffalo.  The street was laid out in September 1836.  But was there a college in Allentown?  Well, almost.

The University of Western New York was chartered on April 8, 1836.  It was also referred to as “Western University”.  The college was founded  to serve Western New York.  At the time, there was no chartered college in operation in the area. There was a significant amount of speculation in Buffalo in 1836.  The Erie Canal’s opening in 1825 had turned Buffalo into a stepping stone between East and West.   Wealthy industrialists began to settle in Buffalo as businesses in freight, transportation and banking began to thrive.  Many in Buffalo quickly made money and then just as quickly lost it. Between 1834 and 1836, construction projects completed in Buffalo totaled $3Million (about $88 Million today).  Buffalo was still an infant city.  Only 1/5 of a mile of street was paved, only one mile of sewer existed on three streets, and there were no street lamps.  Water service was only from wells and a single water salesman who filled his tank in the lake and went door to door selling water.

Many large-scale projects were proposed, such as a large 100-foot tall marble statue of Commodore Perry above Shelton Square.  For reference, McKinley Monument in front of City Hall is about 96 feet tall.  The memorial was estimated to cost $75,000 (about $2.2 Million today).  Another proposed project was a great Exchange Building with a 220-foot dome on Main Street to occupy the entire block of Clarendon Square (between North and South Division).

The University was another such large scale proposed project, associated with the Genesee Synod of the Presbyterian Church.  The Synod at the time had sought to establish a college within its boundaries, which included a nine county area.  Buffalo was selected for its location due to the city’s location for trade because of the Canal and the Great Lakes.  Buffalo was also accessible to students from the Midwest to the East Coast and Mid Atlantic States, so the founders felt it was a strategic place for a university.

The Executive Committee of the College consisted of H.B. Potter, Hiram Pratt, Reuben B. Heacock, John C. Lord, and Asa T. Hopkins.  Other Board Members included Norris Bull, John Barnard, Gilbert Crawford, Charles E. Furman, Abel Caldwell, Erastus J. Gillet, Ezra Scovel, Tyron Edwards, Asa Johnson, Herman Halsey, Conway P. Wing, Eli S. Hunter, Timothy Stillman, Samuel H. Gridley, Robert W. Hill, William Williams, Samuel Wilkeson, Alanson Palmer, Joseph Dart, Pierre A Barker, Guy H. Goodrich, Jabez Goodell, Ebenezer Johnson, Ebenezer Walden, Peter B. Porter, John B. Skinner, Allen Ayrault, and Elial T. Foot.  The board was a real who’s who of Buffalo at the time, and many of these folks have been covered here on the blog.  The leader of the group was Reverend Asa Hopkins, who graduated from Yale University and was a minister at First Presbyterian Church.  In 1826, First Presbyterian Church took out an $8,000 loan  to build their original church at the corner of Main Street and Church Street.  By 1836, the loan had been paid off and the church looked towards other endeavors.

The Board of the University acquired a Building at the corner of Virginia Street and St. Louis Place.  The building had originally been built in 1828 by the Buffalo High School Association as the site for the Buffalo High School.  The name was changed to the Buffalo Literary and Scientific Academy in 1830.  The Academy was actually a military academy, and students would march down Main Street for drills.  The Academy provided the only secondary education in the city at the time.  It ended up being too expensive for most students and had difficulty securing faculty to teach.  When the University of Western New York group was established, they acquired the property.  Fun fact, in 1848, the building at Virginia Street and St. Louis Place became the first home of Sister’s Hospital.  The building still stands.

Judge Walden donated land bounded by Delaware, Allen, College and North Street to the Board for a permanent college.  College Street was laid out on the western boundary of their land.  Some sources indicate that the entire area was meant for the school.  Some sources indicate that the eastern boundary of their land was Franklin Street. Some sources indicate only 9 acres of land were owned by the group.  I was unable to verify precisely how much property the group owned, or if they ever even officially owned the land.  If anyone lives in the area and has copies of their title searches that go back that far, I’d love to see if the University is listed to try to figure it out!  At the time, the main streets of Allentown were Main, Delaware, Cottage, Allen and North Street.  It is possible that they did own the entire area, since Mariner, Elmwood, Park and Irving were not yet constructed.  If they did own the entire area, the University would have taken up almost 1/3 of Allentown!  College Street was added in September 1836 in honor of the University.  Plans for the University included impressive buildings along North Street, they desired to have a campus that would rival that of Harvard or Yale!

The Board selected Rev. Justin Edwards to be Chancellor of the University and President of the College.  He was to be granted a salary of $2,000 ($58,800 in today’s dollars) a year.  He declined the post.  A number of other high ranking educators from along the East Coast were named to the faculty- however, none of them ever arrived in Buffalo.  Endowments of $15,000 each were granted by many of the who’s who of Buffalo to fund professors:

  • William Williams, the “Williams’ Professorship of Moral and Mental Philosophy”
  • Samuel Wilkeson, the “Wilkeson Professorship of Law”
  • Alanson Palmer, the “Alanson Professorship of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy”
  • Hiram Pratt and Orlando Allen, the “Pratt and Allen Professorship of Theology”
  • Joseph Dart and George Palmer, the “Dart and Palmer Professorship of English Literature and Belles Lettres”
  • Perrie A Barker, the “Barker Professorship of Languages”
  • Guy H. Goodrich, the “Goodrich Professorship of Chemistry and Mineralogy”
  • HB Porter and John C. Lord, “the Porter and Lord Professorship of Oriental Literature and Hebrew Language”

While many sources indicate that no classes were held for the University, newspaper accounts from the time indicate that there was at least one year of classes, and 20 students were enrolled.  Tuition was set for Freshmen and Sophomore years at $8.00 per term or $24.00 annually.  Boarding was not to exceed $70.00 annually, with rooming at $10.50, utilities at $10.00 and washing at $12.00.  Tuition and board all together cost of $126.50 ($3,721 in 2021 dollars) annually.  Students were expected to furnish their own bed and bedding, towels and furniture except for bedstead (a bed frame) and stove.

