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holland placeHolland Place is a one block long street in the Masten Park neighborhood on the east side of Buffalo, running between Riley Street and Northhampton Street.  The street is named after Nelson Holland.

Nelson Holland was born in Belchertown, Massachusetts in 1829.  The Holland family was a pioneer American family, John Holland had settled in Massachusetts in 1633.  Seven years after Nelson was born, his father brought the family to Western New York and bought a farm in Springville, New York.   Nelson attended rural schools and the Springville Academy (now the Griffith Institute).

nelson hollandIn 1850, Nelson Holland moved to Buffalo to work for his uncle, Selim Sears, who at the time was operating a mill in Michigan.  Nelson later purchased a portion of a saw mill, which stood where the Michigan Central Railroad station is (look this up).  He then purchased 4,000 acres of pine lands in Michigan.  In 1855, Mr. Holland purchased a mill in St. Clair, Michigan.

In 1864, Mr. Holland purchased 4,000 acres in Buffalo and came to Buffalo to look after his purchase, leaving his St. Clair mill in the hands of his brother Luther.  Mr. Nelson purchased interests in many mills and lands, stretching into Canada.  He owned lands stretching from Buffalo to Texas.

Mr. Holland’s holdings held firm through the ups and downs of the lumber industry, and survived the panics of 1857, 1873 and 1893.  He had controlling stakes in as many as 4 different lumber companies at the same time.  Even after 40 years in the business, Mr. Holland was said to “retain much of his old-time vigor, ambition and force with which to carry forth plans of future operations”.

In 1877, the Buffalo firm of Holland, Graves and Montgomery was organized.  They handled more than 500,000,000 feet of pine lumber.  Mr. Holland was considered to be a master in the art of manipulating pine forests to get product into marketable form.  It was also said that he had probably cut and consumed more pine lumber than any other man.

Mr. Holland was also prominent in lake transportation interests and was proprietor of the Buffalo Standard Radiator Company, which made radiators.

Holland Family Plot

Holland Family Plot

He was a member of North Presbyterian Church and served as President of its Board of Trustees, and then later became a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Holland married Susan Ann Clark of Silver Creek in June 1857.  They had four children – Jessie Clark, Helen Lee, Grace and Nelson Clark.  Their son Nelson II took over the lumber business from his father. The family lived in a large brick home with sandstone trimmings on the northwest corner of Delaware and Bryant. Mr. Holland died in 1896 and is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. Our County and its people:  A descriptive work on Erie County, New York.  Edited by: Truman C. White.  The Boston History Company, Publishers: 1898.
  2. Memorial and Family History of Erie County, New York.  The Genealogical Publishing Company:  Buffalo:  1906.
  3. Larned, J.N.  A History of Buffalo:  Delineating the Evolution of the City.  The Progress of the Empire State Company:  New York.  1911.
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ketchumKetchum Place is a small street on the Lower West Side of Buffalo.  The street runs for just one block, between York Street and Jersey Street.  The street is named after Jesse Ketchum.

Mr. Ketchum was born in Spencerport, New York on March 1, 1782.  His mother passed away when Jesse was six, and he and his ten siblings were distributed among various family and neighbors. The eldest Ketchum Sibling, Seneca, was 16 and was able to live on his own after the death of their mother.  Jesse spent much of his childhood working on a farm from sunrise until sunset; he longed to go to school but was never allowed.  It’s said that as an adult, he rarely spoke of the time between the age of six and adulthood.

Jesse Ketchum

Jesse Ketchum

At the age of 17, in 1799, Jesse went to Little York, now Toronto, to where his older brother, Seneca Ketchum, lived.  He went by foot to Oswego, where he was able to work for passage on a boat to Kingston, Ontario, and then on another boat for passage from Kingston to York.  When Jesse arrived in York, Seneca put his brother in charge of his extensive farm.  Both Jesse and Seneca fell in love with Ann Love, a young widow who worked as their housekeeper.  They drew lots to decide who would marry her, and Jesse and Ann were married.

