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Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo and Jamestown Railroad’

Doyle Avenue is a street in the Riverside Neighborhood in Buffalo.  The street runs 0.25 miles between Kenmore Avenue and Skillen Street.

Doyle Avenue is named for Major General Peter Cozzens Doyle.  Maj. Doyle was born in Washington County in 1842.  He came to Buffalo with his family via the Erie Canal when he was 4.  He lived in Buffalo until his death.  He attended Public School No. 2 and Old Central High School, but his formal education ended in his teens as was custom in the time, due to the need to earn a living.  He became a telegrapher and became an operator for the Lake Shore Railroad before he was 16.  At 16, he became a bookkeeper for the Buffalo Courier, and worked for the paper from 1858 until the outbreak of the Civil War.  He enlisted and became a lieutenant.  His knowledge of telegraphy was valuable to the army signal corps.  Following the war, he returned to the Courier.  He was associated with the railroads and local wholesale grocers.

Maj. Doyle was elected to his first public office in 1869, when he was elected superintendent of the Buffalo Fire Department.  At the time, firemen were all volunteers, and Superintendent Doyle was a pioneer in advocating the use of horses to draw hose carts and hook and ladder apparatus.  At the time, volunteer firemen and any other men or boys who were nearby would hitch up to the apparatus and run to the scene of action.

In 1870, Doyle became Chief of Police.  During this time, he purchased the right of way for the Buffalo and Jamestown Railroad.  He would drive his buggy along the right of way and buy the land, parcel by parcel.  He became first superintendent of that railroad.

In 1881, Doyle was chairman of the Democratic Committee of Erie County.  That year, they were having a hard time finding a candidate for Mayor, as many democratic candidates had been defeated in previous elections and they found running to be a hopeless cause.   Five people had been asked to run for office, all turning down the offer.  Doyle was instrumental in convincing prominent Buffalo attorney and former Erie County Sheriff Grover Cleveland to run for Mayor.  The rest is political history, as Cleveland rose from Mayor to Governor to President by 1885.

Maj. Doyle was also the Buffalo representative for the Lehigh Valley Railroad and Coal Company, president of the Local Merchants Exchange and a vestryman of Trinity Episcopal Church.

Maj. Doyle married Annie Kelderhouse (her uncle William Mowry operated the first cotton mill in New YorK State).  Annie and Peter built a brick home at Niagara and Georgia Streets.  Later, they built another house on Mariner Street.  Although he owned a great deal of real estate throughout the City, he owned no land near what would eventually became Doyle Avenue.  However, his brother-in-law, John Kelderhouse owned land in that area, which was instrumental in the choice of the name Doyle Avenue.  Maj. Doyle and his wife had three daughters and two sons.  Sadly, the sons died of diphtheria in their teens, only a year before the discovery of the antitoxin.

During the Spanish-American War Maj. Doyle commanded the troops at Peeksill.  At the war’s close in 1901, he was made Major General.  He died later that same year and is buried in Forest Lawn.

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

Source: “Doyle Avenue Honors Soldier- Civic Leader” Courier Express, Jan 1 1939, sec. 5, p.2

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