The second year was set to begin on Wednesday, Sept 13, 1837. I am unsure if classes were held that second year at all, I do not believe they were.  A Professor Hadderman was referenced in newspaper articles prior to the term starting, it may be that they taught all the classes.  Candidates for the Freshman Class were examined in: Virgil, Cicero’s Select Orations, the Greek Reader, Latin and Greek Grammar, Arithmetic, English Grammar and Geography prior to acceptance.

Wonder what a curriculum looked like in 1836?  Freshman were required to be 14 years old and they studied:

  • Folsom’s Livy
  • Adam’s Roman Antiquities
  • Horace
  • Graeca Majors (the historical parts)
  • Algebra
  • Legendre’s Geometry.

Sophomores studied:

  • Graeca Majors (vol 1 finished)
  • Horace (finished)
  • Cicero de Oratore
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Mensuration (the measure of geometric magnitudes, lengths, areas and volumes)
  • Navigation
  • Surveying
  • Conic Sections, Spherical Geometry and Trigonometry
  • Rhetoric

Students attended prayer in the College Chapel every morning and evening, and attended three recitations daily except on Wednesday and Saturday, when there were only two.  Students were also required to attend public worship services on the Sabbath, at a church directed by their parent or guardian.  There were three terms in a year, separated by vacations – two weeks starting on the third Wednesday in December, four weeks starting at the second Wednesday in April, and six weeks starting on the first Wednesday in August.

The school was a victim of the financial panic of 1837.  The Panic of 1837 began in New York City in May of that year.  The Panic was detrimental to many places across the United States and resulted in a major depression for the following six years; many people lost their fortunes.  In 1851, it was reported that the “splendid effort to found the University of Western New York made in 1836 failed in  consequence of the pecuniary embarrassments.”

Buffalo was particularly hard hit by the Panic of 1837.  Benjamin Rathbun, Buffalo’s master builder had created a empire, operating quarries, brick factories and machine shops.  He built as many as 100 buildings in a single year.  He owned many major businesses in town as well, including the Eagle Tavern, several grocery and dry good stores, and his own bank.  To fund his empire, he overextended himself.  He was found to have used approximately $1.5 Million ($44 Million in 2021 dollars) in forged notes.  He was arrested and sentenced to five years hard labor in Auburn prison.  It was estimated that approximately 10% of Buffalo’s population was on his payroll – about 2,000 people, and around 5,000 people if you include their families who were dependent on that income.  The empire began to fall in August 1836.  The demise of Benjamin Rathbun’s empire coupled with the Panic of 1837 meant that much of the city became impoverished.  Real estate values dropped – lots were often worth less than 1/10th or even 1/20th of their value.

Additionally in 1837, Buffalo was weary of the Patriot War happening in Canada. Many Buffalonians feared that Buffalo could be attacked.  With the Burning of Buffalo during the War of 1812 just 24 years prior, many Buffalonians feared attack.  As a result, the Pointsett Barracks were built, between North Street, Delaware Avenue, Main Street and Allen Street.  If the University property did go to Franklin Street, a portion of it would have been included in the Pointsett Barracks.  The land for the Pointsett Barracks was also provided to the Federal Government by Judge Walden.  The only standing reminder of the Barracks is our beloved Wilcox Mansion, aka the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site.

People were still eager to have a college in Buffalo.  Nine years after the University of Western New York closed, a group of physicians and a few laymen including Millard Fillmore, future President of the United States, met to establish a medical school.  While they were founding a medical school, they petitioned the Legislature for a general university charter rather than just a medical school charter.  This would allow for the future expansion of the institution beyond just a medical school, as we know occurred.  Julian Park, documenting the history of the University of Buffalo in 1917, notes that interestingly, the physicians were the ones who pushed for a full university charter instead of a medical school charter, not the laymen.

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First Building of the University of Buffalo dedicated solely to education. Source: Julian Park, A History of the University of Buffalo.

The University of Buffalo came into being by a legislative act on May 11, 1846.  The Medical School opened in spring of 1847 with an enrollment of 63 students.  Like the University of Western New York, the University Council was made up of a whose who amongst Buffalo – the first council consisted of Millard Fillmore, George Clinton, Ira Blossom, Thomas Foote, Joseph Masten, Isaac Sherman, Gaius B Rich, William Bird, George Babock, Nathan Hall, James Wadsworth, Theodotus Burwell, John Shepard, Hiram Tucker, Orsamus Marshall, Orson Phelps , Elbridge Spaulding, James White, and James Putnam.  The first two terms were held in the Baptist church on Washington Street, before the University moved into a building built for them at the corner of Main and Virginia Street, just a block away from where the University of Western New York had held their classes!  For the first 40 years, UB operated solely as a medical school, but operated legally and officially as University at Buffalo.  Many of the subsequent departments and schools under the University umbrella were begun by the professionals of the city who wanted to help provide opportunities for training in their profession to the next generation of Buffalo.   Many of the first professors did so because of professional pride in passing down the trade, often while sacrificing their own finances.  In 1962, University of Buffalo joined the State University of New York (SUNY) system and became University at Buffalo.