Jesse and Ann had six children.  In 1804, Jesse moved to the outskirts of York.  He was successful in establishing a tannery there.  During the War of 1812, he became rich while making shoes for Canadian and English soldiers.  While in Canada, Jesse Ketchum served as Constable of York and a member of the Dominion Parliament.

After Ann’s death, Jesse married Mary Ann Rubergall and had three more children.  He recognized that Buffalo was becoming an important shipping hub due to the Erie Canal.   In 1845, he moved to Buffalo. He purchased land on Main Street between Allen and High Streets to build a tannery.  He continued to do good business at his tannery.  He was successful at the buying and selling of farm lands just outside of Buffalo, north of North Street.

Once he had made his fortune, he decided he was more interested in giving it away for the good of the community, rather than accumulate more wealth.  He was considered a philanthropist around town, giving money to those who needed it during the cholera epidemic of 1849.  During the Civil War, well into his 80s, Mr. Ketchum funded for the care of the families of enlisted men.

One of Mr. Ketchum’s other activities in Buffalo was buying of homes and farms.  He would “rent” homes and farms to deserving tenants.  He would then take the rent they were paying and apply it towards the eventual purchase price, allowing people to own land who might not otherwise be able to afford.

The Ketchum House on North Street

The Ketchum House on North Street

Mr. Ketchum lived in a 3-story brick home on North Street called “Tulip Garden”.  The house was located at approximately 267 North Street.  The home had 264 feet of frontage along North Street and the lawns and gardens extended to Summer Street.  The house was a popular place for his children and their friends.  A miniature train that was an exact replica of the then-new steam train connecting Niagara Falls and Buffalo ran trough his grounds.

Mr. Ketchum served as President of the Board of Trustees of Westminster Church.  He donated the land the church was built upon and donated $5,000 to the building fund.  Mr. Ketchum also donated the 5-acres of land to build the Normal School (now Grover Cleveland High School).  Ketchum Place is located close to the school.

He was very interested in the City Public Schools.  He would visit the schools and urge the children to be thrifty and abstain from tobacco and liquor.  He’d teach them about how to be proud Americans (particularly during the Civil War) and would reward students who did well with prizes.  He would visit every room in every school each year to deliver books to every student and teacher.  It is said he did this to make up for his longing to read books as a child.  Students referred to him as “Father Ketchum”.

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Jesse Ketchum’s Grave

Mr. Ketchum died on September 7th, 1867.  He was on his way to visit one of the schools when he felt a chill and returned home, where he died the next day.  His funeral was held at Westminster Church and was one of the largest and most impressive ever seen in Buffalo at that time.  The schools were closed as a tribute to their benefactor.  He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Jesse’s son-in-law, Barnabas Brennan, inherited the estate.  Mr. Brennan made a gift of $10,000 to Buffalo Public Schools for the awarding of medals for academic excellence, in honor of Jesse Ketchum. The first medals were awarded in 1873 and are still awarded today.  Originally, medals were awarded to high school seniors and to grammar school students in the last two grades of grammar school. Since 1950, the medals are only awarded to 8th grade students.  Approximately 15,000 medals have been awarded since 1873.  The Jesse Ketchum medal is the longest running medal for academic excellence in the country.

Front of the Jesse Ketchum Medal - with a portrait of Mr. Ketchum

Front of the Jesse Ketchum Medal – with a portrait of Mr. Ketchum

Rear of the Jesse Ketchum Medal - the latin reads "A Wise Man Will be Wiser"

Rear of the Jesse Ketchum Medal – the latin reads “A Wise Man Will be Wiser”

Ketchum Hall, one of the five original buildings built at Buffalo State College (formerly the State Normal School), is named after him.  In 1856, Mr. Ketchum donated land in the Village of Yorkville for a public park and for a “Free and Common School”.  The school was replaced by a new school building, which was named the Jesse Ketchum School.  Jesse Ketchum’s descendants founded Ketchum Manufacturing, a company still located in Brockville, Ontario.

Learn about other streets by checking out the Street Index!

