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Accepting the award

I was awarded the Owen B. Augspurger award from the Buffalo History Museum!  The award was established in 1974 in honor of Mr. Augspurger, who was a former History Museum president.  The award is presented to an individual for outstanding service to the cause of local history.  The award is given out annually at the Museum’s Red Jackets Awards Ceremony, which was held last night.  I am honored to be among the distinguished list of past recipients.

Here are the remarks I gave during the ceremony:

I’m so honored to be receiving this award.  My streets project started because I went to the library to find out how Keppel street got its name.  I know it’s not named after my family, as my dad is an immigrant and all of our Keppel family is still in the Netherlands.  All these years later, and I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of the Keppel street name, but I’ve learned about so many streets along the way.  I was boring my friends telling them the stories I was uncovering, so I started to write the stories to share them on a blog, and Discovering Buffalo, One Street at a Time was born.  I never really thought it was something that other people would really care about.  But I think my blog works because streets are something that are personal to us all.  Everyone comes from a street – whether it’s the street where dad lived when he first moved to town,  the streets where grandma and grandpa lived, they’re all full of memories.  And so there’s a connection, even if the person the street was named after had little to do with the actual street.  It’s a way to connect with our history in a hyper local way.  When I started, I thought I’d maybe have 12 followers.  And now there’s more than 9,000 of us!

As a professional urban planner, I get to live part time in the future, looking forward to new development projects, looking at how to build a better community for our future.  Because of my work in history, I get to live in the fabulous juxtaposition between the past and the future.  I cannot help but look at projects like the new Ralph Wilson Park they’re building at Lasalle Park and be really excited for what’s coming, but in my mind, I also see the canal slips and heavy industry that 1932 Buffalo decided to turn into a park to celebrate the city’s centennial. I live in the Hotel Lafayette, a grand historic hotel, and sometimes, if I squint my eyes, I can see those who came before walking down the hallways.  I get to live our history every single day, living and working in the heart of downtown which our city grew, radiating out from Niagara Square like spokes on a wagon wheel.

I think Mr. Augspurger and I would have gotten along, both because of our interest in local history and also Mr. Augspurger’s work on downtown development projects like the Main Place Mall and the parking ramps.  One of the things I do for my job is to track parking, so I can tell you that the Augspurger Ramp is about 74% occupied.

Thank you to everyone who has followed along, to Debra for nominating me, to the History Museum, and to everyone who has shared my posts, or come to hear me speak.  My favorite thing is when people share their stories with me, which adds to the rich tapestry of the city that lives in my brain.  I hope to keep learning and keep sharing for a long time to come!

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Owen B. Augspurger Parking Ramp

Those of you who came to my University Express Talks last fall will know that I have been researching urban renewal plans of the 1950s and 60s and how they impacted Downtown and the neighborhoods around it.  The creation of Main Place Mall, which Mr. Augspurger helped make happen, was Buffalo’s first private urban redevelopment plan.  Previous urban redevelopment projects had been to create government owned housing projects.  I know that Main Place Mall gets a bum rap, but it was a successful mall for many decades after opening and holds a special place in the retail history of downtown.  I have fond memories of going to the food court for lunch on school field trips and sneaking off to grab a book at Walden Books while every else ate lunch.  Mr. Augspurger also helped to create the off street parking program for downtown, hence the parking ramp was named for him.  Mr. Augspurger was also involved in helping to save the Ainsley Wilcox mansion and create the Teddy Roosevelt Inaugural Site, which long time readers of my blog will know was also the house of Judge Masten!

I really truly appreciate all of you have been along for this journey!  I have some new posts coming soon!   I’m working on rewriting the very first post I ever wrote, now that I have some new research.  Also coming up will be posts about when the corner of Walden and Bailey was “way out in the country”, some info about the Erie County Penitentiary, and a story about a man who had too many handkerchiefs!

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House of Lewis Falley Allen on what is now Niagara Street.

I have also began working on trying to little deeper into some of the people I’m researching.  One of the things I want to do is talk about “the help”.  I think it’s important to remember that these men who “built” Buffalo, they built it with lots of help.  I’ve been working to dig into my research to try to find info about live-in help that lived with some of the families I write about.  I want to try to give a glimpse into what early Buffalo life was like for the influential, and give a name to those who have been forgotten to history.  For example, I have learned that Lewis Falley Allen had a staff of five to run his household.  The staff in 1880 included housekeeper, Elizabeth Ryan, a 50 year old woman from Ireland and her 20 year old daughter Agnes who served as a servant; servants Rosa Bronson, a 16 year old girl, from New York; Emma Hudson, 27 year old woman from Canada; and John Hogan, a 24 year old man from Ireland.  Look forward to more info like this in future posts.

Lastly, I will be giving my last walking tour of the season on Sunday, October 9th at 1pm, Discovering Lower Main Street.  Click here for more about the tour.  The tour ends right next to Southern Tier Brewery if anyone wants to watch the end of the Bills game after the tour.  Hope to see some of you there!

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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.  

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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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Hamlin Road shown in Red. The former Hamlin Driving Park outlined in Light Blue

Hamlin Road runs between Lonsdale Road and Humboldt Parkway in the Hamlin Park neighborhood of the East Side of Buffalo. The street opened in the early 1920s, running through what used to be the grounds of the Hamlin Driving Park.  The street and neighborhood are named after the Hamlin Family, a prominent family in Buffalo and East Aurora.

cicero hamlinOn November 7, 1819, Cicero Hamlin was born in Hillsdale in Columbia County, New York. His parents were Reverend Jabez and Esther Stow Hamlin. Cicero Hamlin would say that he started his life as a poor child and that his only heritage was “being of sound health and good digestion.” Cicero was the youngest of a family of ten. Cicero came to East Aurora in 1836 and purchased the general store operated by his brother John W. Hamlin. The store was located on Main Street near what is now Hamlin Avenue in East Aurora.

In 1846, Cicero Hamlin moved to Buffalo, where he entered the dry goods business in the firm Wattles and Hamlin at 252 Main Street. Mr. Wattles left the business in 1847, and Mr. Hamlin continued the business alone until 1852. Then, he joined the firm of Mendsen & Company, a wholesale-retail carpet and house furnishing business. The firm was reorganized as Hamlin & Mendsen. In the 1860s, Mr. Hamlin Built the Hamlin Block on Main Street.  He remained in business there until 1871.  In February 1888, the Hamlin Block was destroyed by a fire. A new Hamlin Black was constructed in its place by the end of 1888.

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Cicero Hamlin breaking the world’s team’s record.   Source: Buffalo History Gazette

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Gravestone for Mambrino King, East Aurora. Photo By Stacy Grinsfelder, True Tales from Old Houses

In addition to his real estate interests, in May 1855, Cicero Hamlin established Village Farm in East Aurora. The farm began as 55 acres and expanded to 600 acres by the 1890s. The farm had the reputation of some of America’s best trotting horses. The farm was located at the west end of the Village, fronting on the north side of Main Street. His first horses were Little Belle, Mag Addison, and Hamlin Patchem. At its peak, the Village Farm stabled 748 horses. In 1882, Mr. Hamlin purchased “Mambrino King” for $17,000. The horse was judged the most handsome horse in the world. Many people traveled to East Aurora to visit Mambrino King. In one day, Mambrino King was taken out of his stall to be shown to visitors more than 170 times! Mambrino King was put down on December 5, 1899. He is buried in front of a house on North Willow Street, and the grave marker can be seen from the sidewalk.

The Hamlin farm closed in January 1905. The horse line continued at the Ideal Stock Farm, founded in 1905 by Seymour Knox. Cicero Hamlin donated land to the Village of East Aurora to create Hamlin Park. Hamlin Avenue in East Aurora runs through the property that was once the farm.

Before 1873, there were several attempts to manufacture glucose in the United States, but with little success. Cicero Hamlin developed a process that helped form an entire industry; he founded Buffalo Grape Sugar Company in 1874. Buffalo Grape Sugar Company merged with the American Glucose Company in 1888. The works of the American Glucose Company in Buffalo were the largest in the world. Their brands were well known both in domestic and international markets. The Buffalo plant employed 500 men and processed 10,000 bushels of corn per day to create glucose, syrups, grape sugar, and animal food products. American Glucose Company also had factories in Peoria, Illinois; Leavenworth, Kansas; Iowa City, Iowa; and Tippecanoe City, Ohio. Their headquarters were located at 19-23 West Swan Street in Buffalo.

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Hamlin Driving Park in 1870. Source: Buffalo News

What became the Hamlin Park Neighborhood in Buffalo was still a rural area in 1868 when Cicero Hamlin established his Driving Park at the corner of East Ferry and Humboldt Parkway. The Driving Park was included in Frederick Law Olmsted’s parks plan for Buffalo. The Driving Park quickly became popular and gained international fame. It had a one-half-mile speedway for trotting and pacing races and training stable for 75 horses. Horse-riding was a gentleman’s sport. Many of Buffalo’s important businessmen were officers of the Buffalo Driving Park Association – Chandler J. Wells, Cicero Hamlin, E.R. Buck, J.H. Metcalfe, Myram P Busch, George Gates, Joseph G. Masten, R.L Howard, and Jewett Richmond. Race days were an important occasion in Buffalo. There was a festive atmosphere, many stores declared them holidays, and the trolley offered half-fare travel to the Driving Park. The Belt Line Railroad opening in 1883 eased access to the track, with a station at Fillmore Avenue near Northland. People traveled from across the country to view the races and to race here. There were railroad car sidings to allow for Pullman cars, day coaches, and special freight cars for the horses.

