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jones streetJones Street is a street in the Seneca-Babcock neighborhood of the East Side, running between Clinton Street and Lyman Street.  Historically, the street went one block further north to Howard Street and one block south to Seneca Street.  The street is named after a prominent Buffalo family who once had a pork and beef business on the site.

miles jones pb

Source: History and Genealogy of the Ancestors and Descendants of Captain Israel Jones

Miles Jones was born in Park-Hempstead, Connecticut, on May 20, 1804. His parents were Elizabeth Merrill and Marquis Jones. The Jones ancestors had lived in America since the Colonial Times. Miles was apprenticed to a shoemaker in the Village of Fredonia, where he learned the shoemaking trade. Miles came to Buffalo around 1820.

Mr. Jones married Elizabeth Roop in April 1829. Elizabeth was born in Buffalo in January 1810. Her father, John Roop, had come to Buffalo from Germany by way of Pennsylvania. During the Burning of Buffalo in 1813, Mr. Roop was murdered by Native Americans. Elizabeth was orphaned and taken in by Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Bidwell of Black Rock. I couldn’t find what happened to her mother, but sources list her and her brother as orphans. Once grown, Elizabeth was courted by the Bidwells’ son General Daniel D. Bidwell. However, she preferred Miles Jones, so she became Mrs. Jones.

The Jones family first lived on Delaware Avenue, where the County Jail is now. In 1835, moved to a steamboat (temperance) hotel that they ran on Lloyd Street near Prime Street. This hotel was one of the best known in town for those waiting for transportation on the Canal or Lake. At the time, the Canal area was still a place of upstanding businesses and the heart of the Village of Buffalo. It had not yet become the seedy part of town. The Joneses quickly became a well-respected part of Buffalo society life. Miles was elected First Ward Supervisor in 1839, 1840, 1841, 1851, and 1852.

In 1844, Miles Jones was made an inspector of beef and pork. He established Miles Jones Pork & Beef Wholesale business. The business was located near the canal at the corner of Prime and Hanover Streets. Mr. Jones was a pioneer in the pork packing industry. His pork packing house was looked upon as a marvel of its day. Wondering how pork was sold back then? In 1846, Miles advertised in the paper for sale of “500 pork barrels, 800 smoked hams, 600 smoked shoulders, 2000 pickled hams and shoulders, 100 barrels of Mess Pork, 200 barrels of Prime Pork, and a large quantity of odds and ends.”

The family moved from the canal area to 14 Green Street. Green Street is a small cobblestone street off of Washington Street that is basically just a cobblestone driveway into a parking lot these days. You might think the road was lost because of the construction of the Thruway. However, the street was already consumed by William Fargo’s American Express, which used the land for their shipping sheds.

miles jonesIn 1854, the Jones family built a large house at the corner of Chippewa and Georgia Streets. This was on the location of the Reservation Line, which divided the New York State lands from the Holland Land Company land. The Reservation Line was established in 1786 when the land was reserved for New York State.  At the edge of the reservation was where Peter Porter laid out the original settlement of Black Rock, with the streets named after states and numbers.  When Mr. Jones purchased the property, there was nothing but fields to the west of their home. The Jones Family house was originally numbered 135 but was later changed to 186 West Chippewa. The Jones property also extended to Ninth Street. The Jones family owned two houses on Ninth Street and another house on Cary Street. Their carriage house associated with their Chippewa Street home was also located at the dead-end of Cary Street. In 1869, residents of Ninth Street petitioned Common Council to change the name to Prospect Avenue, which was granted by June of 1870.

The Jones family lived with their twelve children, two domestic servants, and a carriage driver. The children attended Buffalo Public Schools. Unfortunately, two of the Jones children died in childhood. The Jones family owned much of the block, so they’d subdivide their property to build homes for their many children as they grew up.

