Archive for May, 2022


Roehrer Avenue

Roehrer Avenue runs between Best and East Ferry Streets in the Kingsley Neighborhood of the East Side of Buffalo.  The land where the street is now was once owned by John Roehrer.  He owned most of the land between Jefferson, Best, Humboldt Parkway and Ferry Streets.  In addition to Roehrer Avenue, he also developed Wohlers Avenue, Portage Street and Celtic Place.  Peter Wohlers (sometimes spelled Wahlers) was also a part of the Best Street Land Company, hence the name of Wohlers Avenue.


John Roehrer.  Source:  Buffalo and the German Community

John Roehrer was born in Buffalo on October 27, 1855.  His father, Johann Georg Roehrer, was a Bavarian immigrant and his mother, Margarethe Herbst, was American-born.  Mr. Roehrer attended local public schools, the German Evangelical Lutheran parish school, and the Bryant & Stratton Business College.  Johann owned and operated a brewery on Best Street.  John’s first job was at the brewery.  Because of business panics, the company made little money and there was no inheritance left for John.

Mr. Roehrer married Mary Louise Beckman in 1880.  John worked at the Schoellkopf Tannery, where he made $6 a week.  After he got married, he asked for a raise.  The tannery was unable to meet his demands so he left and went into business for himself.  He took over an inn and restaurant, which he ran for 8 years.  In 1884, he organized the Broadway Belt Line Land Company, leaving the hospitality business and entered the real estate business.  He also organized the Best Street Land Company and later the Glenwood Land Company.  The associations purchased and subdivided properties on the East Side of the City.  Mr. Roehrer oversaw the building of the first houses on East Utica Street, Glenwood Avenue and other cross streets.

In 1889, he partnered with Mr. Albert Ziegele, Jr, a brewery owner, to establish the firm of Roehrer & Company Insurance Brokers.  Mr. Roehrer was said to be successful in his business dealings because he was always fair and honest.  He worked with craftsmen and laborers to build the homes they would sell.  Mr. Roehrer would then helped his workers be able to build and own houses of their own as well.  This was unique at the time, as many laborers could not afford to own a home.

roehrer house

Roehrer House to the left of image, with the commercial building in front of the house. The entrance of the house is through what used to be a side door. The house has been subdivided into multiple units.

The Roehrer family originally lived on Maple Street.  In 1891, he built a large home at 454 East Utica, at the corner of Roehrer Street.  The house is still standing, but was moved to the rear of the lot in 1920 so a commercial building could be built on Utica.  The house now has a Roehrer Street address.  The Roehrers had one daughter, Grace.

roehrer graveMr. Roehrer was a 32nd Degree Mason, a member of the Modestia Lodge No 343, Order of the Free Masons and the Zuleika Grotto No. 10.  He was a prominent member of the Buffalo Sangerbund (a singing society), and served as treasurer of their association.   He was also a member of Central Presbyterian Church.  Mr. Roehrer died in 1928.  He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

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.

Don’t forget, tours are coming up!  This coming Saturday, May 14th is the first of the season.  1pm meeting outside of Public Espresso at the Hotel Lafayette, 391 Washington Street Buffalo 14203.  Rain or shine!  Feel free to just show up!  For more info and additional dates, click here.  Hope to see some of you soon!


  • Smith, H. Katherine.  “Roehrer Avenue Honors Area Owner’s Memory”.  Buffalo Courier-Express.  May 28, 1939, pg L8.
  • Mueller, Jacob.  Buffalo and Its German Community.  German-American Historical and Biographical Society.  1911-12.

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Hi friends – we are kicking off tours for the season!  This season, I will be giving two tours.  The tours build off my unique perspective and experience as a historian and urban planner that will show glimpses of both the city we once were and the city we are becoming.  


Discover Downtown – Then and Now.  This tour will focus on the area and buildings around Lafayette Square, Niagara Square and Roosevelt Plaza.  We’ll take a look at how this area became the central hub of Downtown Buffalo, looking at the past and at some of the new developments happening in the area.  This tour will include about 1.5 miles of walking.  We will meet at 1pm outside of Public Espresso in the Hotel Lafayette at 391 Washington Street, Buffalo NY 14203.  The tours will be a loop and will end close to the starting point.  Here is the facebook link for the Discover Downtown – Then and Now tours:  https://www.facebook.com/events/946865436001874/946865439335207

Discover Downtown – Then and Now will run on the following dates:

      • Saturday May 14th, 1pm at 391 Washington Street, Buffalo NY 14203
      • Sunday July 17th, 1pm at 391 Washington Street, Buffalo NY 14203
      • Saturday September 10th, 1pm at 391 Washington Street, Buffalo NY 14203

Discover Lower Main Street.  A new tour for this season!  This tour will focus on Lower Main Street and the former canal district.  We’ll take a look back at the past, but also talk about how urban renewal and highway construction shaped the area and at some of the new developments happening in the area.  This tour will include about 1.5 miles of walking and one set of about 15 stairs.  We will meet at 1pm outside of Tim Hortons in HarborCenter at 1 Scott Street, Buffalo NY 14203.  The tours will be a loop and will end close to the starting point.  Here is the facebook link for the Discover Lower Main Street tours:  https://www.facebook.com/events/732763641253479/732763654586811 

Discover Lower Main Street will run on the following dates:

      • Saturday June 11th, 1pm at 1 Scott Street, Buffalo NY 14203
      • Sunday August 14th, 1pm at 1 Scott Street, Buffalo NY 14203
      • Sunday October 9, 1pm at 1 Scott Street, Buffalo NY 14203

All tours will be free, but donations will be graciously accepted.  All money received will go directly into continuing to build up Discovering Buffalo, One Street at a Time.  Can’t make a tour but would like to contribute?  You can contribute via paypal here:  https://paypal.me/akepps or by venmo @akepps83 

Street parking in Downtown is free on weekends, or there are several pay parking lots near both locations. Both meet up locations are only one block away from the Metro Rail – you’d get off at Lafayette Square Station for the Discover Downtown – Then and Now Tour, or at Erie Canal Harbor/Canalside Station for the Discover Lower Main tour.  

You can RSVP by emailing buffalostreets@gmail.com or on the facebook events pages.   Any updates to the tours will be posted on the facebook page.

As always, thank you all for your support and comments.  I’m looking forward to seeing some of you in person this summer on tours!   


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