In 1869, Frederick Law Olmsted looked to integrate the Driving Park into his Parks Plan. Mr. Olmsted looked to put an expanded parkway near the entrance of the race course with a circular or elliptical form for a spot to put a fountain, statue, or other monument. This didn’t happen. The Driving Park grew crowds of up to 40,000 people for special events. After the races, many people would go to the nearby Parade House at The Parade park (aka Humboldt Park, now MLK Park).

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1895 Map of Buffalo showing the location of the Driving Park/Fairgrounds. Humboldt Parkway is shown in green to the east of the Driving Park site. The Driving Park Station can be shown at the corner of Fillmore and Northland. Source: Rand, McNally & Co Map of Buffalo.

In 1888, Hamlin sold the Driving Park to a group of 120 stockholders who were looking to start up an International Industrial and Agricultural Exposition in Buffalo at Hamlin Park. The largest investor was Cicero Hamlin himself. They planned to create a permanent fairgrounds, similar to the one in St. Louis. He felt Buffalo was a good location between New York and Chicago for fairs. Other stockholders included – Philip Becker, Jacob Schoellkopf, JJ Albright, Daniel N. Lockwood, D.E. Morgan, George Urban Jr, and Jewett Richmond. They constructed several exhibition buildings, including the largest fair building in the world. The Fair opened on September 4, 1888 to great fanfare. However, long-term attendance did not come. The fair lost money and closed within five years. Public transportation made it hard to get to the Fair. A horsecar up Main Street took about an hour from the downtown railroad depots. Passengers actually had to get out and help push the cars up the Main Street hill from North to Virginia Street!

Trolley service finally came to the Park in 1892.  That year, Mr. Hamlin put $25,000 into the Driving Park. He built a new grandstand modeled after the one in Monmouth Park, New Jersey. In addition, Mr. Hamlin offered free admission for that year for those who would take standing room admission. He felt this was a way to increase interest in the Park and allow “regular” folks to come, in addition to the upper class.

In 1895, a grandstand stairway collapsed, and 20 people were injured. In 1896, a fire swept through the grounds and destroyed the buildings, ending the horse races. In January 1898, Mr. Hamlin announced he would divide the Driving Park grounds into residential lots.  Thus began the development of the Hamlin Park Neighborhood.

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Hamlin House on Franklin Street. Source: Hamlin House Restaurant

Cicero Hamlin married Susan Jane Ford in September 1842. They had three sons – Frank, William and Harry, and two daughters – Anna and Kate. Sadly, Anna died as a newborn and Kate passed at age 3. The Hamlin Family lived in a house they built at 432 Franklin Street. The Hamlin property consisted of the entire corner of Franklin and Edward Street, where 420, 426, 436 and 440 Franklin now stand. The house is a two-story Italian villa, and is still standing today.  Cicero and Susan moved to 1035 Delaware Ave and sold the property in the 1890s.

The Buffalo Orpheus (a German singing society) used the 432 Franklin Street house as its headquarters starting in 1915. In 1920, the American Legion purchased the Hamlin House, and the house is still the clubhouse for Troop 1 Post 665 of the American Legion. Additions were added to the right side of the building and a gym was added to the rear of the building in 1940. The rear portion of the building has been used as the Legion’s auditorium but used to be the family’s stable.  (Note from Angela:  If you’re looking for a good fish fry – Hamlin House is a great place!)

Cicero Hamlin died February 20, 1905, just three weeks after the sale of Village Farm.  He was considered to be one of Buffalo’s oldest and wealthiest citizens when he died.  He is buried in the Hamlin family plot in Forest Lawn Cemetery.  Cicero’s son Harry Hamlin was born in Buffalo on July 17, 1855. Harry worked with his father in the Village Farm and in the American Glucose Company. Harry married Grace Enos in 1878. Harry and Grace lived on North Pearl Street. Harry was killed in an automobile accident on June 3, 1907 at age 52.

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Chauncey J. Hamlin

Grace and Harry had a son named Chauncey Jerome Hamlin, born January 11, 1881. Chauncey attended Miss Hoffman’s School, Heathcote School and Nichols School. Graduating from  Yale in 1903 and from Buffalo Law School in 1905, he was admitted to the bar in February 1909.  Chauncey Hamlin helped to launch the Buffalo Legal Aid Bureau. After serving in WWI, he gave up his active law practice in 1919 to serve the community.

Chauncey married Emily Gray in 1904. The Hamlins lived on West Ferry Street between Delaware and Elmwood Avenues. They had three children – Martha, Mary and Chauncey, Jr.  In 1910, they purchased an estate in Snyder.  The John Schenck House and moved to Snyder.  This estate included the John Schenck House, is a small stone house built in the 1830s on Harlem Road near Main Street.  Between the 1890s and the time the Hamlins purchased it, the house had ceased to be residential.  It was used as oat storage by the farmers who lived on the land.  The house reportedly has a slant due to the weight of the oats.

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Stone House on Harlem Road, Snyder. Source: NYSHPO

The Hamlin Estate included the Schenck House, the main large mansion house (where the family lived), and two other frame houses. They set up a small museum in the old stone house to display the fossils and other natural objects found in the nearby quarries that the Hamlin children would find. They referred to it as the Snyder Museum of Natural History.

In 1922, the Hamlin Estate was sold to the Park School of Buffalo, a private school founded in Buffalo in 1912. When the school moved to Harlem Road, the grounds were described as:

“large barns in prefect repairs, carriage sheds, and a farmhouse. There were great apple orchard, large trees, fields of grain and a tiny brook winding its way down to two enchanting ponds. Best of all, at the entrance of the estate, a very old, stone house banked with lilacs and forsythias, having in it gardens, flowers and herbs which might have been growing there for a century.”

The Hamlin’s home was converted into the main classroom building at Park School, now called Hamlin Hall.

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Hamlin House in Snyder. Now Hamlin Hall at Park School.  Source:  Image of America:  Amherst by Joseph Grande.

Chauncey Hamlin would later say that “the little stone house contributed concretely” in his interest in the Buffalo Museum of Science.  Chauncey Hamlin became President of the Museum of Science in 1920. At the time, the Society of Natural Sciences had no permanent building of its own. Some of its collection was housed in a building near the art gallery at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Penhurst Place, but the major collections were located in borrowed space in the Buffalo Public Library on Lafayette Square.

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Hamlin Hall at the Buffalo Science Museum. Source: Friend of Author

Chauncey Hamlin led a campaign to raise funds to build a permanent building in Humboldt Park (now MLK Park). The Buffalo Museum of Science opened in January 1929. Mr. Hamlin continued on as President until 1948. He worked with other families to finance the creation of and upkeep of exhibits in the halls of the museum including the Schoellkopf, Lark, Knox, Kellogg, Goodyear and Bennett families. Chauncey Hamlin contributed over $241,277 (about $4 Million in today’s dollars) to the museum funds. He served on the American Association of Museums as President. He helped to found the International Council of Museums in 1948 and headed the organization for the first five years of its existence.

Chauncey Hamlin also served as the first President of the Buffalo City Planning Association. He led the site selection committee for the new City Hall, which selected the west side of Niagara Square for the site of the building.  From 1925 to 1947, he was Chairman of the Niagara Frontier Planning Board. While on the Board, he pushed for construction of the Grand Island Bridges and other parkways in Buffalo. He was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal of the University of Buffalo in 1931 and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Alfred University in 1954.

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Actor Harry Hamlin, Great Great Grandson of Cicero Hamlin.  Source:  @harryrhamlin Instagram

Chauncey died on September 23, 1963 in Carmel, California.   He is buried in Forest Lawn.

Chauncey’s son, Chauncey Hamlin Jr. was born in March 1905. Chauncey Jr’s son, Harry R Hamlin, was born in 1951. You might recognize this Harry Hamlin as an actor. Harry was People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 1987.  (Disclaimer:  I am watching Harry in my favorite tv show, Veronica Mars, as I write this.)  Harry is the Great Great Grandson of Cicero Hamlin who the street and neighborhood are named after!

So the next time you drive through Hamlin Park in Buffalo, go to Hamlin Park in East Aurora, stop at the Science Museum, or watch a moving starring Harry Hamlin, think of the Hamlin family.  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:

  • Askew, Alice.  “Racing Day Marks Era of the Horse.”
  • Keller, Ed.  “Cicero J. Hamlin Village Farm Among Trotting’s Greatest.”  The Harness Horse.  P 50.
  • “Village Farm.”  Pictorial and Historical Review East Aurora and Vicinity.  1940.
  • Fink, Margaret Reid, editor.  “Chauncey Jerome Hamlin”.  Science on the March.  Volume 44, No 2.  December 1963, p1.
  • NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.  Building Structure Inventory Form.  The John Schenck House.
  • “C.J. Hamlin Dead”.  The Buffalo Commercial.  February 20, 1905.  p11.
  • Kwiatkowski, Jane and Paula Voell.  “Buffalo’ 20th Century Club: The Far-Sighted Men and Women Who Shaped Our Past and Set a Course for the Future”.  Buffalo News.  November 28, 1999.