  • Helen M. was born in January 1830 and married Oliver Bruce in 1848. She had four children – Isabella, Helen, Miles, and Oliver. Her husband died in 1855, and Helen married David F. Day. The family lived at the Day Mansion at 69 Cottage Street. She died in May 1890. The mansion was later used by the Salvation Army as a Home for Young Women but was later demolished.
  • Marshall N was born in September 1831. Marshall was married three times – to Harriet A Beach, Rosanna Quinn, and Hulda Smith. Marshall had six children – Miles, William, Freddie, Richard, Eva, and Hulda. Marshall and his family lived for several years in the family homestead on Chippewa Street. In 1880, he moved to Main Street near Bryant.
  • Chapin William (sometimes went by William) was born in October 1833. He married Caroline (Carrie) Cox in August 1859. They had 5 children – Kate, Marshall, Roop, Allen, and Elizabeth. Chapin and his family lived near the rest of the family, at the corner of Cary Street and Morgan (now South Elmwood).
  • Sarah Stanard was born in November 1835. She married Lafayette E. Mulford in June 1865. They had one child, Henry Jones Mulford, and lived at 90 Bryant Street.
  • Miles was born in October 1838. He died at age 6 in 1844.
  • Elizabeth Roop was born in April 1840. She married Allen M Adams in June 1863. They had 7 children – Allen, James, Frank, Elizabeth, Miles, Helen, and Jay. Their family lived at 1211 Seneca Street.
  • Dencie was born in 1842. She died just before her second birthday in 1844.
  • Henry Roop was born in March 1844. Henry and his wife lived at 13 Ninth Street (which became 25 Prospect when the street name changed). They had two children. In 1874, they moved into 267 Georgia Street, where they lived for 14 years before moving up Niagara Street near the corner of Rhode Island.
  • Elsie Louise was born in January 1847 and married Charles H. White in 1868. They had two children. She and her family lived at the family homestead on Chippewa. After the house was old, they moved up to Allen Street. She died in June 1908.
  • Isabella Clara Jones was born in May 1848 and married Frank H. Ransom in December 1869. They had two children. She died suddenly in Rome, Italy, on vacation with her family in 1885.
  • Ida Francis was born in April 1850 and married John Siver in July 1870. Mr. Siver worked at the Lackawanna steel plant (which became Bethlehem Steel). They had eight children – John, Burton, Eva, Ida, Leroy, William, George, and Elsie. The family lived at 82 Fields in South Buffalo.
  • Eva Imogen was born in Sept 1853 and married George M. Trefts in February 1876. They had three children – George, John, and Chilion. They lived at 25 Prospect when her brother moved out. She died in October 1899.

The youngest brother of Miles Jones, Merlin Willard Jones, also came to Buffalo to work with Miles in the pork business. Merlin lived across Prospect from the rest of the family at 28 Prospect.

church of the messiah main street

Church of the Messiah Alter on Main Street. Source: Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo.

The Jones family were universalists. They attended the Church of Messiah which was located on Washington Street near Swan. In 1866, the church moved to a new building on Main between Chippewa and Huron.  The Jones family donated money for the new church for a pulpit made by the Thompson Hersee factory of Buffalo. Miles Jones was a member of the Hiram Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons. Mr. Jones died in 1869 at age 64 after being confined to his house due to his ill health. Despite this, he insisted on going to the polls to vote on election day, his final outing. He is buried in Forest Lawn

Miles and Elizabeth’s sons Henry and Marshall had entered the pork packing business. When Miles retired, the business was continued by Henry and Marshall under the name Miles Jones’ Sons. The Jones property near the canal was sold to the DL&W Railroad. At that time, the plant moved to Clinton Street near the corner of Metcalfe Street. This area was near the Buffalo stockyards on William Street, so it was a popular area for meatpacking.  Buffalo’s meatpacking industry was second only to Chicago.  When Miles Jones’ Sons business closed, Jones Street was opened through the property in 1882.

georgia apartments

Lasalle Apartments. Source: Author.

The Jones family house on Chippewa was listed for sale in 1878. It was listed for sale again in 1885 as “a large 2.5 story house with lot, 152 feet frontage on Chippewa and Georgia Streets, will be sold at a bargain.” Similar to the case with the Fargo Mansion, just six blocks away, there was little demand for such a large house. The area of the West Village was shifting towards multi-family uses. In 1889, it was used as a boarding house with furnished rooms for let. It was listed for sale again in 1891 and 1892. The last owner of the house, Charles Beckwith, had listed the house for sale but died in the home in 1895. Following Mr. Beckwith’s death, it was demolished to build the LaSalle Apartments. The LaSalle apartments opened on the site in 1898.

