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loveringLovering Avenue is a street in North Buffalo, running between Hertel Avenue and Taunton Place.  The street is named after Sarah Lovering Truscott as well as her niece and daughter.  The three Lovering women were  influential women of their time in Buffalo.

Sarah Mitchell Lovering Truscott was born in September 1828 and came to Buffalo as a young child with her family from Boston, Massachusetts.  The family traveled to Buffalo via the Erie Canal and lived at 37 Eagle Street, which was one of the most fashionable neighborhoods in the City at the time.  In 1851, Sarah married George Truscott, a banker with Manufactures & Traders Bank (now M&T) who also served as water commissioner.

Mrs. Truscott was considered to be an efficient executive and was very involved in leading numerous charitable causes.  She was a member of the women’s board of Buffalo General Hospital and promoted the nursing school, which was Buffalo’s first training school for nurses.  She helped to organize and was president of the board of Children’s Hospital.

Former Unitarian Church, Eagle and Franklin Streets

Former Unitarian Church, Eagle and Franklin Streets

The Truscott family lived at 340 Delaware Avenue until 1918, when they moved to 335 Delaware Avenue.  The family was active in First Unitarian Church, which was located at the corner of Franklin and Eagle Streets.  The building was remodeled to add a third floor after it ceased to be used for church purposes and still stands, one of the oldest buildings in Buffalo.   The church congregation still exists, having merged with the Universalist Church, worshiping on Elmwood Avenue.  Sarah passed away in 1918 at the age of 90.

Sarah’s niece, Mary Lovering, was considered to be one of the first local gentlewomen to earn her living outside the house – she conducted a dancing school.

Sarah’s daughter, also named Sarah Lovering Truscott, was born in 1857.  Sarah Lovering Truscott was one of the city’s pioneer women in the real estate business.  Sarah was often see riding her bicycle to make a sale.  At the time, bicycles were just coming into fashion, mostly for men.  Many women began to ride bicycles as well, which many men scoffed at.  However, bicycles allowed women a greater freedom and mobility  to travel outside their homes and outside their neighborhoods.  Sarah was involved in many causes including:  assistant treasurer of Woman Suffrage headquarters, member of Buffalo Political Equality Club,  member of the Equal Franchise League, president of Woman’s Civil Service Reform Association of Buffalo, member of the Executive Committee of the Neighborhood House ( a settlement house), and member of the Peace and arbitration Society of Buffalo.  She was also a member of the Twentieth Century Club.  Sarah Lovering Truscott died in November 1943 at age 88.

To learn about other streets, check out the street index.

Sources:

  1. “Few Streets Named by City Government”  Courier Express, February 26, 1954.
  2. “Lovering Avenue Memorial Early Woman Philanthropist”.  Courier-Express, June 23, 1940, p. 3.
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ripleyRipley Place is a short, one-block street on the west side of Buffalo, running between Vermont and Connecticut Streets, near Richmond Avenue.

Mary A. Ripley was a teacher at Central High School from the 1860s through the 1880s.  She was born in Windham, Connecticut in 1831, but grew up in Alden, New York and attended local schools.  She was known around town as one of the few woman who dared in the 1880s to wear her hair short.

mary ripleyMiss Ripley taught for seven years at School 7.  In 1861, she became a member of the faculty at Central High School.  She was determined to make over the school.  At the time, the teachers often had to call in the police to stop the students’ riots.  Miss Ripley asked for the job of taking care of the boys’ study hall, which was where many of the riots originated.  The male teachers doubted she’d be able to handle the boys, but Miss Ripley kept order with little difficulty.  She would tell people her goal was to develop young people’s conduct and character.

In 1867, Miss Ripley published a volume of poems.  She also wrote a textbook of Parsing Lessons for small school room use and a book titled Household Service.  Many considered Miss Ripley a talented poet and writer; however, her heart was truly dedicated towards her students.  She made long lasting impacts on her students.