So the next time you drive past or down College Street, take a moment to think about the University that never fulfilled its founder’s dreams.  Want to learn about other streets? Check out the Street Index. Don’t forget to subscribe to the page to be notified when new posts are made. You can do so by entering your email address in the box on the upper right-hand side of the home page. You can also follow the blog on facebook. If you enjoy the blog, please be sure to share it with your friends.

Sources:

  • “University of Western New York”.  Black Rock Advocate.  October, 13, 1836.
  • “University of Western New York”  Daily Commercial Advertiser.  July 28, 1837. p3.
  • “Education Convention.  The Advocate.  October 16, 1851, p2.
  • “An Act to Incorporate the University of Western New York.”  Passed April 8, 1836.  Chap 110, p 148.  Laws of the State of New York, of a General Nature Passed from 1828 to 1841.  T.H. Hyatt Publisher.  1841.
  • Fess, Margaret.  “Plans for University Here in 1836 Failed.  Buffalo Courier Express.  May 24, 1964. p30D.
  • Dreams and Realities.  Buffalo Courier Express. June 10, 1935. p6.
  • “University of Western New York”. Buffalo Daily Star.  August 27, 1836.  p1.
  • Park, Julian.  “A History of the University of Buffalo”.  Publications of the Buffalo Historical Society.  Buffalo: 1917.
  • Murphy, William F.  “Education in Buffalo, NY and the Panic of 1837”.  A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Department of Education, Canisius College.  June 1954.
  • Hosmer, George.  “Annual Address:  Physiognomy of Buffalo”.  Read before the Buffalo Historical Society, January 13, 1864.
  • Gordon, Thomas Francis.  “Gazetteer of the State of New York, Comprehending its Colonial History, General Geography, Geology and Internal Improvements; a Minute Description of its Several Counties, Towns and Villages.”  TK and PG Collins, Printers:  Philadelphia.  1836.

Today, we are going to discuss an area that is significant in my life. I grew up in Snyder on the grounds of what was once the Hedstrom Estate. Many of the early leaders of Buffalo Industry had country estates like this. Today, Amherst is the most populous town in New York State outside of the New York City metropolitan area. It’s hard to think about it being the location of a country estate. The growth of Amherst began around 1893 when the Buffalo and Williamsville Railway opened. Several suburban estates and horse farms popped up along this route. The area appealed to those who wanted to get out of the congestion and density of the city. The rail route and the easy proximity to the City of Buffalo made this a prime place for development while still commuting into the city. The Hedstroms were among others who built their estates in Amherst – another one was the Sattlers, who were neighbors to the Hedstroms. As automobiles became more common around the 1920s, subdivisions developed in this part of Amherst (Snyder/Eggertsville). While the estates have been subdivided, several of the historic homes still stand, such as the Hedstrom and Sattler’s homes.

roads3Let’s get ourselves oriented for today’s post. We’ll be discussing several streets. Firstly, Getzville Road, shown in yellow on the map, runs approximately 1.25 miles from Main Street to just past Sheridan Drive. Hedstrom Drive, shown in red, runs about 0.5 miles from Copper Heights to a dead end. Three other streets end in culs-de-sac with no outlet – Elmhurst Road, shown in light blue; High Court, shown in purple; and Four Winds Way, shown in orange. The Hedstrom’s country estate we’ll be discussing is shown in blue, based off of a 1915 map (boundaries may have changed over time). The Manor House is displayed with the green star, and the Gate House is shown with the yellow star.   

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Approximate route of Getzville Road (New Home Road) in 1866 shown in orange. Current Getzville Road shown in red.

The road that would become Getzville Road appears on maps as early as 1829. It grew over time, and by 1855, the road reached out to where Sheridan Drive is now. By 1866, the road reached North Forest Road. It eventually continued northward to Ellicott Creek Road. The road was initially known as New Home Road. As this was the road from Snyder to the Getzville, the road was then named after Joseph Goetz. Mr. Goetz was the first postmaster of Getzville, centered around what is now the intersection of Campbell Boulevard and Dodge Road. By 1939, a portion of the road was changed to Buffalo-Millersport Road (now Millersport Highway). In 1948, the portion leading north past Ellicott Creek became Campbell Boulevard. Getzville Road was shortened to its current length when the Youngmann Expressway (I-290) was built. One of Getzville’s distinctive features is the old stone wall that forms the border along the northwest corner of Main Street. In 1987, my family moved onto Getzville Road (a fact that is likely only important to me, haha)

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Source Mitchell Hedstrom: Five Generations of Hedstroms

Hedstrom Drive is named for Arthur Hedstrom, an early settler at Main and Getzville Road. The Hedstroms, Arthur’s grandparents Erik and Charlotte, came to America around 1843 from Sweden with their son Erik. Erik was called by his middle name, Leonard, and was 7 when they came to America. He decided he did not want to be a farmer like his father, so he went into the blacksmith trade. At age 21, Leonard took a position with AB Meeker, a Chicago-based coal operator, and pig iron merchant.

Around 1864, Leonard came to Buffalo to open a branch of the A.B. Meeker coal business here. Erik and Charlotte followed their son to Buffalo around that time. Leonard attended the Cedar Street Baptist Church, where he met Anna Matilda Clampffer. Leonard and Anna were married in 1865 and moved into a house on Michigan Street between Seneca and Swan Streets. Their daughter Alice was born in April 1866, and a son Arthur Eric was born in August 1869. In 1882, Leonard built a house at 717 Delaware Avenue between North and Summer Streets. Anna lived there until the 1920s.  