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I recently realized that we’ve discussed 200 streets on the blog!  Can you believe it?  We’re technically at 206 streets.  There are 1544 street names in the City of Buffalo, so we’ve covered around 13% of streets so far.  The 200th street was Eggert Road, which was pretty cool since it was an important street to me growing up, and I also lived on Eggert for 5 years during college!

Here’s a map of all of the streets I’ve written about so far:

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I have begun to think about making some upgrades to the site sometime soon.  One of things I’d love to be able to make an interactive map for the site.  My vision is that you could zoom into a street and be able to access the post about that street when you clicked on the street name.  Are any of my readers more tech-savvy than me and know how to make this happen?  Please email me at buffalostreets@gmail.com if you are interested in helping me figure out how to do that!

What’s your favorite street I’ve written about?  What streets do you wish I’d write about?  As many of you know, historic research can be hard at times and I’m sure we’ll never know everything about every street.  Sometimes it feels like you hit a lot of dead ends but then you’ll find some info that takes you on a different path entirely.  That’s the frustration and also the beauty of historic research! I plan to continue writing as long as I keep finding information! 

I feel like I’ve become better at research in the more than a decade I’ve been doing this, so I may revisit some earlier posts to bring additional information about those people.  Is that something you would be interested in? 

The Erie County University Express schedule for this semester just came out – I’ll be speaking in July at West Side Community Services.  Find more information, along with all the other wonderful courses presented through University Express here:  https://www4.erie.gov/universityexpress/classes

I have some fun posts coming up, so stay tuned!  Hope everyone is starting to enjoy the warmer weather as we start to hopefully get back to normal and come out of COVID!  

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Eggert Road

Eggert Road is one of the longer streets we’ve talked about here.  Eggert is a 6.5-mile, north-south route that runs through four municipalities – Cheektowaga, Buffalo, Amherst, and Tonawanda! The street is named for the first Postmaster of Eggertsville, Christian Eggert.  Eggertsville was also named for Mr. Eggert.  Eggertsville is one of five hamlets in the Town of Amherst. In New York, a hamlet is an unincorporated settlement within a town. A hamlet has no local government or official boundaries. Eggertsville centers around the corner of Main Street and Eggert Road. The western edge of Eggertsville is the City of Buffalo line, but the eastern border is often disputed. Adjacent to Eggertsville, the hamlet of Snyder centers around the corner of Main and Harlem Road. People differ in their opinions of where Eggertsville ends and Snyder begins. Eggertsville and Snyder are often thought of as one unit, such as in the Eggertsville-Snyder Public Library. The Town of Amherst has an Eggertsville Action Plan which uses the following boundary: west to Niagara Fall Boulevard, south to Kenmore Avenue/Main Street, Getzville Road to the east, and Sheridan Drive to the north.

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Approximate boundary of Eggertsville

The Eggertsville area was first settled by property owners with large tracts of land. The first building in what became Eggertsville was a general store built on the northeast corner by Abraham Miller in 1811.  Mr. Miller lived behind the store. His property extended north along what became Eggert Road, where he set aside a cemetery to be used by the community. The first burial there was a child named Elizabeth Grobin.  Abraham was buried there in 1845. The cemetery was used until at least 1873. Mr. Miller’s property and the cemetery are now St. Benedicts Roman Catholic Church and School.  A hotel was built at the corner of Main and Eggert in 1816.

The first church in what became Eggertsville, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church was incorporated in 1827 and was granted its present site in 1829 by the Holland Land Company.  St. Paul’s is the oldest Lutheran Church in Erie County.  The church was first called the German Reformed Church. The congregation was established by Reverend Meyerhoffer, an ex-chaplain of the German Army who gathered together German-speaking residents of Buffalo, Black Rock, and Amherst from Alsace Loraine.  The original church on the site was built in 1833 and a new church was built in 1874.  Unfortunately, the church was destroyed by a fire in 1879. The church was rebuilt and dedicated in 1880. (Note from Angela: this is the church I grew up attending – Hi St. Paul’s friends!)

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Christian Eggert III.  Source:  Town of Amherst

Christian Eggert was born in April 1795 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Mr. Eggert was actually Christian Eggert III. His grandfather, Christian Eggert, had come to Pennsylvania from Uckermark, Germany in 1742. Christian III moved from PA to Western New York in 1831, going into business with Hugh Cathcart as “Cathcart & Eggert”. Cathcart & Eggert owned an Iron Foundry and Plough Factory in Williamsville which built ploughs, cast iron turnpike scrapers, sleigh-shoes, wagon boxes, wagon axles, stoves and other cast iron materials.  The partnership was ended in 1832, with Christian Eggert continuing the company himself.  Mr. Eggert also worked as a land surveyor and surveyed many properties across Western New York.

Christian III married Anna Hershey in March 1818. They had ten children. Benjamin, Aaron, Jacob, Melvina, Oliver, Christian, Ann Marie, Esther, Andrew, and Anna. The first six children were born in Pennsylvania. The others were born in Amherst.

In 1836, The Buffalo and Williamsville Macadam Company was incorporated by Christian Eggert, John Hutchinson, and the Hopkins Family. The company operated a paved toll road. Macadam is a form of pavement invented by John McAdam in Scotland in the 18th century. The Buffalo & Williamsville Macadam toll road went from Buffalo to Williamsville along what is now Main Street and opened in 1837. At Humboldt Parkway in Buffalo and at Getzville Road in Amherst, there were toll gates. Everyone who traveled along the road had to pay the toll, including rates for vehicles and bicycles. In addition, farmers taking livestock to market were charged on a per-head basis. The toll gates operated until 1899.

On the southeast corner of Main and Eggert, Christian Eggert built a house in 1832. Mr. Eggert set up the first post office in this house in 1855. At the time, Post Offices moved around based on who Postmaster was, so they were often located in residences and business places. In 1861, when Michael Snyder became Post Master, residents of Eggertsville were angry since this moved the Post Office a mile to the east to Main & Harlem. Since several roads converged at Eggertsville, more business happened at Main & Eggert than at Main & Harlem. They also would have to pass the Toll Gate, which had a charge each way of 5 cents for a single wagon and 8 cents for a double wagon (between $1.50 and $2.56 today). There were 200 residents impacted by this change instead of 40 who were not affected. About 140 residents of Eggertsville banded together to write to Washington to have the old post office reinstated. The Post Office was back in Eggertsville beginning in 1867 when Christian Eggert was reappointed as Postmaster.  Residents of Snyder got their own Snyder Post Office in 1882, with Michael Snyder as Postmaster.

The Eggertsville Post Office was discontinued in 1905, and postal service was transferred to Williamsville.  The Eggertsville Post Office was reestablished in 1914, and discontinued in 1930 when it was absorbed by the Buffalo Post Office.

Christian Eggert III died in August 1879 at the age of 84. He is buried in the Williamsville Cemetery on Main Street in the Village of Williamsville.  Son Christian M. Eggert was one of the first Postmasters of the Tonawanda Post Office.  Son Aaron Eggert was the first lawyer in the town of Amherst establishing a law office in 1868.  Son Oliver Eggert was Sheriff of Erie County from 1865-67.

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Eggertsville House, circa 1875. Source: A History of the Town of Amherst

In 1859, the Eggert’s house was converted into a tavern by Nicholas Chassin. The Chassin family had a 15-acre plot extending south along Eggert Road. Eggertsville residents will recognize the Chassin name as there is a street named after him, Chassin Avenue, running parallel to Eggert through what was the Chassin property. Many of the settlers in the area at the time were of French origin. When new French immigrants arrived in Buffalo with little to no money, they were told to go out to see Nicholas Chassin. He would take them in, feed them and let them live with him until they found work. The Eggerstville House was demolished in 1960.

At the bend in Main Street, between Ivyhurst and Koster Row, was a little brick church, behind which was a cemetery. In 1866, it was designated as “The Free Church” and in 1880 as “The Union Church .”The church was a small, red brick building with a Pennsylvania Dutch fence and gateway. As members of the congregation passed away or moved, the church was abandoned and demolished. The cemetery was deeded in May 1849. It was known as “The Resting Place” and was dedicated for all denominations.  Two of the Eggerts were buried in The Resting Place: Christian III’s son, Christian M Eggert, who died in 1861 at the age of 31 and Christian M. Eggert’s daughter (Christian III’s granddaughter), Isabell Eggert who died at 19 in 1873.

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Map showing the two Eggertsville Cemeteries – one behind St. Benedict’s Church and one located between Ivyhurst and Koster Row.

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Christian M. Eggert and daughter Isabell L. Eggert’s gravestone in Skinnersville Cemetery

In 1950, Henry Juette was looking to build a house on Main Street near Ivyhurst, having purchased the property from Erie County. The property along Main Street was the original church site. Residents of Eggertsville were up in arms as the development of the house would cut the cemetery property off from public access. The house would prevent those who did wish to visit the cemetery from maintaining their relative’s graves. The property had been purchased by John G. Sattler from the church. Mr. Sattler deeded the land to Erie County. Many of the older families had passed away or moved away, so the cemetery was not kept up. Many of those buried in the cemetery were the founders of Eggertsville, including the Frick Family. The Fricks were the first purchaser of land in Eggertsville from the Holland Land Company in 1817. Two of the Eggert children were buried here. The cemetery was abandoned in 1956, and those from this cemetery and the Eggert Road Cemetery (where St. Benedict’s is now) were moved to Skinnersville Road Cemetery in 1956.  Both Christian M. Eggert and Isabell Eggert’s bodies were moved at this time.  The original cemetery was developed with the existing residential subdivision.

