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Archive for the ‘South Buffalo’ Category

indianchurchThis entry is about two streets in South Buffalo:  Indian Church Road and Indian Orchard Place.    The streets are located on the border between Buffalo and West Seneca in the southeastern part of the City.

Indian Church Road runs from Seneca Street into West Seneca towards Mineral Springs Road.  Indian Orchard Place is a small street off of Buffam Avenue, near Seneca Street and Indian Church Road.

This part of Buffalo was the location of an Indian Village.  They hunted game around the salt licks near the Mineral Springs, worshiped in the Indian Church near Seneca Street and picked apples, cherries and plums in the Indian Orchard.  As early as 1600, a tribe of Indians known as the Kahquahs hunted bear and deer in the forests and built their bark houses on the banks of Buffalo Creek.  The Kahquahs were the only Indian tribe living in Erie County during the time when the French controlled the trade in the region.   But the Kahquahs were conquered by the Iroquois (the Haudenosaunee…or people of the Long House) and the Seneca moved in following the Revolutionary War.  The Seneca established a village in roughly the same location, the village was centered around the council house.

Seneca Mission Church

Seneca Mission Church

Around 1804, missionaries came to live with the Indians, shortly after the Village of Buffalo was established.  they built a school where they taught the English language, agriculture, reading and writing; they also taught the women how to knit and sew.  A church was established in 1823 and by 1828, there were so many converts, they needed a place to worship.  The Seneca built a church, and in 1829, the church was dedicated.  The church stood about 400 feet from Seneca Street and was known as the Seneca Mission Church.  The church was located approximately in what now would be the middle of Indian Church Road.

1880 Erie County Atlas depicting Seneca Indian Church Ground and Cemetery location.

1880 Erie County Atlas depicting Seneca Indian Church Ground and Cemetery location.

An Indian burial ground was located in the present location of Seneca Indian Park, at the corner of Buffum Street and Fields Avenue.  This burial ground was where Red Jacket and Mary Jemison were buried.  The bodies of those interred in the cemetery were moved to Forest Lawn (Mary Jemison was moved to Letchworth).  The Buffalo Historical Society oversaw the removal and reburial of the remains of the Seneca.  They raised funds to build the Red Jacket Statue in Forest Lawn, erect headstones, pay all expenses for the Indian delegates and for ceremonies held October 9, 1884 to inter the remains.

After the Seneca moved from the Buffalo Creek Reservation in 1842, the church fell into disrepair. The church was abandoned and was blown down during a storm. The only part of the church which remains today is the arrow from the weathervane from the top of the cupola. It is currently in the collection of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. The mission house was replaced by School 70, Indian Park Academy.

Plaque at Seneca Indian Park

Plaque at Seneca Indian Park

The burial ground was later purchased in 1909 by John Larkin of Larkin Soap Company, Mr. Larkin then donated the land to the City of Buffalo for a public park, which was dedicated in 1912. John’s wife had taught at the Seneca Mission House in her youth.

Despite living on the Cattaraugus Reservation, many Seneca returned frequently to the sacred burying grounds, camping at the foot of Buffum Street.  As time passed, these pilgrimages became less frequent.

Learn about other streets by checking out the Street Index.

Sources:

  1. “Street Names Link South Buffalo to Its Indian Past”.  Buffalo Evening News 9-14-1960
  2. H. Perry Smith.  History of Buffalo and Erie County.  D. Mason & Co, Publishers:  Syracuse NY 1884.
  3. McCausland, Walter.  “Landmark of Indian Days to Pass from Scene”.  Buffalo Courier-Express, October 13, 1940.
  4. Severance, Frank.  “Seneca Mission at Buffalo Creek”.  Publications of the Buffalo Historical Society, Volume 6.  Buffalo Historical Society Publications.  1903.
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Hopkins Street in South Buffalo

Hopkins Street in South Buffalo

Hopkins Street is a north-south thoroughfare in South Buffalo.  The road leads from South Park north towards the Buffalo River.  Historically this area was a mix of commercial and industrial uses, connecting the steel mills to the adjacent South Buffalo neighborhoods.