Sources:

  1. “Ketchum Place is Memorial to Donor of Scholarship Medals”.  Buffalo Courier-Express, Sept 28, 1941, p. 15.
  2. Severance, Frank Hayward.  The Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo.  
  3. Hathaway, E.J. Jesse Ketchum and His Times.  McClelland & Stewart, Toronto:  1929.

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loveringLovering Avenue is a street in North Buffalo, running between Hertel Avenue and Taunton Place.  The street is named after Sarah Lovering Truscott as well as her niece and daughter.  The three Lovering women were  influential women of their time in Buffalo.

Sarah Mitchell Lovering Truscott was born in September 1828 and came to Buffalo as a young child with her family from Boston, Massachusetts.  The family traveled to Buffalo via the Erie Canal and lived at 37 Eagle Street, which was one of the most fashionable neighborhoods in the City at the time.  In 1851, Sarah married George Truscott, a banker with Manufactures & Traders Bank (now M&T) who also served as water commissioner.

Mrs. Truscott was considered to be an efficient executive and was very involved in leading numerous charitable causes.  She was a member of the women’s board of Buffalo General Hospital and promoted the nursing school, which was Buffalo’s first training school for nurses.  She helped to organize and was president of the board of Children’s Hospital.

Former Unitarian Church, Eagle and Franklin Streets

Former Unitarian Church, Eagle and Franklin Streets

The Truscott family lived at 340 Delaware Avenue until 1918, when they moved to 335 Delaware Avenue.  The family was active in First Unitarian Church, which was located at the corner of Franklin and Eagle Streets.  The building was remodeled to add a third floor after it ceased to be used for church purposes and still stands, one of the oldest buildings in Buffalo.   The church congregation still exists, having merged with the Universalist Church, worshiping on Elmwood Avenue.  Sarah passed away in 1918 at the age of 90.

Sarah’s niece, Mary Lovering, was considered to be one of the first local gentlewomen to earn her living outside the house – she conducted a dancing school.

Sarah’s daughter, also named Sarah Lovering Truscott, was born in 1857.  Sarah Lovering Truscott was one of the city’s pioneer women in the real estate business.  Sarah was often see riding her bicycle to make a sale.  At the time, bicycles were just coming into fashion, mostly for men.  Many women began to ride bicycles as well, which many men scoffed at.  However, bicycles allowed women a greater freedom and mobility  to travel outside their homes and outside their neighborhoods.  Sarah was involved in many causes including:  assistant treasurer of Woman Suffrage headquarters, member of Buffalo Political Equality Club,  member of the Equal Franchise League, president of Woman’s Civil Service Reform Association of Buffalo, member of the Executive Committee of the Neighborhood House ( a settlement house), and member of the Peace and arbitration Society of Buffalo.  She was also a member of the Twentieth Century Club.  Sarah Lovering Truscott died in November 1943 at age 88.

To learn about other streets, check out the street index.

Sources:

  1. “Few Streets Named by City Government”  Courier Express, February 26, 1954.
  2. “Lovering Avenue Memorial Early Woman Philanthropist”.  Courier-Express, June 23, 1940, p. 3.

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ripleyRipley Place is a short, one-block street on the west side of Buffalo, running between Vermont and Connecticut Streets, near Richmond Avenue.

Mary A. Ripley was a teacher at Central High School from the 1860s through the 1880s.  She was born in Windham, Connecticut in 1831, but grew up in Alden, New York and attended local schools.  She was known around town as one of the few woman who dared in the 1880s to wear her hair short.

mary ripleyMiss Ripley taught for seven years at School 7.  In 1861, she became a member of the faculty at Central High School.  She was determined to make over the school.  At the time, the teachers often had to call in the police to stop the students’ riots.  Miss Ripley asked for the job of taking care of the boys’ study hall, which was where many of the riots originated.  The male teachers doubted she’d be able to handle the boys, but Miss Ripley kept order with little difficulty.  She would tell people her goal was to develop young people’s conduct and character.

In 1867, Miss Ripley published a volume of poems.  She also wrote a textbook of Parsing Lessons for small school room use and a book titled Household Service.  Many considered Miss Ripley a talented poet and writer; however, her heart was truly dedicated towards her students.  She made long lasting impacts on her students.

