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Archive for October, 2011

Irving Place is a short street running for about 1/4th of a mile in Allentown between North Street and Allen Street.

The road was originally called Bowery Street, named after the trees that once bowered overhead.  The residents became uncomfortable with the name Bowery.  At this time, Manhattan’s Bowery section was becoming an area of brothels, low-brow theaters and slums.   The residents of Bowery Street in Buffalo didn’t want to be associated with such things.   So, in 1874, Bowery Street became Irving Place – named for author Washington Irving.   Residents of the street voted to choose the name of the street, so perhaps they were fans of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman?  Interestingly, during the revitalization of The Bowery in Manhattan, there was a movement to change the name of the street there as well.  The name stuck in Manhattan, but went away in Buffalo.

Fun fact about Irving Place:  F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, lived at 29 Irving Place as a boy.  His father was an employee at Proctor & Gamble.

Sources:

“Business Changes Along the Bowery:  Attractive Retail Shops have Taken the Place of Old Time Saloons”,  New York Times, December 21, 1921.

Allentown Association.  http://www.allentown.org/Streets/Irving/

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Finally, a new entry!  Thanks for holding tight while I dealt with my unexpected move and got all my stuff in order.

Today, instead of talking about a specific street I want to talk about my new apartment.  Interestingly enough, the history of one street will actually come into play as well.  I lived on Franklin Street prior to this move.  This move brought me further downtown, so far downtown that I actually live within the boundaries of the Joseph Ellicott 1804 Plan of Buffalo.  Being the history buff, I am, I couldn’t resist doing some historical research of the plot of land I now call home.

Delaware Ave Row Houses...possibly what my block looked like in 1890

I’m amazed at how much history exists in my little plot of land that’s not even a quarter of an acre.  My building was built in 1932.  It’s currently a restaurant with four apartments above it.  Historically, in the 1890s, there were row houses on the property, and likely houses before that.

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