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Crosby Mansion, Eggertsville. Source: Beautiful Homes of Buffalo.

In 1893, the Buffalo and Williamsville Railway opened, making Eggertsville more accessible. Large country estates, such as the William H. Crosby Estate, were developed for successful Buffalo businessmen. The Crosby Estate was 243 acres along Main Street, between Bailey Avenue and Eggert Road. William Crosby was a business tycoon.  He owned the Crosby Company, a metal works known for making bicycle frames, founded in 1896 at the corner of Pratt and Broadway.  Crosby Blvd in Eggertsville and Crosby Hall at UB are named for William Crosby.

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Some of the original subdivisions of Eggertsville – The Crosby Estate in Red, Pomeroy Park in Blue, High Park-Country Club in Green, Amherst Estates in Orange and Hollywood Subdivision in purple

In the early 1900s, these large estates began to be broken up for further residential development. Beginning around 1910, the Amherst Estates were developed by R.W. Goode and G. H. Sickles. They included the streets LeBrun Road, LeBrun Circle, and Keswick Road. They created 180 lots which ranged from one to five acres. The homes in the Amherst Estates were built as expensive homes in various styles for “people of means.”

In 1916, Chas S. Burkhardt developed the High Park-Country Club section adjacent to the Amherst Estates. The development’s name came from the Country Club at Main and Bailey. The Country Club became Grover Cleveland Park and Golf Course in 1926. High Park Boulevard was built and developed with what was considered a “high-class” neighborhood at the time. They restricted the development to single-family homes and required houses to all be setback at least 40 feet from the street and to cost at least $5,000 ($127,500 in 2022 dollars).

The Hollywood Subdivision was established in 1919, built out of John Sattler’s estate. This development includes Westfield, Ivyhurst and Dellwood Roads. While higher-end homes were built earlier, these houses catered to working-class residents looking for inexpensive modest dwellings.

The Crosby Estate was developed in 1926 as Cleveland Park Terrace.  The neighborhood was developed as a “Garden City” style of development. The development had 1300 home sites, 8 miles of streets, 16 miles of sewer and water, and gas, electric, and phone service.

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Pomeroy Mansion, Eggertsville. Source: Beautiful Homes of Buffalo.

Pomeroy Park was developed by J. C. Troidl beginning in 1929.  Pomeroy Park was established by Gurney, Overturf & Becker from Robert W. Pomeroy’s estate and advertised as “Buffalo’s finest subdivision.”  Robert Pomeroy was a prominent lawyer in Buffalo.  Pomeroy Park consists of the streets Elham Drive, Bradenham Place, Longleat Park, Audley End and Greenaway Road.  The development consisted of 59 lots and was restricted to “high-class” single family dwellings.  Advertisements of the time indicated that there were other restrictions in place to “assure purchasers of pleasing environments”….not sure what that meant at the time, but it could refer to restrictive covenants which limited people of color from owning homes in certain neighborhoods.

Like much of Western New York and the rest of the country, the growth of Eggertsville slowed during the Great Depression. The boom was replaced by a period of recession and stabilization. The area then began to grow again in the 1950s, when prosperity returned to America, with post-war suburbanization building out much of Eggertsville and Snyder, including sites like the former Hedstrom Estate.

The next time you drive down Eggert Road, think of Christian Eggert and the other early settlers of Eggertsville!  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:

  • Young, Sue Miller.  A History of the Town of Amherst, 1818-1865.  Town of Amherst, 1965.
  • “Eggertsville Post Office.”  Buffalo Daily Courier.  August 17, 1861.
  • “Obituary – Christian Eggert.”  Buffalo Courier.  August 16, 1879.
  • Fess, Margaret.  “New House Isolating Cemetery Causes Furor”.  Buffalo Courier-Express.  August 20, 1950, p 22-A.
  • “The Amherst Estates.”  Buffalo Evening News.  May 7, 1910.  P53.
  • “Opening High Park”.  Buffalo Commercial.  March 19, 1915, p10.
  • Hubbell, Mark, editor.  Beautiful Homes of Buffalo.  Buffalo Truth Publishing Company, 1915.
  • Petri, Pitt.  The Postal History of Western New York.  copyright 1960, Buffalo NY.

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Today, we are going to discuss an area that is significant in my life. I grew up in Snyder on the grounds of what was once the Hedstrom Estate. Many of the early leaders of Buffalo Industry had country estates like this. Today, Amherst is the most populous town in New York State outside of the New York City metropolitan area. It’s hard to think about it being the location of a country estate. The growth of Amherst began around 1893 when the Buffalo and Williamsville Railway opened. Several suburban estates and horse farms popped up along this route. The area appealed to those who wanted to get out of the congestion and density of the city. The rail route and the easy proximity to the City of Buffalo made this a prime place for development while still commuting into the city. The Hedstroms were among others who built their estates in Amherst – another one was the Sattlers, who were neighbors to the Hedstroms. As automobiles became more common around the 1920s, subdivisions developed in this part of Amherst (Snyder/Eggertsville). While the estates have been subdivided, several of the historic homes still stand, such as the Hedstrom and Sattler’s homes.

roads3Let’s get ourselves oriented for today’s post. We’ll be discussing several streets. Firstly, Getzville Road, shown in yellow on the map, runs approximately 1.25 miles from Main Street to just past Sheridan Drive. Hedstrom Drive, shown in red, runs about 0.5 miles from Copper Heights to a dead end. Three other streets end in culs-de-sac with no outlet – Elmhurst Road, shown in light blue; High Court, shown in purple; and Four Winds Way, shown in orange. The Hedstrom’s country estate we’ll be discussing is shown in blue, based off of a 1915 map (boundaries may have changed over time). The Manor House is displayed with the green star, and the Gate House is shown with the yellow star.   

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Approximate route of Getzville Road (New Home Road) in 1866 shown in orange. Current Getzville Road shown in red.

The road that would become Getzville Road appears on maps as early as 1829. It grew over time, and by 1855, the road reached out to where Sheridan Drive is now. By 1866, the road reached North Forest Road. It eventually continued northward to Ellicott Creek Road. The road was initially known as New Home Road. As this was the road from Snyder to the Getzville, the road was then named after Joseph Goetz. Mr. Goetz was the first postmaster of Getzville, centered around what is now the intersection of Campbell Boulevard and Dodge Road. By 1939, a portion of the road was changed to Buffalo-Millersport Road (now Millersport Highway). In 1948, the portion leading north past Ellicott Creek became Campbell Boulevard. Getzville Road was shortened to its current length when the Youngmann Expressway (I-290) was built. One of Getzville’s distinctive features is the old stone wall that forms the border along the northwest corner of Main Street. In 1987, my family moved onto Getzville Road (a fact that is likely only important to me, haha)

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Source Mitchell Hedstrom: Five Generations of Hedstroms

Hedstrom Drive is named for Arthur Hedstrom, an early settler at Main and Getzville Road. The Hedstroms, Arthur’s grandparents Erik and Charlotte, came to America around 1843 from Sweden with their son Erik. Erik was called by his middle name, Leonard, and was 7 when they came to America. He decided he did not want to be a farmer like his father, so he went into the blacksmith trade. At age 21, Leonard took a position with AB Meeker, a Chicago-based coal operator, and pig iron merchant.

Around 1864, Leonard came to Buffalo to open a branch of the A.B. Meeker coal business here. Erik and Charlotte followed their son to Buffalo around that time. Leonard attended the Cedar Street Baptist Church, where he met Anna Matilda Clampffer. Leonard and Anna were married in 1865 and moved into a house on Michigan Street between Seneca and Swan Streets. Their daughter Alice was born in April 1866, and a son Arthur Eric was born in August 1869. In 1882, Leonard built a house at 717 Delaware Avenue between North and Summer Streets. Anna lived there until the 1920s.  

Shortly after he set up the offices for A.B. Meeker, he set up his own company at the foot of Erie Street to receive coal from New York via the Canal. The company was called the E.L. Hedstrom Company. The company distributed anthracite coal across Western New York and in Chicago, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska. The company was the largest shipper of coal on the Great Lakes. The company also did some coal mining and produced pig iron. In 1870, Leonard helped build the Buffalo Creek Railway. He served as President of the railway until it was taken over by the Lehigh Valley and Erie Companies in 1876. In 1871, Leonard built the first coal trestle in Buffalo at the Lehigh Docks to transfer anthracite coal from cars to vessels. Leonard also worked with the DL&W railroad to handle their coal destruction. The firm of E.L. Hedstrom was the only individual shipper of anthracite coal from Buffalo by the lake to the upper lake ports. The company had its offices at 304-312 Ellicott Square (note: this was before the construction of the Ellicott Square Building – the buildings prior were also called Ellicott Square. Based on City Directories, it does appear that the company did have offices in the Ellicott Square Building once it was built as well).

In 1880, Leonard began handling and distributing various grades of bituminous (or soft) coal – the first Pittsburgh Coal in the Buffalo Market. By 1880, the Chicago office was called Meeker, Hedstrom & Co, and by 1888, it was called E.L. Hedstrom & Co – with three partners – E.L. Hedstrom, G.W. Meeker, and J.H. Brown. The firm had three offices – Chicago, Buffalo, and Racine, Wisconsin (on Lake Michigan near Milwaukee).