Several of her poems were featured in magazines.  The following comes from the Magazine of Poetry and Literary Review, Volume 6:

ripley poem

When the State Normal School opened in Albany, Miss Ripley was summoned there to become one of its first teachers.  She went to Albany to teach for a few years, but missed her old school so she returned to Buffalo.  She taught at Central until 1888.

Miss Ripley received many honors in her years teaching.  During the Civil War, at a Washington’s Birthday celebration, she was seated with former President Millard Fillmore.  In 1886, for her 25th anniversary of teaching at Central, she was given a gold watch and roses.  For her retirement, she was given a diamond ring from “Miss Ripley’s Boys and Girls”.  They formed the Mary A. Ripley Association, which met for several years.  Miss Ripley passed away in 1893.

Mary Ripley Library in the Union Hall.  Source:  WNY Heritage

Mary Ripley Library in the Union Hall. Source: WNY Heritage

The Mary A. Ripley Memorial Library was established in the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union building.  Miss Ripley was a member of the Board of Directors of the Union.  The Ripley Memorial Library was furnished at a cost of $2,000 and contained 500 volumes when it first opened.  The Ripley Memorial Library was established with the Public Libraries division of the University of the State of New York.  The library was widely used as a place to read and study.

The Women’s Educational and Industrial Union was established in 1884 by Harriet Townsend.  We’ll get to more about the Townsend men and Townsend Street on another day, but it’s women’s history month, so we’ll talk about her today!  Mrs. Townsend was made the CEO of the organization due to her intelligence, vision and management skills.  She had no children, which allowed her to work full time for the advancement of women, advocating for women’s rights all of her life.  The Union building was located on Delaware Ave at Niagara Square (site of the City Court Building) in the former Babcock house, which was later demolished to build a larger building.  During the dedication ceremony of the new building, Miss Ripley recited a poem she had written.

Membership into the Union was $1. Union reports stated “We no longer listen to the selfish moralist who cries ‘Let the woman stay in her home, her only safe haven'”, and that “it is not, an association of benevolent, well-to-do women, joined for the purpose of reaching down to help the poor and persecuted women, but a Union of all classes and conditions of women”.  The concept was unique at the time.

Union Building on Niagara Square c. 1890.  Source:  WNY Heritage

Union Building on Niagara Square c. 1890. Source: WNY Heritage

The Union building contained the first gymnasium for women in Buffalo, kitchen space for instruction in nutrition and cooking, and provided classes on various topics not provided in public schools.  The Union gave scholarships to women to attend Bryant and Stratton and trained women for low wage jobs, such as cooks, domestics, and seamstresses.   The Union taught members how to navigate the bureaucracy of government.  The Union lobbied to establish equal guardianship rights for women in case of divorce.  The Union successfully got a women appointed to the School Board and fought for rights for all women.

The Union dissolved in 1915, finding that its work was finished – most of its groundbreaking programs had been adopted by educational, governmental and civic organizations.  These Women’s Union began programs we take for granted today such as vocational education, physical education, night school, free kindergartens, probation officers, Legal Aid, etc.  The building then became Townsend Hall, part of the University at Buffalo and was the college’s first College of Arts and Sciences, named after Harriet Townsend.  The building was razed in 1959 after it was destroyed by fire.  The Townsend Hall name was transferred to a building on South Campus.

Learn about other streets in the Street Index.

Sources:

  1. “Ripley Place is Memorial To Beloved Central High Teacher” Courier Express Oct 5, 1941, sec 5 p 3
  2. “Streets Have Historical Link” Buffalo Courier Express. Dec 7 1952 p 7-8
  3. The Women’s Educational and Industrial Union of Buffalo.  Compiled by Mrs. Frederick J. Shepard.
  4. “Harriet A. Townsend:  The Women’s Union.”  Susan Eck.  Western New York Heritage Press.
  5. The Magazine of Poetry, A Monthly Review.  Charles Wells Moulton.  Buffalo NY 1894.

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griderGrider Street is located on the East Side of Buffalo, running north-south between Leroy Street and East Delavan Avenue.  The street is one of the main thoroughfares through the Delavan-Grider neighborhood. The Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) is located on Grider Street.