Several of her poems were featured in magazines.  The following comes from the Magazine of Poetry and Literary Review, Volume 6:

ripley poem

When the State Normal School opened in Albany, Miss Ripley was summoned there to become one of its first teachers.  She went to Albany to teach for a few years, but missed her old school so she returned to Buffalo.  She taught at Central until 1888.

Miss Ripley received many honors in her years teaching.  During the Civil War, at a Washington’s Birthday celebration, she was seated with former President Millard Fillmore.  In 1886, for her 25th anniversary of teaching at Central, she was given a gold watch and roses.  For her retirement, she was given a diamond ring from “Miss Ripley’s Boys and Girls”.  They formed the Mary A. Ripley Association, which met for several years.  Miss Ripley passed away in 1893.

Mary Ripley Library in the Union Hall.  Source:  WNY Heritage

Mary Ripley Library in the Union Hall. Source: WNY Heritage

The Mary A. Ripley Memorial Library was established in the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union building.  Miss Ripley was a member of the Board of Directors of the Union.  The Ripley Memorial Library was furnished at a cost of $2,000 and contained 500 volumes when it first opened.  The Ripley Memorial Library was established with the Public Libraries division of the University of the State of New York.  The library was widely used as a place to read and study.

The Women’s Educational and Industrial Union was established in 1884 by Harriet Townsend.  We’ll get to more about the Townsend men and Townsend Street on another day, but it’s women’s history month, so we’ll talk about her today!  Mrs. Townsend was made the CEO of the organization due to her intelligence, vision and management skills.  She had no children, which allowed her to work full time for the advancement of women, advocating for women’s rights all of her life.  The Union building was located on Delaware Ave at Niagara Square (site of the City Court Building) in the former Babcock house, which was later demolished to build a larger building.  During the dedication ceremony of the new building, Miss Ripley recited a poem she had written.

Membership into the Union was $1. Union reports stated “We no longer listen to the selfish moralist who cries ‘Let the woman stay in her home, her only safe haven'”, and that “it is not, an association of benevolent, well-to-do women, joined for the purpose of reaching down to help the poor and persecuted women, but a Union of all classes and conditions of women”.  The concept was unique at the time.

Union Building on Niagara Square c. 1890.  Source:  WNY Heritage

Union Building on Niagara Square c. 1890. Source: WNY Heritage

The Union building contained the first gymnasium for women in Buffalo, kitchen space for instruction in nutrition and cooking, and provided classes on various topics not provided in public schools.  The Union gave scholarships to women to attend Bryant and Stratton and trained women for low wage jobs, such as cooks, domestics, and seamstresses.   The Union taught members how to navigate the bureaucracy of government.  The Union lobbied to establish equal guardianship rights for women in case of divorce.  The Union successfully got a women appointed to the School Board and fought for rights for all women.

The Union dissolved in 1915, finding that its work was finished – most of its groundbreaking programs had been adopted by educational, governmental and civic organizations.  These Women’s Union began programs we take for granted today such as vocational education, physical education, night school, free kindergartens, probation officers, Legal Aid, etc.  The building then became Townsend Hall, part of the University at Buffalo and was the college’s first College of Arts and Sciences, named after Harriet Townsend.  The building was razed in 1959 after it was destroyed by fire.  The Townsend Hall name was transferred to a building on South Campus.

Learn about other streets in the Street Index.

Sources:

  1. “Ripley Place is Memorial To Beloved Central High Teacher” Courier Express Oct 5, 1941, sec 5 p 3
  2. “Streets Have Historical Link” Buffalo Courier Express. Dec 7 1952 p 7-8
  3. The Women’s Educational and Industrial Union of Buffalo.  Compiled by Mrs. Frederick J. Shepard.
  4. “Harriet A. Townsend:  The Women’s Union.”  Susan Eck.  Western New York Heritage Press.
  5. The Magazine of Poetry, A Monthly Review.  Charles Wells Moulton.  Buffalo NY 1894.

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