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Archive for June, 2013

This week marks two years since I started my Buffalo Streets project.  It  started when I began researching how Keppel Street was named.  I started to uncover these stories, and I needed to share them with the world.  I am blown away by all of your love and support; I amazed that anyone reads what I write.  It makes me really proud of our city and our heritage that so many people are interested in learning more about it.   Our history is something to be proud of, and as we are redeveloping and revitalizing our City, I think it’s important to take note of where we have been.

I apologize that I don’t get to update more frequently.   I prefer to have well developed posts, rather than quick updates.  Life, work and exploring the city often gets in the way.   I hope to update more often this summer.  I’m making it my goal to write a post at least twice a month for the coming future.  I have lots of research on many streets that I have not published yet, so if you  ever have a question about a certain aspect of Buffalo history, feel free to email me (buffalostreets (at) gmail.com to ask.  

Also, I have been doing a few speaking gigs, presenting on Buffalo history and architecture.  Let me know if you’re interested in having me speak to your group.  

Thanks to everyone who reads the blog and shares it with their friends.  It’s been an adventure to really dig into our city’s history.  I have so much more to learn.  Thanks for coming around for the ride!

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koonsaveKoons Avenue is located in the Emerson Neighborhood of the East Side of Buffalo.  Koons Avenue was named for the Koons brothers, Henry and Edward, who developed the neighborhood along with Judge Titus and Frank and Henry Goodyear.

The Koons brothers, Edward and Henry, were born into a prominent Buffalo family.  Their father, Jacob Koons, was a merchant, political official and a leader in church and charitable affairs.  Jacob came from Europe in 1828 and became a farm hand outside of Albany, new York.  He came to Buffalo in 1832 and established a store (history books refer to it as an emporium)  for the sale of clocks, dry-goods and groceries at Main Street near Genesee.   The store was successful and branched out to a second store in Paris, Ohio.  Jacob Koons left the business in 1848.  He was then involved in local politics.  He was appointed Superintendent of the Poor in 1856.    Jame Koons, along with his wife and six children, lived at 73 East Huron.  Jacob Koons was a member of St. John’s Lutheran on Hickory Street and was involved in building and improving St. John’s Orphan Home.   You can read more about the Orphan Home here.   Mr. Jacob Koons died on May 9, 1889.

Top: Amelia, Henry, and Elisabeth Center:  Jacob and Elisabeth, nee Dellenbaugh Bottom:  Mary, Edward and Louise

The Koons Family
Top: Amelia, Henry, and Elisabeth
Center: Jacob and Elisabeth, nee Dellenbaugh
Bottom: Mary, Edward and Louise

Henry Koons was born in Buffalo on October 9, 1838 and was educated in the public schools.  He worked for the American Express Company for two years.   Henry then headed West to learn the trade of tanning with G. Pfisler & Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He returned to Buffalo a few years later.  He worked as a search clerk in the County Clerk’s office from 1865 to 1871, engaging in abstracting and tracing titles.  During his time in the clerk’s office, he also started working in the real estate business.   He set up his real estate shop on the 400 block of Main Street.  On June 1, 1884, he formed the firm Henry & Edward Koons, when his brother joined the firm.   Henry boasted that the reason for his success was that his guiding principle was absolute honesty in all business transactions.

Edward Koons was born on October 1, 1861.  He was a schoolmate of Francis Folsom, future wife of President Grover Cleveland.  Edward read law in the office of William Glenney.  His knowledge of law and real estate helped him to become a great success in the real estate business.  He founded and was president of Abstract Title and Mortgage and was director of Buffalo Insurance for more than 50 years.  He was the first Vice President of Buffalo Savings Bank and in 1920 became president of the Chamber of Commerce.

The brothers helped Grover Cleveland become Mayor by managing his campaign.  They were prominent in his campaign for Governor and President as well.  The brothers helped Grover Cleveland become Mayor by managing his campaign.  They were prominent in his campaign for Governor and President as well.

Edward and Henry, along with Judge Titus and Frank and Henry Goodyear, bought a large amount of East Side land and quickly resold it for development.

Sylvanite Gold Mines Kirkland Lake, ONIn 1891, Edward opened the Erie County Guaranteed Search Company, an abstract and title search company.  In 1906, Edward Koons was appointed a member of the commission to revise the City Charter.

The Koons brothers invested their profits in gold mines in Ontario, calling their venture Sylvanite Gold Mines.  Sylvanite is found in the Kirkland Lake Gold District in Canada.  The mine was active until 1961.  Henry Koons never married and died in April 1904 in Buffalo.

Edward married Anna Hengerer, daughter of the founder of Hengerer’s Department Store.  Edward and Anna lived at 1131 Delaware Avenue, which is commonly referred to as the Charles Germain House, after the first resident of the house.

Edward Koons died at eighty-four in the Park Lane Apartments in February 1946.  Edward and Henry are both buried in the Koons plot in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Koons Plot in Forest Lawn

Koons Plot in Forest Lawn

Learn about other streets in the Street Index.

Sources:

  1. Our County and it’s People:  A Descriptive Work on Erie County, New York.  Edited by: Trumen C. White.  The Boston History Company, Published 1898.
  2. Recalling Pioneer Days.  Volume XXVI, Publications of the Buffalo Historical Society.  Edited by Frank H. Severance, 1922.
  3. History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County.  Reinecke & Zesch, Publishers.  Buffalo NY 1898.

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