Shortly after he set up the offices for A.B. Meeker, he set up his own company at the foot of Erie Street to receive coal from New York via the Canal. The company was called the E.L. Hedstrom Company. The company distributed anthracite coal across Western New York and in Chicago, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska. The company was the largest shipper of coal on the Great Lakes. The company also did some coal mining and produced pig iron. In 1870, Leonard helped build the Buffalo Creek Railway. He served as President of the railway until it was taken over by the Lehigh Valley and Erie Companies in 1876. In 1871, Leonard built the first coal trestle in Buffalo at the Lehigh Docks to transfer anthracite coal from cars to vessels. Leonard also worked with the DL&W railroad to handle their coal destruction. The firm of E.L. Hedstrom was the only individual shipper of anthracite coal from Buffalo by the lake to the upper lake ports. The company had its offices at 304-312 Ellicott Square (note: this was before the construction of the Ellicott Square Building – the buildings prior were also called Ellicott Square. Based on City Directories, it does appear that the company did have offices in the Ellicott Square Building once it was built as well).

In 1880, Leonard began handling and distributing various grades of bituminous (or soft) coal – the first Pittsburgh Coal in the Buffalo Market. By 1880, the Chicago office was called Meeker, Hedstrom & Co, and by 1888, it was called E.L. Hedstrom & Co – with three partners – E.L. Hedstrom, G.W. Meeker, and J.H. Brown. The firm had three offices – Chicago, Buffalo, and Racine, Wisconsin (on Lake Michigan near Milwaukee).

Leonard was an active member of the Board of Trade and President of Buffalo Merchant’s Exchange. He was also a Director of the Buffalo Bank of Commerce and President of the Buffalo Baptist Union. Leonard served as President of the YMCA, a Director of the Buffalo Homeopathic Hospital, and the Homestead Lodging House. Anna was involved in the Home for the Friendless (which became Bristol Home and only recently closed earlier this year).

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Hedstrom Memorial Church, Doat Street Location (now Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church) Source: Mike Puma, Views of Buffalo 

Before he died, Leonard had contributed to the Delaware Avenue Baptist Church, which opened at 965 Delaware Avenue in January 1895, the year after Leonard died. The pipe organ, pulpit, and baptistry are all in memorial of Erik Leonard Hedstrom. The Hedstrom Memorial Baptist Church was also founded around the time of Leonard’s death. Anna Hedstrom donated $5,000 for the Baptist Mission at Walden Avenue to build a permanent home of worship in memory of her husband. A modest frame church was built at 106 Sumner Place. In 1897, the congregation formally became Hedstrom Memorial Baptist Church and dedicated their new place of worship. In 1931, they moved to 165 Doat Street. In 1989, they moved to Losson Road in Cheektowaga.

Anna and Leonard’s son Arthur attended Heathcote School for Boys in Buffalo, a small private school located at 310 Pearl Street. He also attended the Briggs School in Buffalo and the University of Rochester, from which he graduated in 1892. After Leonard died in 1894, Arthur took over the business as a partner in E.L. Hedstrom & Co. He also served as President of the Franklin Iron Manufacturing Company.

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Wilcox Mansion, where Albert and Katherine got married (and Teddy was inaugurated).  Photo by Author

Arthur married Katherine Meigs Wilcox on June 14, 1898. Katherine was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1875. She is the youngest of ten children; her big brother is Ansley Wilcox. Arthur and Katherine got married in the library at Ansley’s house. Just a few years later, the library was much more famously used for Theodore Roosevelt’s Inauguration. So the house is better known today as the TR Inaugural Site (note: I’m still pretty psyched to know that I’ve stood in the library where they were married, haha!)

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Source Mitchell Hedstrom: Five Generations of Hedstroms

Arthur and Katherine first lived at 27 Oakland Place. Their son, Eric Leonard, was born there in March 1899. They then moved to 498 Delaware Avenue, where their daughter Brenda was born in September 1902. A third son Lars was born in August 1909. The family was well known in the social circles of Buffalo. They were members of the Buffalo Club, the Saturn Club, the Buffalo Athletic Club, the Buffalo Country Club, and the Buffalo Tennis and Squash Club. Arthur was athletic. He had played first base for the University of Rochester baseball team. In addition, he played golf and tennis. He kept a list of all the golf courses he had played on, including 95 courses in the United States and 53 courses in other countries. He won the Buffalo Country Club Championship in 1896. He also played in the finals of the Buffalo City Championship in tennis singles for three years.

In 1904, Arthur and Katherine purchased 97 acres of land at 4200 Main Street. This was 9 miles from Downtown Buffalo. They built a home (referred to here as the Manor House) there in 1906. They developed the property into a country estate, including a tennis court, swimming pool, bathhouse, barn, formal gardens, and a pond. They originally intended the land to be a working farm, called Four Winds Farm, with four milk cows and two workhorses to plow the fields. However, after about ten years, they gave up the idea of running a farm.