Leonard was an active member of the Board of Trade and President of Buffalo Merchant’s Exchange. He was also a Director of the Buffalo Bank of Commerce and President of the Buffalo Baptist Union. Leonard served as President of the YMCA, a Director of the Buffalo Homeopathic Hospital, and the Homestead Lodging House. Anna was involved in the Home for the Friendless (which became Bristol Home and only recently closed earlier this year).

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Hedstrom Memorial Church, Doat Street Location (now Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church) Source: Mike Puma, Views of Buffalo 

Before he died, Leonard had contributed to the Delaware Avenue Baptist Church, which opened at 965 Delaware Avenue in January 1895, the year after Leonard died. The pipe organ, pulpit, and baptistry are all in memorial of Erik Leonard Hedstrom. The Hedstrom Memorial Baptist Church was also founded around the time of Leonard’s death. Anna Hedstrom donated $5,000 for the Baptist Mission at Walden Avenue to build a permanent home of worship in memory of her husband. A modest frame church was built at 106 Sumner Place. In 1897, the congregation formally became Hedstrom Memorial Baptist Church and dedicated their new place of worship. In 1931, they moved to 165 Doat Street. In 1989, they moved to Losson Road in Cheektowaga.

Anna and Leonard’s son Arthur attended Heathcote School for Boys in Buffalo, a small private school located at 310 Pearl Street. He also attended the Briggs School in Buffalo and the University of Rochester, from which he graduated in 1892. After Leonard died in 1894, Arthur took over the business as a partner in E.L. Hedstrom & Co. He also served as President of the Franklin Iron Manufacturing Company.

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Wilcox Mansion, where Albert and Katherine got married (and Teddy was inaugurated).  Photo by Author

Arthur married Katherine Meigs Wilcox on June 14, 1898. Katherine was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1875. She is the youngest of ten children; her big brother is Ansley Wilcox. Arthur and Katherine got married in the library at Ansley’s house. Just a few years later, the library was much more famously used for Theodore Roosevelt’s Inauguration. So the house is better known today as the TR Inaugural Site (note: I’m still pretty psyched to know that I’ve stood in the library where they were married, haha!)

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Source Mitchell Hedstrom: Five Generations of Hedstroms

Arthur and Katherine first lived at 27 Oakland Place. Their son, Eric Leonard, was born there in March 1899. They then moved to 498 Delaware Avenue, where their daughter Brenda was born in September 1902. A third son Lars was born in August 1909. The family was well known in the social circles of Buffalo. They were members of the Buffalo Club, the Saturn Club, the Buffalo Athletic Club, the Buffalo Country Club, and the Buffalo Tennis and Squash Club. Arthur was athletic. He had played first base for the University of Rochester baseball team. In addition, he played golf and tennis. He kept a list of all the golf courses he had played on, including 95 courses in the United States and 53 courses in other countries. He won the Buffalo Country Club Championship in 1896. He also played in the finals of the Buffalo City Championship in tennis singles for three years.

In 1904, Arthur and Katherine purchased 97 acres of land at 4200 Main Street. This was 9 miles from Downtown Buffalo. They built a home (referred to here as the Manor House) there in 1906. They developed the property into a country estate, including a tennis court, swimming pool, bathhouse, barn, formal gardens, and a pond. They originally intended the land to be a working farm, called Four Winds Farm, with four milk cows and two workhorses to plow the fields. However, after about ten years, they gave up the idea of running a farm.

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Source Mitchell Hedstrom: Five Generations of Hedstroms

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Arthur Hedstrom’s tadem horses he’d use to commute. Photo Source Mitchell Hedstrom: Five Generations of Hedstroms

Eric, Brenda, and Lars grew up on Four Winds Farm. The family commuted into the city often. Arthur would drive to work, first by horse and later in a maroon Pierce-Arrow limousine driven by his chauffeur, Charles Tong. He was known for going to the Buffalo Club for lunch. The family attended church at Delaware Avenue Baptist Church. Eric attended Franklin School, Nichols School, and Hill School (a boarding school in Pottstown, PA). He then attended Yale University. Lars attended the Franklin School, Nichols School, and Hotchkiss (a boarding school in Lakeville, Connecticut). He then attended Princeton University. Brenda attended the Franklin School, the Park School, Buffalo Seminary, and the Westover Boarding School in Middlebury, Connecticut. She had a coming-out party at the Buffalo Country Club. Newspapers of the time stated that Brenda was the “prettiest girl of her debutante set.”  

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Front of 100 Getzville

As the children grew up and got married, they would live in the apartment in the Gate House building on the property. Brenda married William Boocock in June 1924. They moved into the Gate House when they were first married after Eric moved out. Shortly after, Brenda and William built their own house on the estate at 100 Getzville. The wood-shingled Colonial Revival house stood behind the stone wall. We called this house the Secret Garden House because of its impressive, rambling appearance and wooded grounds.  

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Rear of 100 Getzville

In 2012, the long-time owner of 100 Getzville passed away, and the house was sold. The new owner intended to have the property listed as a local historic landmark and renovate the home. However, they discovered more structural issues than they had anticipated, so they abandoned that idea. A demolition permit was issued on January 9, 2013. The house was demolished, which was distressing to many neighbors. The property has been divided into multiple lots with a single entrance to preserve the stone wall. A house was built, and a second house is currently under construction this summer.

Arthur continued to grow the E.L. Hedstrom Company. The company had five coal trestles in Buffalo, at the foot of Erie Street, at Chicago & Miami Streets, at North Main Street & the DL&W railroad, at Walden Avenue & the DL&W railroad, and at East & Parish Streets in Black Rock. In addition, the company maintained coal yards at Delaware Avenue & the DL&W, at Erie Street, at Walden Avenue, at Chicago Street, and in the Black Rock area. They also had a soft coal yard at Roseville and Van Rensselaer Streets.

In 1927, the company merged with Spaulding and Spaulding, another Buffalo coal company. The company was then known as the Hedstrom-Spaulding Company. In 1955, it merged with another coal company and became Spaulding-Yates.

In addition to his role at E.L. Hedstrom, Arthur served as President of the Fairmont Coal Company, the Duth Hill Mining Company, the Snyder Gas Company, the Cooper Paper Box Company, the Oak Ridge and Bostonia Railroad, and the Hedstrom Holding Company. Like his father, he was involved in the YMCA, serving as Director from 1900-1926 and on the Board of Trustees from 1920-1932. After WWI, he helped remodel the Pearl and Genesee Streets building that adjoined the YMCA into a hotel. The hotel went by several names, including the “Men’s Hotel” and the “Red Triangle Inn.” It served as inexpensive but good lodging for men and boys. In addition, he organized a campaign to build “The Girl’s Home” for similar purposes. He also rented a building and equipped it as a Social Center for African Americans. In 1928, he and a friend built a model apartment house for African Americans with families.

Arthur also served as sole trustee of the school in Snyder for 7 years. He was a life member of the Albright Art Gallery and the Buffalo Public Library. He also served as a member of the Electoral College to elect Teddy Roosevelt as President.

In 1913, Arthur helped organize the Buffalo Federation of Churches, a group of 48 churches from 11 denominations. He was the first President of this Organization. Arthur and Katherine helped organize Amherst Community Church, located near their estate on Washington Highway, built in 1916. Katherine was also active in civic and women’s affairs. She organized the Girl Scouts in Buffalo during WWI. She taught Sunday School and Delaware Baptist Church. She served on the Board of Directors of the YWCA for 17 years. She worked with the Women’s Suffrage Movement and the Joint Charities. Joint Charities formed during WWI to create synergy for fundraising for multiple organizations – Charity Organization Society, Children’s Aid Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelties to Children, the District Nursing Association, and the Red Cross. Joint Charities is now the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County.

Katherine was also a prohibitionist. In 1931, she was one of 20 women who formed a national commission to present a report on prohibition and its enforcement from the women’s viewpoint. Mrs. Hedstrom wrote “Gains from Prohibition,” a report planned to be submitted to the President following their national conference.

Later in life, Arthur and Katherine liked to travel to get out of Buffalo in the winter. Arthur died in Vero Beach, Florida, in February 1946 at age 76. Two years later, the family sold the E.L. Hedstrom-Chicago Company. The family had still owned waterfront real estate, which they were able to sell for significant income. Katherine died in Buffalo in June 1952. After she died, the family sold their interests in the E.L. Hedstrom-Buffalo Company. The Hedstroms, along with many family members, are buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

The Hedstrom family sold the Four Winds property to Genrich Builders in 1947, who began to subdivide the property into development lots. Genrich Builder’s Snyder Development Co converted the Manor House and Gate House into apartments in 1949. Elmhurst Road was developed with housing lots first, and then High Court was built separating the Gate House and the Manor House.  

Genrich Builders and the Genrich Family were important in real estate in Amherst, starting with John Genrich entering the real estate business in 1919. He started Genrich Construction Company, which developed areas of the Lasalle neighborhood, including Lisbon, Highgate, and Minnesota Avenues. In the 1930s, the company formed Snyder Development Company to manage properties, such as the Hedstrom Manor House. John’s son, J. Harold Genrich, continued the business, changing the name to Genrich Builders in 1941. During the 1950s, the company began acquiring land in Amherst for both commercial and residential projects. Between 1919 and 1959, when John died, the company had built 2000 housing units. John’s other son, Willard Genrich, continued the family business as President of Genrich Builders Inc and the Lord Amherst Motor Hotel, which the family opened in 1962 at 5000 Main Street.

