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Posts Tagged ‘South Park Avenue’

aldrichAldrich Place is a short street in South Buffalo between South Park Avenue and McKinley Parkway near the Buffalo-Lackawanna border.  The street is named after a man who was one of the first settlers in that part of South Buffalo.

Alexander Aldrich came to Buffalo from England as a young man with his wife, Lucinda.  In 1855, Mr. Aldrich purchased a 50-acre farm that included the land that is now Aldrich Place.  His farm stretched from the present day South Park Avenue to McKinley Parkway, south to the railroad lines and north to Downing Street.  His farm mainly raised celery, black walnuts and flowers.  At the time, this section of South Buffalo was famous for its celery.  He built a greenhouse for the flowers on the South Park Avenue side of his property, selling to people on their way to Holy Cross Cemetery.

In those days, the Aldrich farm was located in a sparsely populated neighborhood.  Lucinda would tell stories of days when Native Americans would peer in the window.  They were curious about the light coming out of the windows and wanted to watch what a white family did at night.

During the Civil War, Alexander and Lucinda traveled to Washington, DC.  While there, Alexander had his photo taken with President Lincoln on the steps of the White House.  If any members of the Aldrich family are reading this, I’d love to see the photo if it still exists!!

Alexander and Lucinda had three sons – Henry, Wallace, and Albert – and a daughter, Sally, who became Mrs. Ace Reed.  Henry was a taxidermist.  Albert was in charge of most of the excavating and grading for the South Park Botanical Gardens.  To do this work, ten teams of horses were used; Albert hired his neighbors to assist in the work.

Alexander Aldrich's Grave

Alexander Aldrich’s Grave

Mr. Aldrich later sold his farm to the Pixley Land Company for development in 1903.  The Aldrich family house was moved to Downing Street and converted into apartments.

Alexander Aldrich died in 1897 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Orchard Park.

Alexander’s grandson, Robert Reed, was the first mayor of Lackawanna.

Check out the street index to learn about other streets!

 

Source:

Memorial to Farmer-florist.  Courier Express Se. 1, 1940, sec 6 p3

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South Park Avenue shown in Blue.  Ohio Street shown in Pink.  Elk Street shown in Teal.  Abbott Road shown in Purple.  Yellow lines show connections that are no longer extant.

South Park Avenue shown in Blue. Ohio Street shown in Pink. Elk Street shown in Teal. Abbott Road shown in Purple. Yellow lines show connections that are no longer extant. (click map to zoom in)

South Park Avenue runs from Downtown Buffalo to the Buffalo-Lackawanna City Line (and beyond down into Hamburg where the road changes to Buffalo Street).  Ever wonder why South Park Avenue has some weird intersections?  It’s because the street was originally a bunch of different streets!  Not all street names are changed to honor famous or influential people.  In 1939, a proposal was presented to change the name of four streets to allow motorists to travel from the Lackawanna city line all the way to Main Street in Downtown Buffalo along one continuous road.

1899 View of Triangle Neighborhood

1899 View of Triangle Neighborhood

The proposal began thanks to efforts of the Tri-Abbott-South Park Businessmen’s Association.  They proposed that portions of Ohio, Elk, Triangle and Abbott Road  be named South Park Avenue.   Yes, there was a Triangle Road in the Triangle Neighborhood!  Triangle Road ran from Abbott Road to what is now Southside Parkway.  Southside Parkway was originally part of South Park Avenue, which ran from Ridge Road to Abbot Road).  Southside Parkway was renamed McKinley Parkway and a portion of South Park Avenue was renamed Southside Parkway.

The intent of the name change for South Park Avenue was to allow those entering the City of Buffalo from the Southtowns to be better able to find the downtown district.  At the time, when you were entering the City from Lackawanna, you would take South Park Avenue to Triangle Street, to Abbott Road, to Elk Street and to Ohio Street before you arrived at Main Street.  You saw five different street names, even though the roads were essentially a continuous thoroughfare.

Buffalo Memorial Auditorium

Buffalo Memorial Auditorium

The proposal to change the name was made around the time of construction of the new convention hall (Buffalo Memorial Auditorium) so it was anticipated that more people would be travelling into Downtown Buffalo for events.  Additionally, many people were expected to stop in Buffalo on their way to the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City.

The proposal was approved by the City Council on May 26, 1939.  At the time, the Council kicked around the idea of renaming the road “South Main Street”; however, they decided upon South Park.  Of the 38 organizations who comprised the South Park Taxpayers Improvement Association, 35 of them voted in favor of calling the “new” road South Park.  Representatives from near the Elk Street business district wanted the route to be called Elk street.

 Learn about the origins of other street names by checking out the street index.

Sources:

  1. “South Park Ave name chosen for proposed continuous thoroughfare.” Courier express April 29, 1939, p 7
  2. “South Park – Triangle – Abbott- Elk- Ohio route -what shall it be called” Courier Express Apr 21, 1939, p 7
  3. “South Park Avenue Lengthening Urged” Courier Express March 3, 1939.  Buffalo Streets Scrapbook Vol 2, 159

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