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Source Mitchell Hedstrom: Five Generations of Hedstroms

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Arthur Hedstrom’s tadem horses he’d use to commute. Photo Source Mitchell Hedstrom: Five Generations of Hedstroms

Eric, Brenda, and Lars grew up on Four Winds Farm. The family commuted into the city often. Arthur would drive to work, first by horse and later in a maroon Pierce-Arrow limousine driven by his chauffeur, Charles Tong. He was known for going to the Buffalo Club for lunch. The family attended church at Delaware Avenue Baptist Church. Eric attended Franklin School, Nichols School, and Hill School (a boarding school in Pottstown, PA). He then attended Yale University. Lars attended the Franklin School, Nichols School, and Hotchkiss (a boarding school in Lakeville, Connecticut). He then attended Princeton University. Brenda attended the Franklin School, the Park School, Buffalo Seminary, and the Westover Boarding School in Middlebury, Connecticut. She had a coming-out party at the Buffalo Country Club. Newspapers of the time stated that Brenda was the “prettiest girl of her debutante set.”  

100 getzville

Front of 100 Getzville

As the children grew up and got married, they would live in the apartment in the Gate House building on the property. Brenda married William Boocock in June 1924. They moved into the Gate House when they were first married after Eric moved out. Shortly after, Brenda and William built their own house on the estate at 100 Getzville. The wood-shingled Colonial Revival house stood behind the stone wall. We called this house the Secret Garden House because of its impressive, rambling appearance and wooded grounds.  

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Rear of 100 Getzville

In 2012, the long-time owner of 100 Getzville passed away, and the house was sold. The new owner intended to have the property listed as a local historic landmark and renovate the home. However, they discovered more structural issues than they had anticipated, so they abandoned that idea. A demolition permit was issued on January 9, 2013. The house was demolished, which was distressing to many neighbors. The property has been divided into multiple lots with a single entrance to preserve the stone wall. A house was built, and a second house is currently under construction this summer.

Arthur continued to grow the E.L. Hedstrom Company. The company had five coal trestles in Buffalo, at the foot of Erie Street, at Chicago & Miami Streets, at North Main Street & the DL&W railroad, at Walden Avenue & the DL&W railroad, and at East & Parish Streets in Black Rock. In addition, the company maintained coal yards at Delaware Avenue & the DL&W, at Erie Street, at Walden Avenue, at Chicago Street, and in the Black Rock area. They also had a soft coal yard at Roseville and Van Rensselaer Streets.

In 1927, the company merged with Spaulding and Spaulding, another Buffalo coal company. The company was then known as the Hedstrom-Spaulding Company. In 1955, it merged with another coal company and became Spaulding-Yates.

In addition to his role at E.L. Hedstrom, Arthur served as President of the Fairmont Coal Company, the Duth Hill Mining Company, the Snyder Gas Company, the Cooper Paper Box Company, the Oak Ridge and Bostonia Railroad, and the Hedstrom Holding Company. Like his father, he was involved in the YMCA, serving as Director from 1900-1926 and on the Board of Trustees from 1920-1932. After WWI, he helped remodel the Pearl and Genesee Streets building that adjoined the YMCA into a hotel. The hotel went by several names, including the “Men’s Hotel” and the “Red Triangle Inn.” It served as inexpensive but good lodging for men and boys. In addition, he organized a campaign to build “The Girl’s Home” for similar purposes. He also rented a building and equipped it as a Social Center for African Americans. In 1928, he and a friend built a model apartment house for African Americans with families.

Arthur also served as sole trustee of the school in Snyder for 7 years. He was a life member of the Albright Art Gallery and the Buffalo Public Library. He also served as a member of the Electoral College to elect Teddy Roosevelt as President.

In 1913, Arthur helped organize the Buffalo Federation of Churches, a group of 48 churches from 11 denominations. He was the first President of this Organization. Arthur and Katherine helped organize Amherst Community Church, located near their estate on Washington Highway, built in 1916. Katherine was also active in civic and women’s affairs. She organized the Girl Scouts in Buffalo during WWI. She taught Sunday School and Delaware Baptist Church. She served on the Board of Directors of the YWCA for 17 years. She worked with the Women’s Suffrage Movement and the Joint Charities. Joint Charities formed during WWI to create synergy for fundraising for multiple organizations – Charity Organization Society, Children’s Aid Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelties to Children, the District Nursing Association, and the Red Cross. Joint Charities is now the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County.

Katherine was also a prohibitionist. In 1931, she was one of 20 women who formed a national commission to present a report on prohibition and its enforcement from the women’s viewpoint. Mrs. Hedstrom wrote “Gains from Prohibition,” a report planned to be submitted to the President following their national conference.

Later in life, Arthur and Katherine liked to travel to get out of Buffalo in the winter. Arthur died in Vero Beach, Florida, in February 1946 at age 76. Two years later, the family sold the E.L. Hedstrom-Chicago Company. The family had still owned waterfront real estate, which they were able to sell for significant income. Katherine died in Buffalo in June 1952. After she died, the family sold their interests in the E.L. Hedstrom-Buffalo Company. The Hedstroms, along with many family members, are buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

The Hedstrom family sold the Four Winds property to Genrich Builders in 1947, who began to subdivide the property into development lots. Genrich Builder’s Snyder Development Co converted the Manor House and Gate House into apartments in 1949. Elmhurst Road was developed with housing lots first, and then High Court was built separating the Gate House and the Manor House.  

Genrich Builders and the Genrich Family were important in real estate in Amherst, starting with John Genrich entering the real estate business in 1919. He started Genrich Construction Company, which developed areas of the Lasalle neighborhood, including Lisbon, Highgate, and Minnesota Avenues. In the 1930s, the company formed Snyder Development Company to manage properties, such as the Hedstrom Manor House. John’s son, J. Harold Genrich, continued the business, changing the name to Genrich Builders in 1941. During the 1950s, the company began acquiring land in Amherst for both commercial and residential projects. Between 1919 and 1959, when John died, the company had built 2000 housing units. John’s other son, Willard Genrich, continued the family business as President of Genrich Builders Inc and the Lord Amherst Motor Hotel, which the family opened in 1962 at 5000 Main Street.

