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Archive for the ‘East Side’ Category

rohrstreetRohr Street is a street in the Martin Luther King, Jr., Park neighborhood on the East Side of Buffalo.  The street runs between Walden Avenue and Northampton Street, a few blocks from the park.

Rohr Street is named for Mathias Rohr, president of the Volksfreund German Newspaper.  Mr. Rohr was editor of the Volksfreund for 14 years.  Although he wrote his editorials for the paper in his native German, Rohr was 100% proud to be an American.

rohr2Mr. Rohr was born in Germany in 1840.  At the age of 16, he became a teacher in his village of Zemmer. During his school days, Mr. Rohr had heard of a man from his village who had gone to America as a poor teacher and returned to Germany as a rich man.  Mr. Rohr longed for the freedom in America, so he dedicated himself to learn the English language.  At the time, studies outside of the traditional curriculum were forbidden at his school.  He also studied French and German literature, which was helpful in his later job as a journalist.  At the age of 28, he came to America.  A representative of the Central Zeitung, a German newspaper in Buffalo, met him at the dock and offered him a position as editor.  Two years later, he joined the editorial staff of the Buffalo Volksfreund.  Starting in 1883, he also served as a representative for the New York Life Insurance Company of Germania.  In 1904 he became president of the Buffalo Volksfreund.  Under his leadership, the Buffalo Volksfreund became one of the most important German-American newspapers in the country.   In 1913, he sold his interest in the paper.

Ad for the Buffalo Volksfreund from 1891.   The daily newspaper cost 25 cents every 2 weeks, or $6 per year if prepaid.  For this price, the paper would be mailed to readers in the local area in both the United States and Canada.  The weekly version could be sent to Europe or other regions for $2.60 per year.

Ad for the Buffalo Volksfreund from 1891.
The daily newspaper cost 25 cents every 2 weeks, or $6 per year if prepaid. For this price, the paper would be mailed to readers in the local area in both the United States and Canada. The weekly version could be sent to Europe or other regions for $2.60 per year.  The Volksfreund offices were at 14-16 Broadway.

He was a member of the first board of the Buffalo Public library and was an original subscriber to the former Buffalo Orchestra and a contributor to the original music hall.  He was considered a gifted writer and in addition to his journalistic writing, he wrote numerous poems, essays and novellas that were published in newspapers and periodicals.  He published a book of poems in German written about Niagara Falls “On Niagara” in 1900 (which can be read here in German).  He also published a book titled Oreola, the Pearl of the Iroquois and Other Stories of Indian Life.  He served as President of the Broadway Brewing & Malting Company.

rohr

Mr. Rohr married Miss Sophie C. Reichert in 1869.  The couple had 11 children.  Mr. Rohr owned property on Rohr Street, but he never lived there.  His home was at 186 Edward Street, near Virginia.  The house on Edward Street is still standing.  Mr. Rohr was also an active member of the Catholic Church.  In 1874, he was selected as a delegate of the Catholic Union of Buffalo to Rome and Lourdes.  He was also a member of Orpheus, the German Literary Society, and the Knights of Columbus.

rohrgraveMr. Rohr passed away in 1920 and is buried in the United German and French Cemetery in Cheektowaga.

Mr. Rohr’s son Frank was the founder and president of the Broadway Businessmen’s Association.  This group was the organization that abolished the fenced park that was once Lafayette Square.  Under their leadership, Broadway cut through the Square to Main Street.  Since the Holland Land Company had deeded the Lafayette Square property to the City on condition that it be maintained as a park, surrounded by a fence, when traffic congestion had dictated that the road cut through the park, public condemnation notices had to be published in the newspapers of the Netherlands to be read by any surviving persons interested in the Holland Land Company.  Mr.  Frank Rohr also worked with the association to bring the Broadway Auditorium to open.

Sources:

  1. “Rohr Street Memorial of Volksfreund Editor” Courier Express Feb 19, 1939, sec 5
  2.  White, Truman C, ed.  Our County and its People:  A Descriptive Work on Erie County, New York.  The Boston History Company:  1898.
  3. The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County. Published by Reinecke & Zesch.  Buffalo, NY: 1898.
  4. Mueller, Jacob.  Buffalo and Its German Community.  German American Historical Society:  1911-12.