Daniel Grider (also spelled Greider) was born in Pennsylvania in 1787.  He came to Buffalo in a covered wagon drawn by oxen in the early 1820s.

Daniel Grider's great-granddaughter.  Courier-Express, February 4, 1940

Daniel Grider’s great-granddaughter with the family cornerstone. Courier-Express, February 4, 1940

Daniel Grider bought a 48-acre farm for 50 cents an acre.  He built a frame house opposite the site of the Buffalo City Hospital (now ECMC).   Mr. Grider’s family spoke German in his youth.  One way that Daniel would save money was to hire newly arrived German immigrants to work on his farm in Buffalo, giving them food and board and teaching them English.  By 1835, he had prospered and built a larger, more substantial house in its place.

Mr. Grider and his wife Nancy, had two daughters, Fanny and Nancy.  He was well respected in Buffalo, but never ran for public office.  Mr. Grider served as a representative from Erie County for the Canal Convention regarding upgrades to the Erie Canal in 1837.

The Grider farm was subdivided when the Erie and Lackawanna railroads passed through Buffalo.  At that time, the farm was cut into building lots and streets were laid out.

Mr. Grider passed way on March 25, 1855.  The family operated a burial plot on the Grider farm.  When the property was sold, the family members’ graves were moved to Mount Hope Cemetery at Pine Ridge.

Learn about other streets by checking out the Street Index.

Source:  “Grider street Recalls Name of Land Owner”  Courier Express Feb 4 1940 Sec 5 p 4

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walden aveWalden Avenue is an east-west thoroughfare that begins at the intersection of Genesee and Best Streets on the East Side of Buffalo and runs eastward to Alden.  In Alden, Walden Ave meets back up with Genesee Street and turns into NY Route 33.  Outside of the City of Buffalo limits, Walden Avenue is designated as New York State Route 952Q.  The route is the longest non-parkway reference route in New York State.  The road is named after Ebenezer Walden.

walden_ebEbenezer Walden was born in Massachusetts in 1777.  He graduated from Williams College in 1799.  He then studied law and while he became well-known in the law community in Massachusetts, he decided to make his start in a young community that he could help develop.  He came to Buffalo in 1806.  Part of his trip included a 40-mile walk through the woods from Batavia.

Mr. Walden was the first lawyer in Buffalo. There weren’t enough people in the Village at the time to sustain a full-time lawyer.  Mr. Walden set up a law office in a hut on Willink Street (now Main Street) between Crow (now Exchange) and Seneca.  He filled his days serving as a clerk in stores and doing other odd jobs to maintain his livelihood.  He invested in what became known as the Walden Farm near what is now Walden and Fillmore.

In 1812, Mr. Walden married Suzanna Marvin.  The same year, he was elected to represent the area that now contains Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties in the State Legislature.

Mr. Walden was committed to building up Buffalo and Western New York, and was considered by his neighbors to be kind and brave.  During the Burning of Buffalo, he was captured with Mr. Cyrenius Chapin.  When his captors left him for a moment, he escaped and ran back into town to help those left behind in the rubble.

Judge Walden's house to rear of picture

Judge Walden’s house at Main and West Eagle to rear of picture

Following the Burning of Buffalo,  Mr. Walden practiced law in Williamsville while the village was rebuilding. Mrs. Walden served as a leader in women’s war work.  After peace was restored, Mr. Walden was a member of the committee to appraise losses during the war.  The Waldens returned to Buffalo and built a brick home at the northeast corner of Main and West Eagle Streets.

In 1823, when Erie County was established, Mr. Walden served as the first county judge.  He served as a judge for five years.  When the Village of Buffalo was incorporated, he was one of the four trustees.  In 1828, he was a Presidential Elector for John Quincy Adams.   In 1838, he was elected Mayor of Buffalo as a member of the Whig party.