Over time, the West Village neighborhood changed. Old housing began to be demolished. Single-family residential structures made way for commercial buildings such as the Lasalle Apartments which replaced the Jones family home or the Roanoke Hotel at Elmwood and Chippewa, built in 1901 for the Pan American Exposition. The building is now home to Evergreen Health Services. The Hutchinson Homestead was replaced with Hutchinson Technical Central High School (Hutch-Tech) in 1913.

The area’s property tax base declined, partly because of the demolition of houses and an increase in privately developed parking lots. In particular, parking demand increased significantly from the Federal Office Building, which opened at 200 Delaware Avenue in 1971. The Thaddeus J. Dulski Federal Office Building houses 50 federal agencies and a workforce of 1,200 people. Much of the parking was on illegal, unlicensed lots.  These illegal lots provided free parking for federal government employees. The government emptied the building in 2005. It was sold to private developers and renovated into The Avant, a mixed-use building with a hotel and condos.

In 1974, the West Village Community Association organized to bring awareness to the neighborhood’s historic value and help to revitalize and rehabilitate properties in the area. During the 1970s, 62 of the West Village’s 166 residential structures had been renovated. These renovated structures provided 265 improved housing units in the neighborhood. In addition, the Association held workshops on recycling older houses to help homeowners improve their buildings and offer suggestions and resources.

The Association saw the detrimental impact of the parking lots in the Georgia-Prospect Street area and wanted to turn the area into a robust residential neighborhood. In the summer and fall of 1979, the Lower West Side Resource & Development Corporation conducted a preliminary planning study. One of the recommendations included infill housing for the vacant lots, particularly those in the Georgia-Prospect area. Improvements to traffic patterns were another measure to improve the neighborhood conditions. Georgia Street would be made two-way; West Chippewa between South Elmwood and Whitney Place would be made one-way eastbound; Prospect Avenue between Huron and Georgia would be one-way toward the southeast; Huron Street between Niagara and Elmwood would be two-way. This was to be designed as a calming traffic measure to lessen the intrusion of downtown traffic using the neighborhood streets to zoom up to get to the highway. Today, West Chippewa and Georgia Street are one-way heading west and southwest; Huron is one-way heading east; Prospect (now Rabin Terrace) is now two-way.

west village

Map of West Village. Red Boundary shows the National Historic District. Orange Boundary shows the Local Preservation District. Blue boundary shows the Georgia- Prospect Urban Renewal Area.

In 1979, the West Village Historic District became a City of Buffalo Local Historic District. The local district is bounded by South Elmwood, Tracy, Carolina, Niagara, and Huron Street. In addition, properties on the north side of Carolina Street between Tracy and Niagara were included in the local district.

In July 1983, the West Village Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The boundary for the National Historic District is slightly smaller than that of the local district. The properties being looked at for the Georgia-Prospect Urban Renewal Project were left out of the National Historic District.

In February 1982, the City of Buffalo adopted an Urban Renewal Plan for the Lower West Side (Georgia-Prospect) area. Cannon Planning & Development was retained to establish a formal planning and development framework for the West Village. The plan attempted to provide community growth by assembling vacant and underutilized land to convert into productive residential uses. The program included two areas: the first Virginia-Carolina – the area between Carolina, Virginia, West, and Fell Alley. The second area was Georgia-Prospect – the two-block area bounded by Chippewa, Georgia, Huron, and South Elmwood. We will concern ourselves with the Georgia-Prospect area as this is the former land of Miles Jones.

Properties within the urban renewal area were surveyed by the Lower West Side Resource & Development Corporation. A second survey was independently completed by Cannon Design. Surveys were exterior only, with interior inspections only made on sample properties. The results of the survey indicated that 55.9% of parcels in the area were open or dilapidated. Most of the land slated for acquisition consisted of vacant land (with parking on it). The plan included demolition of all structures and improvement on properties except 241, 245, 247, and 267 Georgia Street, if rehab proved feasible for those structures(which it was).