The Genrich family operated their business out of the family home at 4287 Main Street, not far from the Hedstrom Estate. The house had been initially built in 1880 by Charles Berryman. For those keeping track, 4287 Main Street is at the corner of Main Street and Berryman Drive, named for the Berryman family, who owned 40 acres between Main Street and the town line. In 2003, the more than 100-year-old farmhouse was purchased by the Amherst Industrial Development Agency (AIDA) and renovated into their offices.

The portion of the Hedstrom Estate that was not initially developed by Genrich Builders was developed in three phases in the 1950s as Pearce & Pearce’s “Getzville Estates.” Included in the Getzville Estates were Woodbury Drive, Meadowstream Drive, Greenbrier Drive, and Colony Court. Pearce & Pearce was founded by Howard and Early Pearce in 1936. Pent-up demand for housing from the Great Depression and WWII caused a housing boom by the 1950s. Residents were ready to leave behind the urban congestion for the suburban dream of a house of their own and a yard. As a result, Pearce & Pearce built more than 10,000 moderately priced homes for young families in Amherst. Houses in Getzville Estates were described as “charming contemporary homes, large fully landscaped lots, rambling 1-floor plan homes, all with three bedrooms, full basements, family rooms, attached 2-car garages, wood-burning fireplaces, and many other desirable modern features”. The homes were priced around $25,000 to $29,900. The house I grew up in is one of the Getzville Estates’ homes. All of the houses on our block were built as mirror images of their neighbors. Over the last 70 years, many (perhaps all?) homes have been modified and remodeled. Hence, every house is slightly different but has the same basic structural bones.

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Houses in Getzville Estates

The lots on Hedstrom, Berwin, Copper Heights, Koster Row, and Fairlawn were subdivided and developed as “Greater Boncroft,” named after another street in the area, Boncroft Drive.  

Starting in 1990, Benchmark Group developed 10 lots of residential houses in a new subdivision. The project was given the name “Four Winds” after the Hedstrom family estate and the nursery located on the site, and the road was named Four Winds Way. The completion of Four Winds Way completed the suburban development of the Four Winds Farm.

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Portion of the Stone Wall along Getzville Road in front of what was Brenda Hedstrom’s home

The Hedstrom Gate House and the stone wall along Main Street and Getzville Road are listed as Designated Historic Properties by the Town of Amherst Historic Preservation Commission (HPC). The rustic stone wall is from circa 1820 and is the oldest of the stone walls along Main Street in Snyder. Around 2001-2002 the Gatehouse Property was looking at redevelopment. Prospective buyers were interested in the property. One of them was the Amherst IDA, looking to purchase the property to renovate the Gate House, build a new building and a parking lot. In March of 2002, the Amherst Town Board voted to designate the entire 1.6 acre Gate House Site as a landmark. Initially, the Town was going to designate just the Gate House and a strip of land where the stone fence stands. However, residents fought to protect the entire site, including the grounds and grove of trees, which were important contextually for the building and wall. Caroline Duax, a local resident, led the fight, collected 787 signatures from area residents, and presented to Town Board. At the time, the property was still owned by Snyder Development Company, who fought the decision to landmark the site. They had been looking to sell the property to a developer. With the landmark protection, any developers needed the approval of the Historic Preservation Committee before making changes, making it less attractive for development. After the designation, the developer sued the Town.

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Hedstrom Gate House Source: Julianna Fiddler-Woite 

Caroline continued her research. She learned that Frederick Law Olmsted’s son landscaped the grounds in 1924 and went to Boston to get the blueprints from the Olmsted Conservancy. The drawings and blueprints can be found online in the Olmsted Archives here. She learned that the architect who designed the Manor House (and likely put the stucco on the Gate House) was Fred H Loverin, who also designed the Hotel Lennox on North Street in Buffalo.

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Item Number: 7292-4 Document Title: Mr. Arthur E. Hedstrom Williamsville Road Erie Co. N.Y. Cross-Section Elevations to Accompany Plan # 3 Scale 1/4″ = 1′ Project: 07292; Courtesy of the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.

In 2006, Caroline and her husband ended up purchasing the property to preserve it. She served as the general contractor, designing and supervising the renovation over two years. While renovating, they discovered there were multiple structures within the 1904 shell that had been built by the Hedstroms. There was originally an older house structure at the west end (to the left in the above photo) along Main Street, dating from 1820. Hedstrom built the second house on the East end of the structure. The area between the two buildings was filled in with a one-story shed further back on the property and the archway seen from Main Street. They connected the buildings and covered them in stucco. Because of the archway, the property serves as the Gate House onto what was the Hedstrom Property.

Historically, there was a tollbooth located at Main and Getzville Road. Tollbooths were built by the Buffalo and Williamsville Macadam Company, which constructed Main Street as a toll road in 1836 to connect the two municipalities. The tollbooth at Getzville Road was the last tollbooth standing on Route 5 between Buffalo and Albany, operating until 1899. Some people think that the Gate House is the tollbooth, but that is not the case. There are some rumors that part of the tollbooth was used to construct the archway section of the Gate House, but I am not sure if they are founded. 