The Waldens House at Main and Edward

The Waldens House at Main and Edward

As Buffalo grew, the Waldens moved further up Main Street, near Edward.  Their property extended to Franklin Street and contained lawns, orchards and gardens.  Judge Walden purchased many other properties in the Buffalo region.  One of his properties was a large farm at Walden and Fillmore Avenues.  While the Waldens never lived on the farm, it was known as the Walden Farm, so when the road was laid out in 1873, it was named Walden Avenue.

The Waldens Home Lake View

The Waldens Home Lake View

After retirement, Judge Walden lived on a 272-acre farm in what is now Lake View, which he purchased in 1837.  He built a mansion which he named Lake View, which became the name of the hamlet that eventually developed nearby.  Much of the present hamlet of Lake View was part of this farm.  In 1853, Judge Walden deeded a strip of land across his farm to the Buffalo and State Line Railroad.   Judge Walden died in 1857 at 80 years old.  His integrity, benevolence, profound culture and unselfish patriotism were remembered in Buffalo long after his death.  He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Walden-Myer Mausoleum

Walden-Myer Mausoleum

The Lake View Hotel - still stands at 1957 Lake View Road

The Lake View Hotel

Judge Walden’s son James became the first postmaster of Lake View in 1868.  Judge Walden’s daughter Catherine built the Lake View Hotel in 1880 to serve the traveling salesmen who would come to Lake View on the daily trains to sell their wares.   The Lake View Hotel building still stands today at 1957 Lake View Road.

 Check out the Street Index to learn about other streets.

Sources:

  1. “Two Streets Perpetuate Names of Early Jurists”Courier Express Nov 2, 1941 sec 6 p 3
  2.  Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo.  Buffalo Historical Society, Buffalo, New York:  1912.

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fillmoreFillmore Avenue runs north-south through the East Side of the City of Buffalo, between Seneca Street in the south to Main Street in the north.  The street is named after President Millard Fillmore, the 13th President of the United States.

Millard Fillmore was born in Locke, Cayuga County, New York on January 7th, 1800.  His parents, Nathaniel Fillmore and Phoebe Millard were among the pioneer settlers of the so-called Military Tract.  Nathaniel was a farmer and built a log cabin for his family.  Millard worked on his father’s farm and attended local schools until he was 15 years old.

Millard Fillmore portrait from the National Portrait Gallery

Millard Fillmore portrait from the National Portrait Gallery

In 1815, Millard served as an apprentice in a carder and cloth-dressers business in Newhope, New York (carding is the process of preparing wool for use as textile).  While working for the shop, he began to self educate himself, reading everything he could get his hands on.  When Millard was 18, he taught school for the Town Of Scott for a term.  He decided that he wanted to study law, and entered into the law-office of Judge Walter Wood at Martville.  In 1821, he arrived in Aurora to teach a winter school in East Aurora.  In 1822, he came to Buffalo and taught at a district school while also studying law under Asa Rice and Joseph Clary.  While in Buffalo, one of his students was  Alvan Dodge.

In Spring 1823, Mr. Fillmore was admitted to practice in the Court of Common Please, and opened his office in East Aurora.   The Fillmore house in East Aurora is now the Millard Fillmore Museum.  In 1827, he was admitted as an attorney of the Supreme Court and became counselor in 1829.  In 1830, he moved to Buffalo to form a law partnership with Joseph Clary.

Fillmore House on Franklin Street

Fillmore House on Franklin Street

He lived at 180 Franklin Street in Buffalo (near Franklin and Huron…the house has been demolished).  He practiced law until 1848, when his duties as a politician forced him to give up his private practice.  The firm he was a part of still practices in Buffalo today as Hodgson Russ, LLP, one of Buffalo’s oldest law firms.

Mr. Fillmore was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1828.  He served in the Assembly until 1832, when he was elected to Congress.  He served in Congress until 1842, when he declined renomination.  In 1847, he was elected New York State Comptroller, and in 1848, he was elected Vice President of the United States.  When President Taylor died in July 1850, Millard Fillmore became President of the United States.

President Fillmore came into his presidency at a critical period of national affairs.  He took great pains to complete his presidential duties with what has been described as unswerving conscientiousness, purity and patriotism.  In 1856, Fillmore was nominated for the Presidency by the National American Convention, but he did not win the election.