The Genrich family operated their business out of the family home at 4287 Main Street, not far from the Hedstrom Estate. The house had been initially built in 1880 by Charles Berryman. For those keeping track, 4287 Main Street is at the corner of Main Street and Berryman Drive, named for the Berryman family, who owned 40 acres between Main Street and the town line. In 2003, the more than 100-year-old farmhouse was purchased by the Amherst Industrial Development Agency (AIDA) and renovated into their offices.

The portion of the Hedstrom Estate that was not initially developed by Genrich Builders was developed in three phases in the 1950s as Pearce & Pearce’s “Getzville Estates.” Included in the Getzville Estates were Woodbury Drive, Meadowstream Drive, Greenbrier Drive, and Colony Court. Pearce & Pearce was founded by Howard and Early Pearce in 1936. Pent-up demand for housing from the Great Depression and WWII caused a housing boom by the 1950s. Residents were ready to leave behind the urban congestion for the suburban dream of a house of their own and a yard. As a result, Pearce & Pearce built more than 10,000 moderately priced homes for young families in Amherst. Houses in Getzville Estates were described as “charming contemporary homes, large fully landscaped lots, rambling 1-floor plan homes, all with three bedrooms, full basements, family rooms, attached 2-car garages, wood-burning fireplaces, and many other desirable modern features”. The homes were priced around $25,000 to $29,900. The house I grew up in is one of the Getzville Estates’ homes. All of the houses on our block were built as mirror images of their neighbors. Over the last 70 years, many (perhaps all?) homes have been modified and remodeled. Hence, every house is slightly different but has the same basic structural bones.

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Houses in Getzville Estates

The lots on Hedstrom, Berwin, Copper Heights, Koster Row, and Fairlawn were subdivided and developed as “Greater Boncroft,” named after another street in the area, Boncroft Drive.  

Starting in 1990, Benchmark Group developed 10 lots of residential houses in a new subdivision. The project was given the name “Four Winds” after the Hedstrom family estate and the nursery located on the site, and the road was named Four Winds Way. The completion of Four Winds Way completed the suburban development of the Four Winds Farm.

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Portion of the Stone Wall along Getzville Road in front of what was Brenda Hedstrom’s home

The Hedstrom Gate House and the stone wall along Main Street and Getzville Road are listed as Designated Historic Properties by the Town of Amherst Historic Preservation Commission (HPC). The rustic stone wall is from circa 1820 and is the oldest of the stone walls along Main Street in Snyder. Around 2001-2002 the Gatehouse Property was looking at redevelopment. Prospective buyers were interested in the property. One of them was the Amherst IDA, looking to purchase the property to renovate the Gate House, build a new building and a parking lot. In March of 2002, the Amherst Town Board voted to designate the entire 1.6 acre Gate House Site as a landmark. Initially, the Town was going to designate just the Gate House and a strip of land where the stone fence stands. However, residents fought to protect the entire site, including the grounds and grove of trees, which were important contextually for the building and wall. Caroline Duax, a local resident, led the fight, collected 787 signatures from area residents, and presented to Town Board. At the time, the property was still owned by Snyder Development Company, who fought the decision to landmark the site. They had been looking to sell the property to a developer. With the landmark protection, any developers needed the approval of the Historic Preservation Committee before making changes, making it less attractive for development. After the designation, the developer sued the Town.

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Hedstrom Gate House Source: Julianna Fiddler-Woite 

Caroline continued her research. She learned that Frederick Law Olmsted’s son landscaped the grounds in 1924 and went to Boston to get the blueprints from the Olmsted Conservancy. The drawings and blueprints can be found online in the Olmsted Archives here. She learned that the architect who designed the Manor House (and likely put the stucco on the Gate House) was Fred H Loverin, who also designed the Hotel Lennox on North Street in Buffalo.

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Item Number: 7292-4 Document Title: Mr. Arthur E. Hedstrom Williamsville Road Erie Co. N.Y. Cross-Section Elevations to Accompany Plan # 3 Scale 1/4″ = 1′ Project: 07292; Courtesy of the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.

In 2006, Caroline and her husband ended up purchasing the property to preserve it. She served as the general contractor, designing and supervising the renovation over two years. While renovating, they discovered there were multiple structures within the 1904 shell that had been built by the Hedstroms. There was originally an older house structure at the west end (to the left in the above photo) along Main Street, dating from 1820. Hedstrom built the second house on the East end of the structure. The area between the two buildings was filled in with a one-story shed further back on the property and the archway seen from Main Street. They connected the buildings and covered them in stucco. Because of the archway, the property serves as the Gate House onto what was the Hedstrom Property.

Historically, there was a tollbooth located at Main and Getzville Road. Tollbooths were built by the Buffalo and Williamsville Macadam Company, which constructed Main Street as a toll road in 1836 to connect the two municipalities. The tollbooth at Getzville Road was the last tollbooth standing on Route 5 between Buffalo and Albany, operating until 1899. Some people think that the Gate House is the tollbooth, but that is not the case. There are some rumors that part of the tollbooth was used to construct the archway section of the Gate House, but I am not sure if they are founded. 

The house on the right (to the east) was occupied by the Hedstrom Estate Caretaker, Charles Tong, and his family. The house on the west was initially occupied by the farmers who worked on the farm and various Hedstrom family members over the years. The middle section housed farm and property equipment. The barn behind the East House is a large structure with a high peaked roof. The first floor held horses and buggies and later cars. East of the building, now the lawn and woods, was an apple and pear orchard. There is one pear tree and a few apple trees in the wooded area that still produce fruit.

In 2012, Caroline was awarded the Rehabilitation/Adaptive Reuse Award from Preservation Buffalo Niagara. Caroline Duax passed away in 2020 after a battle with cancer. Her husband planted 3000 daffodils to dance in the breeze each spring in her memory.

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Hedstrom Manor House Source: New York State Historic Preservation Office

Interestingly, the Manor House is not listed as a historic property, though in 2018, New York State Historic Preservation Office listed it as eligible for listing. Several older sources I found noted that the mansion had been demolished. This is likely because the wooded lot and setback make it hard to see from the street. The Tudor Revival and Craftsman house dates from around 1906 and is on a 3-acre lot. The house is two and a half stories built of quarry stone. The house included 14 master bedrooms and seven bathrooms. 

When the Manor House was converted into apartments, it was separated into eight two-bedroom apartments. Genrich preserved much of the park-like setting, including the spring-fed pond. In addition, the company developed housing lots on High Court and Elmurst Drive and several lots on Getzville.   

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View of the Pond from Elmhurst. Photo by Author

Historically, the property also included a pool, a pool house, pergola, and tennis courts, but those have been removed. In the early 2000s, 11 townhouses were proposed in six new buildings surrounding the Manor House. The neighbors fought against the development, but ultimately the plans were approved by the Town, and the townhouses were built. However, the developers did drop their plan to include a ring road around the townhouses, which would have significantly altered the scenic value of the remaining Hedstrom property.

Special thanks to Mitchell Hedstrom, Arthur’s Great Grandson, who wrote a book about his family history, an incredible resource for this researcher to find! If you’re interested in reading more about the Hedstroms, you can check out his book on Google Books here. And thank you for giving me permission to use some of your family photos. Thank you also to Caroline Duax for working so hard to save the Gate House. Your spirit was moving through me when I recently walked past the Gate House on a walk with my parent’s dog Lady, which finally convinced me I needed to write this post. And thank you to the Hedstroms for building their estate and for the Genriches and Pearces who constructed my neighborhood – it was a great place to grow up!

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:

  • “Women Also Plan Prohibition Study:  Mrs. Arthur Hedstrom one of 20 Who Will Conduct National Conference”.  Buffalo Courier Express, March 19, 1931.
  • “A.E. Hedstrom, 76, President of Coal Company is Dead”.  Buffalo Evening News.  February 25, 1946, p6.
  • Borrelli, George and Kevin Collison.  “W.A. Genrich, Businessman, Regent, Dies”.  Buffalo News.  June 8, 1999.
  • Bridger, Chet.  “Amherst Development Agency Buys Home for Its Headquarters”.  Buffalo News.  July 19, 2003.
  • “Genrich Family Name Towers High in Growth of Area Building Industry”  Buffalo Courier Express January 7, 1979.  Sec G  p1
  • Radder, Joseph.  “Bill Pearce Succeeds Father & Grandfather in Family Business”.  Living Primetime.  Sept 2004.
  • “William Howard Pearce Dies; Developer and Philanthropist”.  Buffalo News.  November 22, 1998.
  • Thomas, G. Scott.  Turning Points #4:  Behind the Curb. Buffalo Business First.  June 19, 2014.
  • “Exclusive Subdivision Planned in Snyder”.  Buffalo News.  February 24, 1990.
  • Williams, Dierdre.  “Preservation Rules May Not Deter Gatehouse Buyers”.  Buffalo News.  June 5, 2002.
  • “Landmark Status Granted to Entire Hedstrom Site”.  Buffalo News.  March 5, 2002.
  • Duax, Caroline.  Letter to the Editor.  “Preserve Gate House and Its green Space”.  Buffalo News.  November 18, 2001.
  • McNeil, Harold.  “Amherst Residents Protest New Housing”.  Buffalo News.  August 16, 2002
  • McNeil, Harold. “Townhouse Developer to Present New Plans”.  Buffalo News.  November 20, 2002.
  • Silverman, Laura.  “Home:  Unlikely Champions Save Amherst Landmark”.  Buffalo Spree.  October 25, 2012.
  • Hedstrom, Mitchell.  Five Generations of Hedstroms:  An American Branch of a Swedish Family. iUniverse. 2020.  
  • Collins, Jimmy.  “Hedstrom Estate, Area Showplace, Bought by Genrich”.  Buffalo Evening News.  July 9, 1949. p7.
  • “Development is Planned”  Buffalo Courier-Express, February 21, 1960. B7.
  • “Heir Arrives in Boocok Household.”  Buffalo Courier.  May 31, 1925.  p49.
  • “Miss Hedstrom Radiantly Beautiful as a Bride”  Buffalo Courier.  June 15, 1924.  p45.
  • “Genrich Planning $500,000 Snyder Home Development”.  Buffalo Evening News.  February 20, 1960.  C-5.
  • “Genrich to Represent Mass. Firm”  Buffalo Courier Express.  November 19, 1978. H-2.
  • Town of Amherst. “Intensive Level Survey of Historic Resources”.   Bero Associates, Rochester NY.  August 1998.
  • Fiddler-Woite, Julianna. “The Gate House”.  Amherst 2000 Blog.  June 7, 2018.  amherst200.wordpress.com
  • Town of Amherst “Updated Reconnaissance Level Survey of Historic Resources”.  kta preservation specialists.  August 2011.