The house on the right (to the east) was occupied by the Hedstrom Estate Caretaker, Charles Tong, and his family. The house on the west was initially occupied by the farmers who worked on the farm and various Hedstrom family members over the years. The middle section housed farm and property equipment. The barn behind the East House is a large structure with a high peaked roof. The first floor held horses and buggies and later cars. East of the building, now the lawn and woods, was an apple and pear orchard. There is one pear tree and a few apple trees in the wooded area that still produce fruit.

In 2012, Caroline was awarded the Rehabilitation/Adaptive Reuse Award from Preservation Buffalo Niagara. Caroline Duax passed away in 2020 after a battle with cancer. Her husband planted 3000 daffodils to dance in the breeze each spring in her memory.

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Hedstrom Manor House Source: New York State Historic Preservation Office

Interestingly, the Manor House is not listed as a historic property, though in 2018, New York State Historic Preservation Office listed it as eligible for listing. Several older sources I found noted that the mansion had been demolished. This is likely because the wooded lot and setback make it hard to see from the street. The Tudor Revival and Craftsman house dates from around 1906 and is on a 3-acre lot. The house is two and a half stories built of quarry stone. The house included 14 master bedrooms and seven bathrooms. 

When the Manor House was converted into apartments, it was separated into eight two-bedroom apartments. Genrich preserved much of the park-like setting, including the spring-fed pond. In addition, the company developed housing lots on High Court and Elmurst Drive and several lots on Getzville.   

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View of the Pond from Elmhurst. Photo by Author

Historically, the property also included a pool, a pool house, pergola, and tennis courts, but those have been removed. In the early 2000s, 11 townhouses were proposed in six new buildings surrounding the Manor House. The neighbors fought against the development, but ultimately the plans were approved by the Town, and the townhouses were built. However, the developers did drop their plan to include a ring road around the townhouses, which would have significantly altered the scenic value of the remaining Hedstrom property.

Special thanks to Mitchell Hedstrom, Arthur’s Great Grandson, who wrote a book about his family history, an incredible resource for this researcher to find! If you’re interested in reading more about the Hedstroms, you can check out his book on Google Books here. And thank you for giving me permission to use some of your family photos. Thank you also to Caroline Duax for working so hard to save the Gate House. Your spirit was moving through me when I recently walked past the Gate House on a walk with my parent’s dog Lady, which finally convinced me I needed to write this post. And thank you to the Hedstroms for building their estate and for the Genriches and Pearces who constructed my neighborhood – it was a great place to grow up!

Want to learn about other streets? Check out the Street Index. Don’t forget to subscribe to the page to be notified when new posts are made. You can do so by entering your email address in the box on the upper right-hand side of the home page. You can also follow the blog on facebook. If you enjoy the blog, please be sure to share it with your friends.

Sources:

  • “Women Also Plan Prohibition Study:  Mrs. Arthur Hedstrom one of 20 Who Will Conduct National Conference”.  Buffalo Courier Express, March 19, 1931.
  • “A.E. Hedstrom, 76, President of Coal Company is Dead”.  Buffalo Evening News.  February 25, 1946, p6.
  • Borrelli, George and Kevin Collison.  “W.A. Genrich, Businessman, Regent, Dies”.  Buffalo News.  June 8, 1999.
  • Bridger, Chet.  “Amherst Development Agency Buys Home for Its Headquarters”.  Buffalo News.  July 19, 2003.
  • “Genrich Family Name Towers High in Growth of Area Building Industry”  Buffalo Courier Express January 7, 1979.  Sec G  p1
  • Radder, Joseph.  “Bill Pearce Succeeds Father & Grandfather in Family Business”.  Living Primetime.  Sept 2004.
  • “William Howard Pearce Dies; Developer and Philanthropist”.  Buffalo News.  November 22, 1998.
  • Thomas, G. Scott.  Turning Points #4:  Behind the Curb. Buffalo Business First.  June 19, 2014.
  • “Exclusive Subdivision Planned in Snyder”.  Buffalo News.  February 24, 1990.
  • Williams, Dierdre.  “Preservation Rules May Not Deter Gatehouse Buyers”.  Buffalo News.  June 5, 2002.
  • “Landmark Status Granted to Entire Hedstrom Site”.  Buffalo News.  March 5, 2002.
  • Duax, Caroline.  Letter to the Editor.  “Preserve Gate House and Its green Space”.  Buffalo News.  November 18, 2001.
  • McNeil, Harold.  “Amherst Residents Protest New Housing”.  Buffalo News.  August 16, 2002
  • McNeil, Harold. “Townhouse Developer to Present New Plans”.  Buffalo News.  November 20, 2002.
  • Silverman, Laura.  “Home:  Unlikely Champions Save Amherst Landmark”.  Buffalo Spree.  October 25, 2012.
  • Hedstrom, Mitchell.  Five Generations of Hedstroms:  An American Branch of a Swedish Family. iUniverse. 2020.  
  • Collins, Jimmy.  “Hedstrom Estate, Area Showplace, Bought by Genrich”.  Buffalo Evening News.  July 9, 1949. p7.
  • “Development is Planned”  Buffalo Courier-Express, February 21, 1960. B7.
  • “Heir Arrives in Boocok Household.”  Buffalo Courier.  May 31, 1925.  p49.
  • “Miss Hedstrom Radiantly Beautiful as a Bride”  Buffalo Courier.  June 15, 1924.  p45.
  • “Genrich Planning $500,000 Snyder Home Development”.  Buffalo Evening News.  February 20, 1960.  C-5.
  • “Genrich to Represent Mass. Firm”  Buffalo Courier Express.  November 19, 1978. H-2.
  • Town of Amherst. “Intensive Level Survey of Historic Resources”.   Bero Associates, Rochester NY.  August 1998.
  • Fiddler-Woite, Julianna. “The Gate House”.  Amherst 2000 Blog.  June 7, 2018.  amherst200.wordpress.com
  • Town of Amherst “Updated Reconnaissance Level Survey of Historic Resources”.  kta preservation specialists.  August 2011.

