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Posts Tagged ‘Jubilee Water Works’

Screenshot (9)Argus Street is a short street in the Riverside Neighborhood of Buffalo.  The street runs two blocks, between Esser Avenue and Vulcan Street.  The street is named after Francis (Frank) X Argus, one of the original owners of the land that is now Riverside Park.

spring

Jubilee Water Works at Delaware and Auburn.  Source:  Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo

George Argus, Frank’s father, came to Black Rock from Bavaria.  George worked as a teacher in a parochial school and then went into the grocery business.  Frank was born in Black Rock in 1854.  Frank Argus was a commissioner of the old Jubilee Reservoir at the corner of Delaware Avenue and Auburn Avenue.  It was located on the west side of the street between Auburn and Lancaster Avenues.  The Jubilee Spring is the spring that gives the Cold Spring neighborhood it’s name – the spring ran through the basement of the Cold Spring tavern on Main Street at Ferry.  The spring also feeds the lake at Forest Lawn Cemetery.  The Jubilee Water Works was incorporated in 1827 by John G. Camp, Reuben Heacock, and Frederick Merrill to supply Buffalo and Black Rock with water.  They built a system to serve Black Rock and began to expand to serve parts of Buffalo, but the Jubilee Springs could not provide enough water to keep up with the demand, so the system could not expand further.  When Black Rock was annexed by the City of Buffalo in 1853, the City of Buffalo acquired the system, which was abandoned by 1890.  

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Jubilee Library.  Photo by Author

After the reservoir was abandoned, the site was purchased by Albert F. Laub.  Mr. Argus insisted that the property not be sold unless it was agreed that the funds used for the sale would be used to build a branch library. The Water Works property was sold in 1899, but it took years before the proceeds were released and a new location was selected. The Jubilee Branch library opened on December 20, 1915 at 1930 Niagara Street. The Jubilee Library was the first non-rented library space in Buffalo. It was designed to have a children’s side, an adult side and an auditorium in the basement. The site was constructed next door to a city-owned community center that also had a gym, creating a cohesive community oriented space. the site was selected by the City and there were concerns about the safety of children crossing the railroad tracks to get to the library, as well as its location along the water rather than in a neighborhood. The continued development of Black Rock proved that the Jubilee Branch was well suited to serve the community. It was particularly used by nearby industrial businesses for technical reference material. The success of the Jubilee Branch Library encouraged the library to pursue creating additional library branches built to be libraries, rather than using available existing spaces which they rented.

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1916-1918 Niagara Street.  Photo by Author

Mr. Argus married Mary Heims.  They had two sons and two daughters- Francis, Clarence,  Maud Argus Haley and Olive Argus Walsh. The family lived at 1916 Niagara Street (corner of Hamilton). For 40 years, Mr. Argus operated a hardware store in the same building where they lived. The store’s address was 1918 Niagara Street. The store sold hardware, cutlery and stoves. The building appears to still be standing today, and the store appears to be converted into apartments. The building would have had the Erie Canal flowing through it’s backyard, but now abuts the I-190. The children oriented towards medicine – Dr. Francis Argus became a nose and throat specialist after serving as a major in the Army Medical Corps during WWI, Dr. Clarence Argus became a dentist, and the daughters both married doctors.  The daughters were graduates of Holy Angels Academy and accomplished pianists/organists.  

When Mr. Argus, Mr. Esser and Mr. Hertel sold the Riverside Park property to the city, Mr. Argus insisted that the riparian rights allowing the building of a dock were relinquished to the city.  This ensured that the public had access to the water. Mr. Argus was a boater and a charter member of the Buffalo Launch Club.  He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.

After retirement, Mr. Argus traveled throughout the United States.  He spent winters in Florida, California or Cuba.  He enjoyed returning for summers in Buffalo.  He lived with his son in a house at 237 Lafayette Avenue. The house was known around town for Frank’s beautiful garden, which son Clarence continued after his father’s death.  While Frank was gardening long before Garden Walk existed, Buffalonians still take pride in our gardens today – perhaps you even may have seen a house near Frank’s former house this weekend on Garden Walk?  

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:  

  • “An Act to provide a mode for ultimate disposition of property belonging to the Jubilee water system in the City of Buffalo and investment of the proceeds.”  Laws of the State of New York Passed at the One Hundred and Thirteenth Session.  Chapter 154. Banks & Brothers Publishers, Albany, 1890.
  • Pierce, Morris.  “Documentary History of American Water-Works:  Buffalo, New York”.  http://www.waterworkshistory.us/ 
  • Severance, Frank Ed.  Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo.  Buffalo Historical Society. 1912. 
  • Smith, H. Katherine.  “Argus Street Reminds of Founder of Jubilee Library”.  Buffalo Courier Express.  June 21, 1941.

 

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Dodge Street

Dodge Street

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

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

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

Ferry Street Schoolhouse source

Ferry Street Schoolhouse
source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dodge Mill in Williamsville
source

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

dodge tombstone

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

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

Sources:

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

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