Millard Fillmore House on Niagara Square

Millard Fillmore House on Niagara Square

President Fillmore retired from public life after his presidency.  He passed his days at home in Buffalo advancing scholarly activities.  After his presidency, he and his new wife, Carolyn decided that the Franklin Street house was not fit for a former president.  He purchased a large mansion on Niagara Square in 1858.  His house was located where the Statler Hotel is today.

Millard Fillmore contributed significantly to Buffalo’s growth and development.  He helped to frame the charter that established the Village of Buffalo into the City of Buffalo.  He was one of the founders of the University at Buffalo in 1846, and served as the school’s first Chancellor, a position he served until his death.   While Fillmore was a Unitarian and is often criticized for being “anti-catholic”, he contributed substantial money to the construction of St. Joseph’s Cathedral.   During his time in Congress, he secured funding to enlarge the Buffalo Harbor and to expand the Erie Canal.  He helped to found the Buffalo Historical Society (now the Buffalo History Museum) in 1862 and served as its first president.  He served as Chairman of the Buffalo Committee of Public Defense and helped incorporate the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy (now the Albright Knox Art Gallery).   He spearheaded a campaign to raise money for Buffalo’s Society of Natural Sciences (now the Buffalo Museum of Science).  In 1867, he helped to found the Buffalo Club, the city’s first exclusive social club, and served as its first president.  He contributed financially to the construction of the Buffalo General Hospital, which opened in 1858.  In 1870, he served as President of the Buffalo General Hospital.  From 1870 until 1874, he served as a trustee of the Grosvenor Library, one of the predecessors of the Buffalo Public Library and one of the nation’s most comprehensive reference libraries.  He founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and served as its vice president.

Millard Fillmore as Captain of the Union Continentals

Millard Fillmore as Captain of the Union Continentals

During the Civil War, Fillmore denounced secession and supported the Union War efforts.  He commanded the Union Continentals, a corps of men over the age of 45 from Upstate New York.  The Continentals trained to defend Buffalo in the event of a Confederate attack.  The corps performed military drill and ceremonial functions at parades, funerals and events.  The Union Continentals guarded Lincoln’s funeral train when it came through Buffalo, and continued operations following the war.  Fillmore remained involved with them until his death.

Millard Fillmore died on March 8, 1874.  He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.  Since 1937, a celebration to honor Fillmore’s legacy in Buffalo occurs every year at the Fillmore grave on his birthday.   His home in East Aurora is a National Historic Landmark and operates as the Millard Fillmore House Museum.

Fillmore Grave Plot

Fillmore Grave Plot

When Frederick Law Olmsted designed Buffalo’s park and parkway system for Buffalo, Fillmore Avenue was extended to Abbott Road and upgraded south of Best Street as a parkway.  In Olmsted’s plans, the Avenues (such as Fillmore) were designed with a single drive lane with a double row of trees on either side.   The thoroughfare was linked by Abbott Road (now South Park Avenue) to Heacock Park, an existing park in South Buffalo.  Heacock Park forms the start of the South Buffalo park system.  The difficulties in creating a parkway connection were complicated by the Buffalo River and numerous railroads.  Buffalo City Engineers argued that if there was an at grade railroad-crossing, the road could not be considered a parkway.  Alternatives included a bridge which would have carried Fillmore Avenue over the railroads and the Buffalo River into South Buffalo.  The design of Fillmore Avenue was never fully realized and Fillmore Avenue was opened to commercial traffic in 1906.

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

Sources:

  1. Hillman, Jordan.  “Millard Fillmore:  Buffalo’s Good Samaritan”.  National Portrait Gallery.   May 5, 2011.
  2. Smith, Lester, editor.  Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Millard Fillmore Papers.  Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.  1974.
  3.  White, Truman, Editor.  Our County and Its People:  A Descriptive Work.  The Boston History Company.  1898.
  4. Buffalo Park Commission.  The Projected Park and Parkways on the South Side of Buffalo. 1888.

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Let's Go Ride a Bike

Adventures in city cycling

Currant Events*

Thoughts too big to tweet from @UpPastryPlate