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Hi friends! I started this blog ten years ago this week!!  As most of you may know, I started researching streets because I wanted to know how Keppel Street got its name, since that’s my last name.  As I learned about other streets, I knew I needed to share the stories I was uncovering.  I created this blog to be able to have a medium to share those stories.

IMG_20200310_123744In ten years time, I’ve written 139 posts and we have covered 206 streets!!!  I’ve given more than 100 talks around Western New York on streets and other local history topics.  The blog somehow has more than 8,500 followers!  When I started, I thought maybe I’d have around 12 followers. I am continually blown away by all the interest and support I have received.  Over the last decade, it seems like interest in Buffalo’s history has grown exponentially.  It’s an exciting time to be a historian in Buffalo!    

I am often asked how I do my research.  I spend hours and hours in my favorite place – the Grosvenor Room at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library.  There are stacks and stacks of books about Buffalo’s history there.  If you’ve never been, I highly recommend.  The librarians there are top notch and can help you begin your quest.  It’s easy to get lost in the old books, discovering new things.  Loyal blog readers will know that the Grosvenor Library was originally a separate library, named after Seth Grosvenor.  Interestingly, in the past year, I was contacted by someone from Seth Grosvenor’s hometown who was doing some research.  Felt like a full circle moment for sure!  I felt quite lost during the months last year when the library was closed during the pandemic.  I am happy to be back researching at the library!  

IMG_20210407_152507_504Historic research can be hard!  There are no easy answers.  Someone asked me once if there was a website that listed who all the streets were named after that I use.  The website is this site here, the one I created!! Research comes from hours and hours of searching through old books and microfilm! You hit a lot of dead ends sometimes when researching.  You’ll think you found a source that will answer your question, but then you open in and it’s not about what you thought it was.  But sometimes, you’ll turn the page and find new information about something you didn’t even know you were looking for!  Research is frustrating and rewarding and exhausting and exiting and so many emotions all at the same time.  

Over the last decade, I think I have gotten better at research. I take great pride in trying to post the most factual information I can find.  While there has been a lot of renewed interest in Buffalo’s past, I have also found there has also been a lot of misremembering.  Often it’s no-one’s fault….I picture Buffalo like a giant game of telephone!  You remember telephone?  The old camp game where you whisper something into someone’s ear and they pass it along the line of people.  By the end of the line, the message sometimes gets a little twisted.  Especially with social media, it’s easy for those stories to travel quickly and myths to get widely dispersed around town.  I try to verify the information I find, and always list my sources.  I like to think my elementary school librarians and teachers who taught me the fundamentals of research would be proud.  I promise that I will never post information that I cannot verify.  

As a result of my increased research skills over the last decade, my posts often end up being longer and take more time to write.  My average words per post has gone up significantly from my first posts.  I really enjoy being able to take a deeper dive into some of the subject matter.  If people are interested, I am go back and write more about some of the earlier street names, to cover information I may not have uncovered the first time around.  Let me know if that’s something you’re interested in reading.   I am especially proud of the work I did this past year about urban renewal in regards to JFK Park and North Oak Street.  I also finally wrote about my hero Mary Talbert…it took me three parts to tell her story!

69220510_2797217353640960_1905424552532377600_nI am proud to announce that I will be kicking off walking tours again this summer!  My first one will be “Discovering Downtown – Then and Now” on Sunday July 25th. This will be the same tour I gave in Summer 2019, but I hope to branch out and do some additional tours as well, so stay tuned.  More information about the tour can be found at the Discovering Buffalo, One Street at a Time facebook page.  I hope to do tours monthly.  Additional tour dates will be posted over time, so follow along on facebook for more info.  The tours will be free, but donations will be graciously accepted.  All proceeds will be used to build up my blog and invest back into my research.  Interested in donating but can’t come on a tour?  You can send a donation to me through paypal here:  https://paypal.me/akepps?locale.x=en_US

I will also be doing a virtual talk through Erie County Senior Services University Express Program.  Discovering Buffalo One Street at a Time Part 4 will be at 10am on July 7th.  You can register for that by clicking this link.  You can also find Parts 1, 2 and 3 archived on their website here.  

Thank you to everyone who has followed my blog, shared their stories with me or shared my blog with their friends and family.  I really appreciate you all from the bottom of my heart.  While I don’t always have time to reply to every single message or comment, I promise I read them all and try to reply to as many as I can.  I’d love to know – what’s your favorite street I’ve written about?  or maybe that I haven’t written about?  

Want to see a list of all the streets I’ve written about?  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.

So here’s to ten years!  Ten years and I still don’t know how Keppel Street got it’s name.  They named 150 streets the day they named Keppel Street!  It’s one of those things I wonder if we’ll ever actually know.  But I love this crazy hobby of mine, so I’ll keep looking.  I love being the Buffalo Streets Girl and telling you all the stories of all the other streets!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Take Care,

Angela Keppel

 

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Happy Women’s History Month!!  As any good reader of this blog knows, our streets are often named after rich white men.  So, in honor of Women’s History Month, I thought we’d highlight some of our street named after women.  

Mary B Talbert

Mary Talbert

  • Mary Talbert Blvd – Mrs. Talbert was the “most famous colored person in the country” during her time.  Read about her here in Part One, Part Two and Part Three.
  • Lovejoy Street – Sarah Lovejoy was the only woman killed defending Buffalo during the War of 1812.  You can read about her here.  
  • St. John’s Place – Margaret St. John’s home was the only house spared during the Burning of Buffalo during the War of 1812.  You can read about her here.  
  • Ripley Place – Mary Ripley was a teacher at Central High School.  She was charged with taming the boy’s study hall classes, which were the source of riots and police calls during the 1860s.  You can read about her here.
  • Lovering Ave – Sarah Lovering Truscott, along with her niece and daughter give this street its name.  Her niece, Mary Lovering, was one of the first society women in Buffalo to earn her living outside of the home.  You can read about them here.  
  • Gill Alley – Helen Gill decided to build a home in the Elmwood Village after her husband died.  This was unusual at the time, since most Victorian era homes were run by the man of the house.  You can read about her here.  
  • Gladys Holmes Blvd and Mary Johnson Blvd – Gladys and Mary were community activists on the East Side of Buffalo, living in the Talbert Mall.  You can read about them here.  
  • Minnie Gillette Drive – Minnie Gillette was our first Black County Legislator and helped to save the Old Post Office in Downtown (now ECC City Campus).  You can read about her here.  
  • Ora Wrighter Drive – Ora Wrighter was a community activist on the East Side of Buffalo.  You can read about her here.  
  • Wasmuth Avenue – Caroline Wasmuth was the first female land developer in Buffalo, back in the 1880s.  You can read about her here.  
  • 20191127_155801

    Lavinia Austin

    Austin Street – While the street is named after her husband, Livinia Austin took over his business (with her daughter Delia) after his death and did some developing of her own, including converting the Unitarian Church at 110 Franklin Street from a church into commercial space.  The county is currently rehabbing the building for use once again, calling it the Lincoln Building.  You can read about Livinia and the Austin family, here. Lavinia Austin
  • Many of the streets with women’s names were named after the children of a developer or land owner.  Examples of some of these streets that I’ve written about here include – Alice, Edith, Fay, Gail, Janet, Kay, May, Phyllis and Millicent. 

Of course, I have to give a shout out to the original Buffalo Streets girl herself, H. Katherine Smith.  She was a reporter for the Buffalo Courier for more than 40 years, and she was blind!  Her story inspires me every single time I read one of her articles.  

Of course, these women are just a few examples of some of the great Buffalo Women over the years!  In the comments, feel free to tell me your favorite stories about your favorite Buffalo Women!   I’ll start – my favorite is Louise Bethune, one of the first female architects. She designed the Hotel Lafayette, which has been my home for the last nine years, so I am forever grateful to her.  Who’s your favorite female Buffalonian?