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Often, streets are named after a developer’s family. This is the case for a bunch of streets in the Kensington-Bailey neighborhood on the East Side of Buffalo.  In particular, the streets between Bailey Avenue and Eggert Road, north of the Kensington Expressway are mostly named after the Bickford Family’s first and middle names:

Streets in the Kensington-Bailey neighborhood named by Bickford

Streets in the Kensington-Bailey neighborhood named by Bickford

The following streets were named for Bickford and his family:

  • Alice Ave
  • Bickford Ave
  • Davidson Ave
  • Hastings Ave
  • Phyllis Ave
  • Martha Ave
  • Gail Ave
  • Millicent Ave
  • Edith Ave
  • Godfrey St
  • Leonard St
  • Kay St
  • Janet St
General Bickford and Mary Davidson Wedding, 1904

General Bickford and Mary Davidson Wedding, 1904

Harold C. Bickford was born and raised in Toronto.  He married Mary Davidson in 1904.  Mary and Harold had seven children – Mary, Edward, Phyllis, Beatrice, Millicent, Harold and Faith.  General Bickford served in three major conflicts for the British Army – the Boer War of South Africa (1899-1902), World War I (1914-1918) and the Russian Civil War (1918-1920).  He was stationed in England, South Africa, India and France.  Several of his children were born were born overseas.

General Bickford returned from the war, moved to Buffalo and divorced his wife.  He left her with a nanny and seven children.  Mary died of appendicitis in 1935.  It was reported that the children had a difficult relationship with their father, which may be why he named the streets after them.

General Bickford Grave

General Bickford Grave

General Bickford died in 1956 and is buried in St. James cemetery in Toronto.

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

Sources:

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sattlerSattler Avenue is a short, block-long street in the Schiller Park neighborhood on the East Side of Buffalo.  Sattler Ave runs for a block and a half off of Doat Street, where it dead-ends in Schiller Park.  The street was originally called “Princess Ave” when it was first laid out.  The street is named after John G. Sattler, of Sattler’s Department Store fame.

Mr. Sattler’s father, George Sattler, had come to the County from Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany.  John Sattler was born in East Aurora, but moved to Buffalo during his early childhood. He attended local public schools and Bryant & Stratton business school.

John G. Sattler Shoe Store, 998 Broadway source

John G. Sattler Shoe Store, 998 Broadway
source

At age 15, John G. Sattler got a job at Eckhardt’s department store on Broadway.  His wage was $3/week.  His first solo business venture was a one-man shoe store, located only a few feet from what became Sattler’s best-known establishment.  John’s mother owned the building; the family lived upstairs so he could work all hours of the day.  The store opened in March 1889.  He hung a bell at the front door, and they would run downstairs to assist customers and all times.  he took pride in customer service and would study the behavior of his customers.  If they came in and did not purchase anything, he would ask them why.  If their answer was “you don’t have what I am looking for”, he would go out of his way to order it for them. Mr. Sattler purchased properties adjacent to his store as the business grew.  The business continued to grow and later include clothing.  The original address of the shoe store was 992 Broadway.  In 1900, a larger, modern building was built, with the address of 998 Broadway.

In 1926, the store was reorganized to become Sattler’s Department Store.  At Sattler’s Department Store’s peak, the store employed 800 people.  Mr. Sattler claimed to know them all by name.  Once the store was established in the 1920s, Mr. Sattler allowed his son-in-law, Charles Hann, Jr. to take over the day to day operations.

Mr. Sattler then began to work in real estate.  Mr. Sattler’s first real estate development was on Sattler Avenue, where he had once owned a summer country home.  He saw that the city was beginning to develop towards that direction, so he built houses.  The street was formally dedicated as Sattler Avenue in 1904.   Mr. Sattler also developed the Kenilworth subdivision in Tonawanda in 1908 following the closure of Kenilworth Park race track.

Entranceway at Main and Westfield Road, part of Sattler's Holllywood Subdivision in Snyder

Entranceway at Main Street and Westfield Road, part of Sattler’s Hollywood Subdivision in Snyder

Mr. Sattler’s real estate holdings spread throughout the city – stores, homes and businesses in every section of the City.  He also owned and developed properties Tonawanda and Amherst.  He owned the Lautz Estate, east of the Village of Williamsville and the Hollywood subdivision, which included Westfield and Ivyhurst Roads in Snyder, and the Tennyson Terrace near transit Road.  He built a house for himself at Main Street and Ivyhurst Road in 1919.  While many developers of the time in the suburbs were catering to the rich, Sattler built houses for the working class, who desired modest homes.  Mr. Sattler is responsible for the entranceways on Main Street at Ivyhurst Road and Westfield Road, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sattler Theater on Broadway

Sattler Theater on Broadway

In 1914, Mr. Sattler opened Sattler Theater at 516 Broadway.  Mr. Sattler felt there should be a theater on the East Side of Buffalo; however, the theater was considered to be a failure since it was too far away from the theater district and shopping opportunities.  It was sold in the 1920s and became Basil’s Broadway Theater.  The theater was then home to a series of religious groups- Muhammad’s Mosque, God’s Holy Temple and Joy Temple.  In 1996, the last of the groups left the building and the building was abandoned.

