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langLang Avenue is located between Bailey Avenue and East End Avenue, between Genesee Street and Delavan Avenue, in the Schiller Park neighborhood of the East Side of Buffalo.  Portions of the street are paved in brick.

Lang Avenue is named after Gerhard Lang, owner of one of Buffalo’s premiere and largest breweries at the turn of the 19th Century, the Gerhard Lang Brewery.

langportraitGerhard Lang was born in Germany in 1835.  He came to Buffalo in 1848 at the age of 14 with his father, Jacob Lang.  Jacob Lang was a butcher and Gerhard learned English while working in the butcher shop.   Around 1862, he assumed control of the Born brewery at the corner of Genesee and Jefferson streets.   Mr. Lang married Born’s daughter and assumed control of the brewery after a few years of marriage.

In 1875, he purchased the a site at Jefferson and Best Streets to expand his facilities.   He toured other breweries across the country to determine the best design for his facility. The Gerhard Lang Brewery was located on the entire block bounded by Jefferson, Best, Berlin and Dodge Streets was the largest brewery in the State outside of New York City.   Berlin Street was renamed Pershing after WWI (in 1920).

breweryThe Lang Brewery was called “the Palace Brewery”, because it was built with a typical Victorian opulence.   Once the new brewery was built, Mr. Lang used the old brewery at Jefferson and Genesee Street for bottling works and malting house.    The annual capacity of the Gerhard Lang Brewery was over 300,000 barrels.  Lang’s beer was known all over the country for its excellence in quality, purity and wholesomeness.

By 1887, the brewery employed 110 men and distributed to Virginia, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and New York City.

In addition to the brewery, Mr. Lang served as Alderman of the Sixth Ward and was a Trustee in the Western Savings Bank.  Mr. Lang was a member at St. Louis Roman Catholic Church and donated one of the stain glass windows to the church.

lang graveGerhard Lang died in 1892 and is buried in the United German and French Cemetery in Cheektowaga.  After his death, Edwin G.S. Miller took over the brewery, along with Jacob Lang, Gerhard’s son.

Before Prohibition, the Lang Brewery also owned many saloons that sold its brews.  It is said that Lang’s owned more saloons and beer gardens than anyone in Buffalo, as many as 80 at one point.

Before the automobile, horses were used to transport beer around town.  The brewery kept 500 horses in a stable in Fort Erie to distribute Lang’s beer.

During Prohibition, Lang’s produced dairy and soda products.  There was Lang’s Dairy & Creamery, Lang’s Bakery and products like “Hyan-Dry” brand soda and “Liberty Brew”, a malt extract beverage.  After Prohibition, Lang’s was one of the first to start back up.  However, the market had changed, and the new regulations and taxes made it difficult for local breweries to stay competitive.

The Gerhard Lang Brewery shut down in January of 1949 after 109 years in business.

Langs-Brewery-Match-Safes-Gerhard-Lang-Brewery_62722-2

Gerhardt Street, located on a portion of where the Brewery was located was likely also named after Gerhard Lang, although I was not able to find any specifics linking this together.

To learn about other streets, check out the Street Index.

Sources:

  1. A History of the City of Buffalo:  Its Men and Institutions.  Published by the Buffalo Evening News:  Buffalo, 1908.
  2. History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County:  With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers.  Edited by H. Perry Smith, D. Mason & Co Publishers, Syracuse NY 1884.
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Hopkins Street in South Buffalo

Hopkins Street in South Buffalo

Hopkins Street is a north-south thoroughfare in South Buffalo.  The road leads from South Park north towards the Buffalo River.  Historically this area was a mix of commercial and industrial uses, connecting the steel mills to the adjacent South Buffalo neighborhoods.

Hopkins Street is named for Brigadier General Timothy S. Hopkins, a War of 1812 general.    Hopkins Road in Amherst is also named General Hopkins.

