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Posts Tagged ‘Lewis Bennet’

Central Park Neighborhood shown in Red
Former Buffalo Cement Company land shown in Blue

Central Park is the name of a street, a plaza and a neighborhood in Buffalo.  The red outline on the map to the right depicts the Central Park Neighborhood, on the west side of Main Street.  On the east side of Main Street, the blue outline depicts the boundaries of the former Buffalo Cement Company.  A portion of the quarry still exists along East Amherst Street, adjacent to McCarthy Park.

Central Park Avenue is located along the south side of Central  Park Plaza, which is along the southern border of the blue line on the map.  Central Park Plaza was developed in the 1950s to provide an urban shopping destination.  At its peak, Central Park Plaza contained 45 stores including several major grocery stores, a day care facility, a charter school, Radio Shack, and various other stores.  During the 1980s, the plaza decline due to shifting populations and the rise of suburban shopping malls.   This past May, Central Park Plaza got a new owner and there is hope for the redevelopment of the surrounding neighborhood.

Central Park neighborhood was named by Lewis Jackson Bennett the Founder of the Buffalo Cement Company.  Mr. Bennett was born in Schenectady County NY in July 1933.  He began his life as a clerk in a grocery store in Fultonville, NY.   He was a collector of tolls on the Erie Canal at Fultonville for a  short while.  Bennett moved to Buffalo in 1866 after he obtained a contract to do repair work along the canal here.  He used the money he earned doing this work to buy land in North Buffalo to extract the limestone for use in a cement factory. He was responsible for all slips and basins in Buffalo and the area 17 miles east of the City.  Along with his father-in-law, Andrew Spaulding, he formed an independent contracting business for dredging.  They were given city, state and federal contracts throughout Western New York.  They supervised the building of the first iron bridges in the area.  Mr. Bennett than became interested in the manufacture of hydraulic cement.

In 1875, Mr. Bennet began to acquire land on the east and west sides of Main Street where the cement deposits were located.   (more…)

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