Mr. Sattler considered Business School a valuable resource and would select promising young men from his employees and send them to business school on scholarship. Mr. Sattler had two daughters, Doris Sattler and Mrs. Charles Hahn, Junior. Mr. Sattler moved to Ivyhurst Drive in Eggertsville, where he owned seven acres of lawns and gardens. In 1939, he had three canaries and a number of chickens. He became fond of the chickens, and raised them as pets rather than food, and stopped eating chicken completely.

Sattler Mausoleum

Sattler Mausoleum

Mr. Sattler witness a great change in Buffalo during his lifetime.  He is quoted as saying:  “I remember when Broadway was a cobblestone street with plant sidewalks on each side of it. Fillmore Avenue was then a parkway, lined with beautiful trees, and on Gibson Street, just off Broadway, there was a swimming hole.”  Mr. Sattler died in 1941 and is buried in a mausoleum in Forest Lawn.  Sattler’s Department Store remained in business for nearly 100 years, spreading across the WNY Region.

The store continued to grow after Mr. Sattler stepped down and gave the business to his son-in-law.  In 1927, Sattler’s hired a buyer for women’s wear, then added men’s boys’ furniture, appliances, housewares and a food market.  As more departments were added, they hired an advertising and promotions manager.  During the 1940s, Sattler’s was at it’s peak.  They had promotional schemes that were considered outlandish at the time.  They’d give away cars, they hired high wire walkers.   The store would purchase good from a bankrupt sore or a fire sale and pass along name-brand products at extreme discounts for its customers.   The store was located outside of the downtown area, so there weren’t theaters, restaurants or hotels to draw shoppers.  Sattler’s depended on clever advertising to draw in crowds.  In May 1949, they used more than $60,000,000 worth of aviation equipment for an airshow.  They won an award that year as the National Retail Dry Goods Association’s winner for best coordinated campaign.

Sattler's Toyland Ad, Christmas 1954 Source

Sattler’s Toyland Ad, Christmas 1954
Source

The store continued to expand the store at 998 Broadway into the 1950s.  In 1954, the company leased the former Jahraus-Braun store at 1021 Broadway to turn it into the Sattler’s Home Annex store.  They later added an appliance store at 3610 Main Street in University Plaza.  In 1957, Sattler’s opened another appliance store in Hamburg and a trade-in store at 1025 Broadway.  In 1961, the appliance stores were consolidated into the Annex Store.  In 1962, a new store was built at the new Boulevard Mall in Amherst, and one in Rochester, New York.  The Rochester store was only open one year.  In 1963, Sattler’s Drugs opened four free-standing stores and added a pharmacy inside each Sattler’s store.

Sattler’s celebrated its 74th anniversary with a motorcade from City Hall to 998 Broadway and a ribbon cutting ceremony with company officials and Mayor Chester Kowal.  In 1965, the company opened a warehouse, home furnishings and food store in a former plant at 1803 Elmwood and Hertel Avenue in North Buffalo – calling it Sattler’s Wonderful World of Foods and Home Furnishings City USA.  The store was called ” a giant step forward in space age selling, bold and imaginative merchandising”.

In 1969, Sattler’s opened a new store in the new Seneca Mall in West Seneca.  Both the Boulevard Mall and Seneca Mall locations were considered to be more upscale than the other stores, different than what the average Sattler’s customers expected.   In 1972, the Thruway Plaza store closed, mainly due to its proximity to the Seneca Mall location.  In 1973, Sattler’s moved downtown when Kobacker’s closed in teh Main Place Mall.  In 1979, the store returned to Cheektowaga into the converted Thruway Plaza, which was now the Thruway Mall., opening a “specialized fashion store”.

Sattlers at the Boulevard Mall

Sattlers at the Boulevard Mall Source

The 998 Broadway location filed a going out of business sale in March 1981.  In January 1982, the Thruway, Seneca and Main Place Mall Stores closed as part of bankruptcy proceedings.  The last remaining store was at the Boulevard Mall, which closed by December 1982.  The 998 Broadway building was demolished in 1989.  A K-Mart was built on the site, but that also closed shortly thereafter.