The Hopkins family descended from Stephen Hopkins, who came over on the Mayflower.  Oceanus Hopkins was born aboard the Mayflower.  Most history books list Oceanus as a son; however, Hopkins family lore indicates that the family was bad at latin, she was a girl and should have been thus named Oceana.  A second Stephen Hopkins signed the Declaration of Independence and Ichabod Hopkins signed the Constitution in Philadelphia on behalf of Massachusetts    Ichabod Hopkins had a son, Timothy Soveral Hopkins.

Timothy S. Hopkins

Timothy S. Hopkins

Timothy S. Hopkins was born in Massachusetts in 1776.  He arrived in Clarence at the age of 22, arriving by foot.  He then purchased land in 1804 from the Holland Land Company.  Mr. Hopkins is said to have grown the first wheat on the Holland Purchase, on a farm in Clarence Hollow.   When it was ready to be ground, he had to travel to Street’s mill at Chippewa, a village that became a part of the City of Niagara Falls, Ontario.  This was a distance of 40 miles!  The trip took four days and included a ferry ride from Black Rock, where only one family resided – the family of the ferry owner!  Timothy married his wife Nancy Kerr in Williamsville; their marriage was the first recorded marriage in Erie County.  They settled on Main Street on a farm in Snyder, near where Amherst Central High School is currently located.

Burning of Black Rock, December 1813

Burning of Black Rock, December 1813

During the War of 1812, Mr. Hopkins rose through the rank to Brigadier General.   He was an important part of the Battle Of Buffalo (also known as Battle of Black Rock), where he was stationed in Black Rock.  Following the war, he resigned from his post.

In 1819, he became the first Supervisor of the Town of Amherst and later served as Justice of the Peace.  His reputation spread through the area, and he was elected Sheriff of Erie County.  He was later elected to the New York State Assembly.

The Cayuga Street Stone School

The Cayuga Street Stone School

The Cayuga Street stone school-house in Williamsville was built by Timothy S. Hopkins in 1840 and still stands in Williamsville at 72 Cayuga.  He died January 23, 1853.

Nelson Hopkins grave

Nelson Hopkins grave

Nelson Kerr Hopkins, Timothy’s son, owned much of the land which included Hopkins Street.  Nelson subdivided the land into building lots and named the street after his father.  Nelson served as President of the Common Council of Buffalo and was New York State Comptroller from 1872 to 1875.  Nelson also organized the City’s first paid fire department and served as fire commissioner for ten years.  Nelson died in 1904 and is buried in Forest Lawn.

Timothy A. Hopkins

Timothy A. Hopkins

Nelson’s brother, Timothy Augustus Hopkins owned the Eagle Hotel in Williamsville, which is now known as the Eagle House.   He also operated a mill near the Eagle House, served as Justice of the Peace and Erie County Sheriff.  Timothy A. Hopkins is responsible for building a bridge over the Erie Canal in the Tonawanda Creek area, and constructing drainage ditches in the northern part of Amherst to reclaim thousands of acres of land that were often covered by spring floods after a dam was placed near the mouth of Tonawanda Creek for canal purpose.  Timothy A. Hopkins passed away in 1894 and is buried in Williamsville Cemetery.

The Hopkins Street area is currently a part of the City of Buffalo South Buffalo Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA).  This study being done by New York State is working to revitalize the neighborhood by cleaning up vacant industrial sites and marketing properties for redevelopment.  More information about the South Buffalo BOA can be found through Buffalo Urban Development Corporation.

Be sure to check out the Street Index to learn about other streets!

Sources:

  1. “Hopkins Street named for 1812 General” Courier Express.  Oct 30 1939, sec 6 p 4.
  2. Larned, Josephus Nelson.  The Progress of the Empire State:  the History of Buffalo.  Published by The Progress of the Empire State Company, New York:  1913.
  3. Smith, Henry Perry.  History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County, Volume 1:  1620-1884.   D. Mason & Co Publishers, Syracuse NY: 1884.

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