Screenshot (9)Argus Street is a short street in the Riverside Neighborhood of Buffalo.  The street runs two blocks, between Esser Avenue and Vulcan Street.  The street is named after Francis (Frank) X Argus, one of the original owners of the land that is now Riverside Park.

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Jubilee Water Works at Delaware and Auburn.  Source:  Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo

George Argus, Frank’s father, came to Black Rock from Bavaria.  George worked as a teacher in a parochial school and then went into the grocery business.  Frank was born in Black Rock in 1854.  Frank Argus was a commissioner of the old Jubilee Reservoir at the corner of Delaware Avenue and Auburn Avenue.  It was located on the west side of the street between Auburn and Lancaster Avenues.  The Jubilee Spring is the spring that gives the Cold Spring neighborhood it’s name – the spring ran through the basement of the Cold Spring tavern on Main Street at Ferry.  The spring also feeds the lake at Forest Lawn Cemetery.  The Jubilee Water Works was incorporated in 1827 by John G. Camp, Reuben Heacock, and Frederick Merrill to supply Buffalo and Black Rock with water.  They built a system to serve Black Rock and began to expand to serve parts of Buffalo, but the Jubilee Springs could not provide enough water to keep up with the demand, so the system could not expand further.  When Black Rock was annexed by the City of Buffalo in 1853, the City of Buffalo acquired the system, which was abandoned by 1890.  

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Jubilee Library.  Photo by Author

After the reservoir was abandoned, the site was purchased by Albert F. Laub.  Mr. Argus insisted that the property not be sold unless it was agreed that the funds used for the sale would be used to build a branch library. The Water Works property was sold in 1899, but it took years before the proceeds were released and a new location was selected. The Jubilee Branch library opened on December 20, 1915 at 1930 Niagara Street. The Jubilee Library was the first non-rented library space in Buffalo. It was designed to have a children’s side, an adult side and an auditorium in the basement. The site was constructed next door to a city-owned community center that also had a gym, creating a cohesive community oriented space. the site was selected by the City and there were concerns about the safety of children crossing the railroad tracks to get to the library, as well as its location along the water rather than in a neighborhood. The continued development of Black Rock proved that the Jubilee Branch was well suited to serve the community. It was particularly used by nearby industrial businesses for technical reference material. The success of the Jubilee Branch Library encouraged the library to pursue creating additional library branches built to be libraries, rather than using available existing spaces which they rented.

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1916-1918 Niagara Street.  Photo by Author

Mr. Argus married Mary Heims.  They had two sons and two daughters- Francis, Clarence,  Maud Argus Haley and Olive Argus Walsh. The family lived at 1916 Niagara Street (corner of Hamilton). For 40 years, Mr. Argus operated a hardware store in the same building where they lived. The store’s address was 1918 Niagara Street. The store sold hardware, cutlery and stoves. The building appears to still be standing today, and the store appears to be converted into apartments. The building would have had the Erie Canal flowing through it’s backyard, but now abuts the I-190. The children oriented towards medicine – Dr. Francis Argus became a nose and throat specialist after serving as a major in the Army Medical Corps during WWI, Dr. Clarence Argus became a dentist, and the daughters both married doctors.  The daughters were graduates of Holy Angels Academy and accomplished pianists/organists.  

When Mr. Argus, Mr. Esser and Mr. Hertel sold the Riverside Park property to the city, Mr. Argus insisted that the riparian rights allowing the building of a dock were relinquished to the city.  This ensured that the public had access to the water. Mr. Argus was a boater and a charter member of the Buffalo Launch Club.  He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.

After retirement, Mr. Argus traveled throughout the United States.  He spent winters in Florida, California or Cuba.  He enjoyed returning for summers in Buffalo.  He lived with his son in a house at 237 Lafayette Avenue. The house was known around town for Frank’s beautiful garden, which son Clarence continued after his father’s death.  While Frank was gardening long before Garden Walk existed, Buffalonians still take pride in our gardens today – perhaps you even may have seen a house near Frank’s former house this weekend on Garden Walk?  

Want to learn about other streets?  Check out the Street Index.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the page to be notified when new posts are made.  You can do so by entering your email address in the box on the upper right hand side of the home page.  You can also follow the blog on facebook.  If you enjoy the blog, please be sure to share it with your friends.

Sources:  

  • “An Act to provide a mode for ultimate disposition of property belonging to the Jubilee water system in the City of Buffalo and investment of the proceeds.”  Laws of the State of New York Passed at the One Hundred and Thirteenth Session.  Chapter 154. Banks & Brothers Publishers, Albany, 1890.
  • Pierce, Morris.  “Documentary History of American Water-Works:  Buffalo, New York”.  http://www.waterworkshistory.us/ 
  • Severance, Frank Ed.  Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo.  Buffalo Historical Society. 1912. 
  • Smith, H. Katherine.  “Argus Street Reminds of Founder of Jubilee Library”.  Buffalo Courier Express.  June 21, 1941.

 

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