For more on Buffalo’s retail history, be sure to check out Mike Rizzo’s book:  Nine Nine Eight:  The Glory Days of Buffalo Shopping.

To read about other street names, check out the Street Index.

Sources:

“Sattler Avenue Bears Name of Merchant” Courier Express Mar 26, 1939, sec 5 p 4

Rizzo, Michael.  Nine Nine Eight:  The Glory Days of Buffalo Shopping.  Lulu Enterprises:  Morrisville, North Carolina, 2007.

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faymayFay, May and St. Joseph Streets are three streets in the Emerson Neighborhood on the East Side of Buffalo.  The three streets run between Walden Avenue and the New York Central Railroad tracks (with May Street reaching north to Hazel Place).  The streets were named after Joseph, May and Fay, members of the Doll family.

Joseph Doll owned a farm that included the land that became Saint Joseph, Fay and May Streets.  He opened the streets and built the houses on them.  The first street, he developed to run from West Shore to Genesee Street.  He originally named it Doll Avenue.  The family name is pronounced “dole” as opposed to a child’s doll.  Doll Avenue was often confused with Dole Street, so Joseph was asked to change its name.  So, he named it May Street after his daughter.  He named the other streets after his granddaughter Fay and his patron Saint Joseph.

Joseph Doll was born on a farm at Main and Huron Streets in 1839.  His parents bought the land when they came from Baden, Germany in the early 1830s.  They came across the Atlantic on a ship that took 72 days.  The final portion of the journey came via the Erie Canal, which was at the time still under construction, so their voyage was partly via canal boat, partly via stagecoach and partly via foot, carrying their baby daughter (Joseph’s sister) at the time.  Their original farm was unsuccessful as there was yellow sand for soil.  They purchased another farm at what is now the corner of Niagara and Connecticut Streets.  That farm was also a failure.  They then bought a 43-acre farm at Bailey and Walden, extending to the present New York Central Tracks and halfway to Broadway.  They ran a general store and saloon out of their farmhouse, which stood at 535 Walden Avenue,  near what today is the intersection of St. Joseph Ave and Walden Avenue.

Joseph Doll took over the store as he got older.  Joseph also ran the farm, raising wheat, barley, cattle, oats, apples, pears, pigs, plums and cherries.  In 1882, West Shore Railroad bought seven acres from the Doll farm.  After the railroad was built along the southern edge of the farm, the Wagner Palace Car shops and other factories came into the area.  Joseph Doll decided to subdivide the property and build houses.  In addition to the streets named for his daughter and granddaughter, and his patron saint.  He also named St. Louis Avenue for St. Louis Roman Catholic Church (for which he was a founder).

1917 view of the Former Doll Farm after the railroad was built and the streets were subdivided and developed. Note "Doll's Park", the future location of Emerson Vocational School (now School 97, Harvey Austin School)

1917 view of the Former Doll Farm after the railroad was built and the streets were subdivided and developed. Note “Doll’s Park”, the future location of Emerson Vocational School (now School 97, Harvey Austin School)

 

joseph doll graveHe died in 1909 and is buried in Doll family plot the United German and French Cemetery in Cheektowaga.

Read about other Buffalo Street’s by checking out the Street Index.

Source:  “Three Streets Remind of Landowner” Courier Express Jan 22, 1939.  Found in Buffalo Streets Scrapbook, Vol 2 p 166

 

UPDATE:  April 29, 2016:  One of the best parts of writing this blog is getting information from you, my readers.  I recently received an email from a member of the Doll family.  Michael Schuessler’s Great Grandmother, Louisa (Doll) Williams, was one of Joseph Doll’s younger sisters.  Mr. Schuessler has been generous enough to send in this great photograph of the family at Mr. Doll’s store!   He also provided a copy of Mr. Doll’s obituary.  Thanks for sharing a part of your family history!

Photo 1.jpg

1909 Joseph Doll obit

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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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Dodge Street

Dodge Street

Dodge Street is a street in the Cold Springs neighborhood on  the East Side of Buffalo.  The street runs for about a mile, from Main Street to Humboldt Parkway and is named for Alvan Leonard Dodge.