As part of the urban renewal project, the following properties were demolished. Each of these buildings was listed as contributing to the West Village Local Historic District.  Photos show what the buildings looked like in the late 1970s/early 80s before demolition:

  1. 193 West Huron Street – a one-story residence constructed in 1872 with a front addition built in 1910. The building was constructed in a Second Empire motif with a false Mansard roof with rounded dormer windows. The property had a weird shape due to its frontages on both Huron and Prospect.

    193 Huron

    193 Huron. Source: NYSHPO

  2. 11 Prospect – a 1 and a half story brick Italianate foreman’s cottage built in 1854. It was initially constructed for Robert Denton, a piano turner who became a partner in Denton, Cottier, and Daniels. This Buffalo music store is still in business today. This property had an unusual orientation due to its location on the Reservation Line and the angle of Prospect Street. The house was built oriented towards Huron Street. The building’s last use was as a rooming house.

    11 prospect

    11 Prospect. Source: NYSHPO

  3. 17 Prospect – a two 1/2 story Shingle Style cottage built around 1910. This house had a unique orientation due to its location along the Reservation Line and the street angle. The building was built askew, with no distinct orientation. It faced neither Huron Street nor Prospect Ave.

    17 prospect

    17 Prospect

  4. 28 Prospect – a two-story Italianate-style house built in 1866. The house’s original owner was Miles Jones, and the house was occupied by Merlin, his brother.

    28 prospect

    28 Prospect. Source: NYSHPO

  5. 32 Prospect – a 1 and a half story wood Frame Italianate cottage built in 1861.

    32 Prospect

    32 Prospect. Source: NYSHPO

  6. 53 Cary Street – a 2 and a half story brick carriage house with gable roof built in 1852. The property had a Cary Street address, but the building faced Chippewa Street. It was originally built as a part of Eliza Abell’s house at 166 W Chippewa. The main house was demolished in the 1960s to build Dewey’s Diner, which was also demolished. The carriage house was vacant before it was purchased by the city.

    53 Cary Street

    53 Cary. Source: NYSHPO

  7. 55 Cary Street – a two-story wood-frame Italianate cottage built in 1854. It was typical of the working-class homes that were built in the 1850s in this part of Buffalo.

    55 Cary

    55 Cary. Source: NYSHPO

  8. 67 Cary Street – a two-and-a-half-story brick Italianate residence built in 1854. Its last use was as apartments.

    67 Cary

    67 Cary. Source: NYSHPO

  9. 69-71 Cary Street – a two-story carriage house built in 1854 at the dead-end of Cary Street. This building served as the carriage house for the Jones family home. It was later converted into apartments.

    69-71 Cary

    69-71 Cary. Source: NYSHPO

  10. 166 South Elmwood – a two-and-a-half-story brick Italianate residence built in 1865. The house was later converted to apartments and had a concrete block addition for tavern use. The original owner of the house was John R. Hazard, a coal dealer. The original address for the site was 144 Morgan Street before Morgan Street was changed to South Elmwood.

    166 S Elmwood

    166 S. Elmwood. Source: NYSHPO

  11. 192 South Elmwood – a two-and-a-half-story brick Italianate-style cottage built in 1854. The original owner was Milton Randall, a steamboat agent. A front addition was constructed in the front of the house for tavern use. The rear was converted into apartments.

    192 South Elmwood

    192 S. Elmwood. Source: NYSHPO

Five houses within the urban renewal area were saved and are still extant.  The following properties within the area have been rehabilitated, with the black and white photos showing the buildings in the late 70s/early 80s, and the colored photos showing conditions today:

  1. 241 Georgia Street – a two-story Italianate-style house built in 1869. The house was initially built by Rueben Sparks. The house is divided into four apartment units.

    241 Georgia

    241 Georgia (Source: NYSHPO)

  2. 245 Georgia Street – a three-story Second Empire style house built in 1870. Originally built by L.A. Hamilton. The house is currently divided into three apartment units.