Hopkins Street is named for Brigadier General Timothy S. Hopkins, a War of 1812 general.    Hopkins Road in Amherst is also named General Hopkins.

The Hopkins family descended from Stephen Hopkins, who came over on the Mayflower.  Oceanus Hopkins was born aboard the Mayflower.  Most history books list Oceanus as a son; however, Hopkins family lore indicates that the family was bad at latin, she was a girl and should have been thus named Oceana.  A second Stephen Hopkins signed the Declaration of Independence and Ichabod Hopkins signed the Constitution in Philadelphia on behalf of Massachusetts    Ichabod Hopkins had a son, Timothy Soveral Hopkins.

Timothy S. Hopkins

Timothy S. Hopkins

Timothy S. Hopkins was born in Massachusetts in 1776.  He arrived in Clarence at the age of 22, arriving by foot.  He then purchased land in 1804 from the Holland Land Company.  Mr. Hopkins is said to have grown the first wheat on the Holland Purchase, on a farm in Clarence Hollow.   When it was ready to be ground, he had to travel to Street’s mill at Chippewa, a village that became a part of the City of Niagara Falls, Ontario.  This was a distance of 40 miles!  The trip took four days and included a ferry ride from Black Rock, where only one family resided – the family of the ferry owner!  Timothy married his wife Nancy Kerr in Williamsville; their marriage was the first recorded marriage in Erie County.  They settled on Main Street on a farm in Snyder, near where Amherst Central High School is currently located.

Burning of Black Rock, December 1813

Burning of Black Rock, December 1813

During the War of 1812, Mr. Hopkins rose through the rank to Brigadier General.   He was an important part of the Battle Of Buffalo (also known as Battle of Black Rock), where he was stationed in Black Rock.  Following the war, he resigned from his post.

In 1819, he became the first Supervisor of the Town of Amherst and later served as Justice of the Peace.  His reputation spread through the area, and he was elected Sheriff of Erie County.  He was later elected to the New York State Assembly.

The Cayuga Street Stone School

The Cayuga Street Stone School

The Cayuga Street stone school-house in Williamsville was built by Timothy S. Hopkins in 1840 and still stands in Williamsville at 72 Cayuga.  He died January 23, 1853.

Nelson Hopkins grave

Nelson Hopkins grave

Nelson Kerr Hopkins, Timothy’s son, owned much of the land which included Hopkins Street.  Nelson subdivided the land into building lots and named the street after his father.  Nelson served as President of the Common Council of Buffalo and was New York State Comptroller from 1872 to 1875.  Nelson also organized the City’s first paid fire department and served as fire commissioner for ten years.  Nelson died in 1904 and is buried in Forest Lawn.

Timothy A. Hopkins

Timothy A. Hopkins

Nelson’s brother, Timothy Augustus Hopkins owned the Eagle Hotel in Williamsville, which is now known as the Eagle House.   He also operated a mill near the Eagle House, served as Justice of the Peace and Erie County Sheriff.  Timothy A. Hopkins is responsible for building a bridge over the Erie Canal in the Tonawanda Creek area, and constructing drainage ditches in the northern part of Amherst to reclaim thousands of acres of land that were often covered by spring floods after a dam was placed near the mouth of Tonawanda Creek for canal purpose.  Timothy A. Hopkins passed away in 1894 and is buried in Williamsville Cemetery.

The Hopkins Street area is currently a part of the City of Buffalo South Buffalo Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA).  This study being done by New York State is working to revitalize the neighborhood by cleaning up vacant industrial sites and marketing properties for redevelopment.  More information about the South Buffalo BOA can be found through Buffalo Urban Development Corporation.

Be sure to check out the Street Index to learn about other streets!

Sources:

  1. “Hopkins Street named for 1812 General” Courier Express.  Oct 30 1939, sec 6 p 4.
  2. Larned, Josephus Nelson.  The Progress of the Empire State:  the History of Buffalo.  Published by The Progress of the Empire State Company, New York:  1913.
  3. Smith, Henry Perry.  History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County, Volume 1:  1620-1884.   D. Mason & Co Publishers, Syracuse NY: 1884.