Alvan’s father, Alvan Senior was considered courageous when he built a log cabin on Main Street, north of Summer Street in 1811.   At the time, this was well outside the Village limits and well into the primeval forests.  The area was at high risk for attacks from the Native Americans.  However, the Dodge family lucked out when the village was burned in 1813, as their house was well outside the village, and therefore, left standing.  They were one of the few families to be able to return to their home following the fire.  Alvan Senior served as Magistrate of the County of Niagara (at the time, Niagara County included what is now Erie County) and held other official positions in the towns of Black Rock and Buffalo.  Alvan Senior died in 1846 and is buried at Forest Lawn.

Alvan Leonard Dodge witnessed Buffalo’s development from a tiny frontier village into one of the most important cities in the country.  By the end of his life, the Dodge family farm was close to being in the middle of the City that had grown up during Alvan’s lifetime.  Alvan, Junior was born on March 21, 1808 in Lowville, NY and came with his family to settle in Buffalo in 1811.

Ferry Street Schoolhouse source

Ferry Street Schoolhouse
source

He was educated in the school in a schoolhouse on Ferry Street that was known as Buffalo District School #2 at the time.  One term, his teacher was Millard Fillmore, who taught while he was also reading law and serving as postmaster.  At the time, the actual Cold Springs still flowed through the neighborhood.    The waters from this spring became the Jubilee Water Works, one of Buffalo’s first water systems.  The springs feed into the lake in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

As a young man, Alvan, Junior acquired a farm of several hundred acres, bounded by Main, East Ferry, Best and Jefferson.  Mr. Dodge built a house at the corner of Main and Dodge Streets, using lumber cleared from his property to build the house.

He sold part of his land to the City of Buffalo in 1880.   After selling the land to the City, he subdivided the remainder of his property for development and laid out streets on his land.  The area became the place for many prominent German families to live.   Legend has it that there was one field that grew the best corn around, so Mr. Dodge refused to convert it to a building lot.

The City used the property they had purchased to build a reservoir.  At the time, the City relied on reservoirs for water service.  This reservoir was known as Prospect Reservoir, since it replaced the reservoir of the same name which was located on Prospect Hill.  When the Colonel Ward Pumping Station opened in 1915, it rendered most of the reservoirs obsolete.

1988 WAR MEMORIAL STADIUM BUFFALO COLOR edited The reservoir sat unused until the 1930s.  Between 1936 and 1938, Buffalo Civic Stadium was built as a WPA project.  It was originally going to be named Roesch Memorial and then Grover Cleveland Stadium before Buffalo Civic Stadium became its official name.  The stadium was nicknamed “The Rockpile” since it seemed to rise out of the quarried land that had been the reservoir.  The stadium became home of the Buffalo Bills football team in 1946.  The stadium was renamed War Memorial Stadium in 1960.  The Buffalo Bisons baseball team used the stadium after Offerman Stadium at Michigan and East Ferry was demolished.  The Bills left the stadium in 1972 when Rich Stadium was built.  The Bisons left the stadium when Pilot Field opened in 1988.

Once the stadium was empty, many of the nearby residents wanted the stadium demolished.  The stadium hadn’t been maintained well during its final years and was in poor condition..   The Dodge-Jefferson and the Best-Jefferson entrances are all that remain today of War Memorial Stadium, which has been converted into the Johnnie B. Wiley Sports Pavilion.   Johnnie B. Willey was a city resident who worked to help young people of the East Side.

Dodge Mill in Williamsville source:  http://www.edyoungs.com/images/dodgemillfront.jpg

Dodge Mill in Williamsville
source

Alvan’s brother, J. Wayne Dodge moved to Williamsville and purchased the flour and grist-mill in 1864 and changed its name to Dodge Roller Mills. The Dodge Mill was across Glenn Falls from the Historic Williamsville Mill that is still standing today.   Dodge Road in Amherst is named after J.Wayne Dodge.  The Dodge Mill burned in 1894, Johnathan Dodge lost is life battling the fire.  The foundations of the mill are still visible near the wall of the creek behind Mill Street.

dodge tombstone

Alvan Dodge married Ruth Bosworth of Clarence.  They had four sons and three daughters.  He died in 1881 at the age of 73 and is buried in Forest Lawn.  The Buffalo Courier said that “his life was quiet and relatively uneventful, yet his life was the history of Buffalo”.

To read about other streets, be sure to check out the Street Index.

Sources:

  1. “Dodge Street Memorial to Pioneer” Courier Express May 21, 1939, sec. 7, p. 5
  2. Steele, O.G. “The Buffalo Common Schools”.  Publications of the Buffalo Historical Society, Volume 1.  Pg. 405.
  3. Smith, H. Perry.  “History of the Town of Amherst, Chapter XXXIX” .  History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County.  D. Mason & Co Publishers:  Syracuse, NY 1884.