    245 Georgia2

      246 Georgia (Source: NYSHPO)

  3. 247 Georgia St – a two-story Italianate-style house built in 1866. The house was originally built for Robert E Skillings, a livery operator. The porch collapsed in 1977. The building is currently divided into two apartment units.
    247 Georgia

    247 Georgia before. Source: NYSHPO 

    247 Georgia_now

    247 Georgia today. Source: Author

  4. 267 Georgia Street – a three-story Second Empire style house with a mansard roof built in 1874. The building was home to Miles Jones’ son. The building is currently divided into five apartment units.
    267 Georgia

    267 Georgia Before.  Source: NYSHPO

    267 Georgia

    267 Georgia Street today. Source: Author.

  5. 3 Prospect Avenue – a two-and-a-half-story Queen Anne Style residence built in the 1890s. The house is oriented towards Huron Street and has been subdivided into three apartment units.
    3 prospect

    3 Prospect (now 3 Rabin Terrace) before.  Source:  NYSHPO

    3 prospect now

    3 Rabin Terrace today

infill houses 2

Infill Houses along Rabin Terrace

As part of the urban renewal project, infill housing was built. The city paid for land assembly and infrastructure. Thirty-two new housing units were constructed in the Georgia-Prospect area by Marrano Homes. These were the first new homes to be built in the area in 30 years. The houses were sold at market rates and ranged in price from $45,000 to $60,000 ($133,800 – $178,500 in today’s dollars). Similar houses in the suburbs at the time were going for $85,000 ($252,800). The houses are small, charming, and have a design reminiscent of the Italianate houses in the area. This differed from other new housing built in the city that mostly resembled suburban ranch-style homes. These houses are generally looked at as a successful infill project.

infill houses

Examples of Infill houses in this area

rabin terrace

Rabin terrace Dedication. Source: Buffalo News.

In 1996 Lower Prospect Avenue was renamed Rabin Terrace in honor of Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin. He was assassinated on November 4, 1995. Prime Minister Rabin had been working towards Israeli-Palestinian peace, and signed several historic agreements with Palestinian leadership as part of the Oslo Accords.  He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, along with Yasser Arafat.  He was assassinated following a rally in support of the Oslo Accords by an extremist Yigal Amir, who opposed the terms of the accords.  The square in Tel Aviv where he was assassinated was renamed Rabin Square in his honor.  There is also a walkway named after Rabin in the America-Israel Friendship Grove in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York(note from Angela, this is my favorite park!).

20211031_151918

Recent Image of Rabin Terrace sign.

The Rabin Terrace street signs in Buffalo went up on the first anniversary of his death.  Today, these infill houses sell for $380,000-$400,000.  Many of the residents have fantastic gardens, and this is a popular area for Garden Walk each year.

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:

  • “Monument to a Peacemaker.” Buffalo News November 5, 1996, p.B-4.
  • “Death of Miles Joes, Esq.” Buffalo Commercial. January 4, 1869. P2.
  • Sheldon, Grace Carew. “Buffalo Of the Olden Time: Henry Roop Jones.” The Buffalo Times.
  • Sheldon, Grace Carew. “Buffalo of the Olden Time: Miles Jones.” The Buffalo Times. Series: December 12, 1910, p11, December 11, 1910. P 40, December 9, 1910, p 15.
  • City of Buffalo Community Development Department. “Lower West Side (Georgia-Prospect) Urban Renewal Plan. February 23, 1982.
  • National Parks Service. Certification Report. West Village Historic District. July 1983.
  • “Buffalo Common Council: Name of Streets” Buffalo Courier. December 7, 1869. p2.
  • Langdon, Philip. “Replace Some Illegal Parking Lots With Homes, W. Side Group Urges.” Buffalo Courier-Express. 1979.
  • Buffalo Courier-Express, April 11, 1982. p 13
  • Haddad, Charles. “38 New West Side Houses Planned”. Buffalo Courier-Express. July 17, 1982. p1.
  • Jones, Asahel Wellington.  History and Genealogy of the Ancestors and Descendants of Captain Israel Jones.  Laning Company:  Madison, Wisconsin. 1902

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