Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November 13th, 2021

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.  

hutchinson property BNHV

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.

hutchinson child

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.  

sheppard house

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.  

20211031_152658

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.  

hutchinson house

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

 

hutchinson gardens

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.

hutchinson - Buffalo Sunday Morning News

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.

image_4-166-608w

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.”

hutchinson property

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
homes on johnson park

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.

Beautiful Buffalo Homes

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.

5ef38587dbf36.image

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.

hutchinson grave

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.  

Read Full Post »

Hidden Waters blog

Companion blog for the book "Hidden Waters of NYC"

DenCity

Urban History Blog

Hoping for a Tail Wind

Because I probably brought too much gear.

priorhouse blog

Photos, art - and a little bit of LIT.

Sheepie Niagara

The most popular sheep in Niagara Falls

Nonprofit AF

Exploring the fun and frustrations of nonprofit work

Gather by Image

An anagram. And a reason to write... to Grieve... to Heal