 

 

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This week marks 9 years of writing this blog.  Where has the time gone?  In those nine years, I got rid of my car, moved twice, and have had four different jobs!  In June of 2011, I decided I needed to find out how Keppel Street got it’s name.  So I started doing research.  Funny how such a little question I had turned into all of this!  So far, we have covered information about 183 streets.  Can you believe it?

89846546_1781223202012043_4603468453204983808_oIn the past year, I’ve had some great opportunities – I gave a bunch of University Express presentations which has been great fun!  In the fall, we covered “Which Side of the Skyway Are You On?”  It was really fun to discuss the history of the Skyway and differing opinions on it.  This spring, we switched to online classes, and I’ve done “Discovering Buffalo One Street at a Time” Parts 1, 2 and 3 so far!  You can find them on Erie County’s website here.  Stay tuned, we may be doing a Part 4 at some point.  Last summer/fall, I tested out some ideas for tours.  I’m definitely planning on doing more once it’s safe to congregate in groups again!  In March, I spoke at the Library as part of the Imagine Greater Buffalo series.  Since it was Women’s History Month, I spoke about streets named after women.  WBFO got wind of it and I was then interviewed for a story about streets named after women.

I hope you all have been enjoying my current series about streets named after African Americans.  I intend to continue those pieces through the summer at least.  I have several more in the works that will be coming very soon – including Mary Talbert, who is one of my all time favorite Buffalonians.  When I was in Arkansas in March (just before pandemic hit), I was able to visit some of the places associated with her when she lived there before she moved to Buffalo.  It was very special to me.  I’m actually ashamed I haven’t written about her on here yet!

As most of you know, this is truly a passion project for me.  I love sharing stories about our city and regional history.  I’m so thankful for all of you who have followed along over the last nine years.  When I started writing this, I thought I’d only have like 12 followers….boy was I wrong about that!

Just for fun, here are some some things that were also happening in Buffalo in June 2011:

  1. Terry Pegula had just purchased the Sabres a few months earlier.   The Sabres had just played in the playoffs for the last time since that year.  Lindy Ruff was still coach.  Thomas Vanek was our best player.
  2. Chris Collins was still our County Executive.  Mark Poloncarz was still just our trusty County Comptroller, but was about to be elected County Executive in the fall
  3. Byron Brown was in his second term as Mayor.  Andrew Cuomo was six months into his first term as Governor.
  4. Thursdays in the Square moved from Lafayette Square down to the Central Wharf and became Thursdays at Canalside.  The first concert at Canalside was June 30th, 2011 and was Lowest of the Low and Ron Hawkins and the Do Good Assassins.
  5. Canalside was just the property south of Marine Drive and west of Main Street.  The portion near Main Street wasn’t even grass yet (Pegula donated the sod to fill in the grass there).  There were no restaurants or buildings yet.  The New Naval Park Museum and Liberty Hound would open in 2012.  One Canalside was still the State-owned Donovan Building; HarborCenter was just a city-owned parking lot, and the Aud Block was just a giant pit.
  6. The Construction was just wrapping up at the old Dulski Federal Building – now the The Avant/Embassy Suites.
  7. Larkin Square and Larkinville were still just a twinkle in the eye of Howard and Leslie Zemsky.  Larkin Square and the Filling Station would open in 2012.  Food Truck Tuesday wasn’t really a concept we knew about yet. Our first food truck, Lloyd, had just started serving burritos a year before and food trucks were new on the scene!
  8. The tower at the end of Main Street was still known as HSBC Tower and it was still used by bank employees for another two years.
  9. The Hotel Lafayette was still vacant.  We still had to drive to Rochester for Dinosaur BBQ.  Toutant, Big Ditch, Tappo, Thin Man….none of them existed.
  10. Buffalo was preparing to be the location of the National Trust Preservation Conference in the fall.  During that conference, the Richardson Building was open to the public for the first time.  It would still be two years before construction began on Hotel Henry.

Years ago (maybe in 2011) there was a Sabres blog I used to follow that would do a summary of things people search for to find your blog.  I always enjoyed reading those updates.  Many people search for generic things like “streets of Buffalo History”, “buffalo streets blog” or “Angela Keppel”.  It’s weird to see that people search my name so often, but also kind of cool.

Here’s the top ten things people searched for to find my blog this past year.  If you click the link, it will take you to the associated articles:

  1. Canal District -including things like “central wharf”, “dante place”, and “end of erie canal in buffalo history”.  I have been doing some research about the Canalside area lately for a project we’re doing at work, so hopefully I’ll have some more coming about this in the future!
  2. Church Street – people are really interested in the downtown churches of Buffalo (and there used to be many more before they moved out of Downtown), and they search for the three churches on Church Street often, for the location of Old First Presbyterian Church…perhaps those are people who went on a tour of First Pres and are curious about where they used to be?
  3. Rumsey– people are continually interested in the Rumsey Family and learning about Rumsey Park….many of the Rumsey Park contemporaries probably were curious too – those who didn’t get invites to parties there surely gawked at the properties as they walked by or rode by in their carriages.
  4. Kelly Island – I don’t even have a post about this yet and it’s consistently in the top list! There was an announcement in the news a few months ago regarding a property on Kelly Island…and my blog was one of the few places that mention the Island….although it’s just an offhand mention because Ganson Street is located on Kelly Island.  I have more research to come about the Island (which is where General Mills and Riverworks are today).  I hope to learn more about the name soon.
  5. Lovejoy– Sarah Lovejoy and her son Henry are something people search for often.  I’m glad her story continues to be told.  Her bravery protecting her home inspires me.
  6. Ellicott– people are often searching for more about Joseph Ellicott and the Holland Land Company.  Joseph is the reason for Buffalo’s existence as we know it, so I’m glad people are still looking for more information about him.
  7. Tifft– people have been coming across the blog from searching for “Tifft House”, which was a great building on Main Street, as well as searching for George Washington Tifft himself and “Tifft Farm”.  Sometimes, I wonder if a few of the Tifft searches are looking for directions or info about operations at Tifft Farm Nature Preserve….if so, I’m sorry you got to my blog, but I hope you enjoyed learning the history of the site!
  8. Exchange– people searched for “what businesses were on exchange street in the 1800s”, “New York Central station on Exchange Street”, as well as searching for the other stations that were on or near Exchange Street historically.  I think people have a renewed interest due to the new Amtrak Station that is under construction now.
  9. Scajaquada– this is of course a common search item for people in Buffalo.  There’s been lots of news and lots of debates about if we should change the expressway to a parkway, etc.  I also like that some people have found my blog by searching for “Kenjockety” or some of the other spelling of his name.
  10. Central Park – when this first started showing up in my search terms, I was convinced that people were trying to find Central Park in New York and were probably super confused when they found an article about Lewis Bennett.  But lately, there have been more searches for things like “former stores in central park plaza” and “history of central park plaza” so I think it’s Buffalo related.  The Central Park neighborhood and the Central Park Plaza are an interesting part of Buffalo’s history and it seems like more and more people are interested in it!

So, how did you find my blog?  Do you have a favorite street history you’ve learned about?  Let me know in the comments!  My favorite fact that I’ve learned is still about how handsome Bishop John Timon was in his youth!

I hope you are enjoying what is going to be a very different summer for us all.  We’ll have to have a big party next year to celebrate 10 years.  New posts coming soon!

Love,

Angela “9 Years & I still don’t know how Keppel St got its name” Keppel

 

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May 2020 Update

Hello fellow street history fans!  I just wanted to write a quick post to check in and see how everyone is doing during this pandemic?  I am healthy and working from home these days.  I try to get out and walk every day around my neighborhood, which I’ve been enjoying when it’s not snowing!  For those not in Buffalo, today – May 8th- it is snowing!  I like winter, but I am ready for some warmth!

I really miss writing blog posts!  I have some research I can do online, but many of you know that a lot of my research takes place using old books and microfilm in the Grosvenor Room at the Buffalo Central Library.  I take pride in trying to find as many sources as I can to verify facts before I publish information, which is tricky when my sources are all locked up for public safety!  I’m hoping to pull together some new posts soon, piecing together some of the research I do have access to at this time.

Some of you may know that I have been a long time speaker with the Erie County Department of Senior Services University Express Program.  University Express brings courses to Seniors across Erie County.  Since we can’t meet in person now, I have partnered with the county to do some of my programs as virtual courses.  Two have been posted so far:

“Discovering Buffalo, One Street at a Time” Part 1 is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au0PB_iL5oE

“Discovering Buffalo, One Street at a Time” Part 2 is available here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZxjQKknCjs

To see more great courses by other great speakers, you can check out the County’s page.  They are posting new content each week, so keep checking back for more on their site here:  https://www2.erie.gov/universityexpress/index.php?q=current-classes

I had been hoping to launch my history walking tours this summer.  I had a lot of fun last summer with my two test tours!  It’s still undetermined if we’ll safely be able to meet up in groups over the summer, so it’s looking like that may not happen.  I may toy around with putting some of the tour content online…perhaps using Instagram stories.  Is this something you may be interested in?  Please leave a comment below!

Keep in mind that we’ve covered a lot of streets on here, so if you’re bored, you can always check out the Street Index to read up on all the streets we’ve covered here!

I hope you all are staying well.  To all the mother’s out there – Happy Mother’s Day this weekend!

Thank you as always, for all of your support,

Angela Keppel

 

 

 

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