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zittelLouis Zittel was born in Johnsonsburg, Wyoming County, New York in February 1836.   His parents, Anna and Peter, came to the States from Germany shortly before Louis was born.  Mr. Zittel was educated in the public schools.  As a young man in the 1860s, Mr. Zittel moved to Buffalo and purchased a farm at the corner of Seneca and Cazenovia Streets.  At the time, the area we know of as South Buffalo only consisted of four streets – Buffum, Seneca, Cazenovia and Indian Church.  You could take a stagecoach to South Buffalo from Buffalo, and the trip was so long, it was generally only worth it if you were going to spend the night.  Mr. Zittel established a post office in South Buffalo.  Before 1891, the Post Office Department had no established policies regarding post office naming.  Postmasters were allowed to name their post offices as they wished.  Mr. Zittel named his post office “South Buffalo”, thereby creating the hamlet of South Buffalo and forever banishing “south side” from our city’s geography.

In 1887, Frederick Law Olmsted was commissioned to design a new park for the southern portion of the City (at this point, he had already designed what we know as Delaware, Front and Martin Luther King Parks).  Olmsted’s original vision for the South Buffalo park consisted of a large waterfront park along the Lake Erie shore south of what is now Tifft Street, east to the railroad corridor.  The original design was rejected as it was too costly, too likely to be damaged by storms coming off the lake and too far away from the residential areas of South Buffalo.  In 1888, Park Commissioners began looking for another site suitable for park use.  Three sites were identified to be used – the 76-acre Hart Farm which was being promoted for residential development along Cazenovia Creek, the grove at Mineral Springs, and a 156-acre just outside the southern boundary of the City limits.  The Parks Commissioners ended up approving two parks, that we now know as South Park and Cazenovia Park.

Olmsted's Cazenovia Park Plan

Olmsted’s Cazenovia Park Plan

Louis Zittel was a strong proponent for creating the park at the Cazenovia Creek site.  Serving as a Park Commissioner, Mr. Zittel worked hard to get the unused Hart Farm tract used as a park.  The park is a monument to Mr. Zittel’s perseverance and interest in benefiting his section of the City.  After the park was laid out, he moved to 150 Cazenovia Street, where he could view the park from his front windows.  The property where his house stood is now the American Legion.

After his move, he subdivided his farmland and developed the streets surrounding the street that bears his name.

Mr. Zittel died on April 22, 1921 at his home on Cazenovia Street at the age of 87 years.  He is buried in Forest Lawn.

grave

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

Sources:

  1. “Proceedings of the Society”, Volume 26. Edited by Frank H. Severance.  Buffalo Historical Society Publications, 1922.
  2. “Named after Park Commissioner”.  Courier Express, March 12 1939, sec 5, p 12.

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Kenefick Ave is a street in South Buffalo running between South Park Avenue and Abbott Road.  The street was named after Judge Daniel J. Kenefick.  Judge Kenefick is the author of the Buffalo City Charter, which was written in 1927.

Judge Kenefick was born in the Old First Ward in 1863.  He attended Buffalo City Schools, graduated from Central High School in 1881 and studied law in the Buffalo office of Congressman Richard Crowley.  He served as assistant district attorney and district attorney of Erie County and also was Justice of the New York State Supreme Court.  He served as director of the Buffalo Niagara Electric Company.  The Judge lived at 841 Delaware Avenue, at the corner of Barker Avenue.  841 Delaware Avenue is the current location of the Himalayan Institute, but I am not 100% sure that this is the same building which the Judge lived in.

Judge Kenefick grew up in the Old First Ward.  He married Maysie Germain of the Germain Family of Buffalo. He grew up alongside developer John F. Burke.  Mr. Burke grew up to become a developer and developed the part of South Buffalo where Kenefick Avenue is located.  Mr. Burke honored his boyhood friend by naming Kenefick Avenue after him.

Sources:

  1. Biography of Daniel Kenefick.  Our Country and It’s People:  A Descriptive Work on Erie County, New York.  Edited By:  Trumen C. White.  The Boston History Company, Published 1989.
  2. “Kenefick Avenue Among Few City Streets Honoring Living Citizen”.  Courier Express, October 9, 1938, sec 5 p 2.


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