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koonsaveKoons Avenue is located in the Emerson Neighborhood of the East Side of Buffalo.  Koons Avenue was named for the Koons brothers, Henry and Edward, who developed the neighborhood along with Judge Titus and Frank and Henry Goodyear.

The Koons brothers, Edward and Henry, were born into a prominent Buffalo family.  Their father, Jacob Koons, was a merchant, political official and a leader in church and charitable affairs.  Jacob came from Europe in 1828 and became a farm hand outside of Albany, new York.  He came to Buffalo in 1832 and established a store (history books refer to it as an emporium)  for the sale of clocks, dry-goods and groceries at Main Street near Genesee.   The store was successful and branched out to a second store in Paris, Ohio.  Jacob Koons left the business in 1848.  He was then involved in local politics.  He was appointed Superintendent of the Poor in 1856.    Jame Koons, along with his wife and six children, lived at 73 East Huron.  Jacob Koons was a member of St. John’s Lutheran on Hickory Street and was involved in building and improving St. John’s Orphan Home.   You can read more about the Orphan Home here.   Mr. Jacob Koons died on May 9, 1889.

Top: Amelia, Henry, and Elisabeth Center:  Jacob and Elisabeth, nee Dellenbaugh Bottom:  Mary, Edward and Louise

The Koons Family
Top: Amelia, Henry, and Elisabeth
Center: Jacob and Elisabeth, nee Dellenbaugh
Bottom: Mary, Edward and Louise

Henry Koons was born in Buffalo on October 9, 1838 and was educated in the public schools.  He worked for the American Express Company for two years.   Henry then headed West to learn the trade of tanning with G. Pfisler & Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He returned to Buffalo a few years later.  He worked as a search clerk in the County Clerk’s office from 1865 to 1871, engaging in abstracting and tracing titles.  During his time in the clerk’s office, he also started working in the real estate business.   He set up his real estate shop on the 400 block of Main Street.  On June 1, 1884, he formed the firm Henry & Edward Koons, when his brother joined the firm.   Henry boasted that the reason for his success was that his guiding principle was absolute honesty in all business transactions.

Edward Koons was born on October 1, 1861.  He was a schoolmate of Francis Folsom, future wife of President Grover Cleveland.  Edward read law in the office of William Glenney.  His knowledge of law and real estate helped him to become a great success in the real estate business.  He founded and was president of Abstract Title and Mortgage and was director of Buffalo Insurance for more than 50 years.  He was the first Vice President of Buffalo Savings Bank and in 1920 became president of the Chamber of Commerce.

The brothers helped Grover Cleveland become Mayor by managing his campaign.  They were prominent in his campaign for Governor and President as well.  The brothers helped Grover Cleveland become Mayor by managing his campaign.  They were prominent in his campaign for Governor and President as well.

Edward and Henry, along with Judge Titus and Frank and Henry Goodyear, bought a large amount of East Side land and quickly resold it for development.

Sylvanite Gold Mines Kirkland Lake, ONIn 1891, Edward opened the Erie County Guaranteed Search Company, an abstract and title search company.  In 1906, Edward Koons was appointed a member of the commission to revise the City Charter.

The Koons brothers invested their profits in gold mines in Ontario, calling their venture Sylvanite Gold Mines.  Sylvanite is found in the Kirkland Lake Gold District in Canada.  The mine was active until 1961.  Henry Koons never married and died in April 1904 in Buffalo.

Edward married Anna Hengerer, daughter of the founder of Hengerer’s Department Store.  Edward and Anna lived at 1131 Delaware Avenue, which is commonly referred to as the Charles Germain House, after the first resident of the house.

Edward Koons died at eighty-four in the Park Lane Apartments in February 1946.  Edward and Henry are both buried in the Koons plot in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Koons Plot in Forest Lawn

Koons Plot in Forest Lawn

Learn about other streets in the Street Index.

Sources:

  1. Our County and it’s People:  A Descriptive Work on Erie County, New York.  Edited by: Trumen C. White.  The Boston History Company, Published 1898.
  2. Recalling Pioneer Days.  Volume XXVI, Publications of the Buffalo Historical Society.  Edited by Frank H. Severance, 1922.
  3. History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County.  Reinecke & Zesch, Publishers.  Buffalo NY 1898.

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