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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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winspearWinspear Avenue and Northrup Place are located in the University Heights neighborhood of North Buffalo.    Winspear Avenue runs between the former Erie Railroad corridor across Main Street to Bailey Avenue.  Northrup place runs parallel to W. Winspear, meeting up with Winspear just across Main Street.

The streets were named after business partners who developed the streets in the vicinity of  the streets that were named after them and what is now the University of Buffalo – Charles Winspear and Eli Northrup.  Charles and Eli both grew up in Elma, New York, sons of two of the first settlers in Elma.

Three members of the Winspear family have held important public positions.  William Winspear settled in Elma prior to the Civil War and served on the Erie County Board of Supervisors.   William owned a mill on the south side of Big Buffalo Creek.  Winspear Road in Elma is named after William Winspear.  Captain Robert Winspear, William’s nephew served on the Buffalo police department for more than 30 years.

Charles W. Winspear

Charles W. Winspear

William’s son and Robert’s cousin, Charles, was born in 1854 in Elma and began his education in the rural schools.  Charles came to Buffalo as a young man.   At the age of 23, he was appointed clerk of the Erie County Almshouse and Insane Asylum, which later became what are now Crosby and Hayes Halls on the University of Buffalo South Campus.

The original Almshouse had been built around 1850.  The first Almshouse burned in 1854 and its replacement burned in 1862.  The almshouse was located where Crosby Hall is today.  The Insane Asylum building was constructed in 11874 to replace the outdated structure and is now Hayes Hall.  By 1900, the Insane Asylum had become the County Hospital.  Hayes Annex D and Wende Hall were also a part of the County Hospital Complex and have been around since at least 1900.

Winspear Avenue was laid out around 1880.  Around this time, development of the neighborhood was attempted by Alexander Ross. This attempt failed because transportation to this northern corner of the City of Buffalo was difficult.  The street car only went to Cold Spring (around Ferry Street and Main Street).  The City boundary did not include the area that became University Heights at this time.  Buffalo’s growing population and improved transportation spurred successful development further away from the downtown core.  The Buffalo and Williamsville Electric Railway trolley opened in 1893 and ran along Main Street.  In 1898, the City boundary had expanded to include this area.

Erie County Almshouse and Insane Asylum (source:  http://www.poorhousestory.com/ERIE.htm)

Erie County Almshouse and Insane Asylum
(source: http://www.poorhousestory.com/ERIE.htm)

In 1893, Charles became superintendent of the New York State Custodial Asylum for Feeble-minded Women in Newark, New York (in Wayne County_.  Although he lived in Newark until his death in 1916, he retained many connections in Buffalo.  Charles Winspear is buried in Newark Cemetery in Newark, NY.

Eli B. Northrup

Eli B. Northrup

While working in Newark Institution in 1909, Charles formed a partnership with Eli Northrup in the real estate business.  They bought large tract of land south of Englewood Avenue and developed several streets, including Winspear Avenue and Northrup Place.   West Northrup Place was originally called Morton Street, Northrup Place was originally Hillary Place and Winspear was known as Wilmer Avenue.

It is likely that Charles and Eli sensed that there was potential for growth as the University of Buffalo purchased the almshouse and farm from the County following its closure in 1909.  This was a unique location because you were close to the streetcar to take you into Downtown Buffalo via Main Street and also close to the Train Station to take you to Niagara Falls (it was located at Main Street and LaSalle Avenue).

Eli Baker Northrup was born in January 1836 in Holland, NY and raised in Elma.  His father, Lewis Northrup, had built the first house in the Spring Brook hamlet of Elma in 1843.  Northrup Road in Elma is named after Lewis.  Lewis Northrup built a saw mill on Cazenovia Creek in 1844 and a grist mill ten years later.  Eli Northrup inherited the saw mill and grist mill in 1866.  Eli remodeled the mills and built a stone dam in 1873.    Eli died in January 1912. and is buried in Union Cemetery in Elma, New York.

Learn about other streets by checking out the Street Index.

Sources:

  1. Winspear Avenue Memorial to State Charities Agent – Courier Express, Jan 29, 1939, Buffalo Streets Vol 2, pg. 167
  2. “University at Buffalo – Draft GEIS:  University at Buffalo Comprehensive Physical Plan”, SUNY at Buffalo, October 2011
  3. Jackman, Warren.  History of the Town of Elma, Erie County, 1620-1900.   Printed by G.M. Hasauer & Son, 1902.

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titusgoodyearkoons

Goodyear Avenue is the center of these three streets

Goodyear, Titus, and Koons Avenue are three streets running between Walden and Broadway in the Emerson Neighborhood on the East Side of Buffalo.

The streets were named after Charles Waterhouse Goodyear, his brother Frank H. Goodyear, Judge Robert Titus, Edward Koons, and his brother Henry Koons.   These men entered into a partnership to subdivide and develop the streets and much of the land surrounding these streets.  This post is going to focus on the Goodyear brothers, entries for the Koons Brothers and Judge Titus will follow shortly.

Note:  Buffalo’s Charles Goodyear is not the same Charles Goodyear that Goodyear tires are named after.  Charles Goodyear of the tire fame invented vulcanized rubber around 1844 in Massachusetts.

charlesgoodyearCharles Waterhouse Goodyear was born in Cortland, New York in 1846.  He attended school in Cortland, Wyoming, and East Aurora, New York.  He came to Buffalo in 1868 to study law and was admitted to the bar in 1871.  He joined Grover Cleveland’s firm of Cleveland, Bissell, and Sicard when Cleveland left to run for president in 1883.

In 1887, Charles gave up law to enter into business with his brother to form F. H. & C. W. Goodyear.   Together, Charles and Frank expanded the railroad and merged it with the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad from Buffalo to Wellsville.  They profited by using the railroad to ship lumber, rather than floating it down streams, as was the practice of the time.

Charles held the office of Trustee of the Buffalo Normal School, now known as Buffalo State College.  He was also was one of the organizers of the Pan American Exposition and was President of the Buffalo Club.  He was a close friend of President Grover Cleveland and Cleveland’s Secretary of State, Daniel Lamont.  Charles and his wife were the first guests of President Cleveland at the White House.

Goodyear Mansion at 888 Delaware

Goodyear Mansion at 888 Delaware

Charles and his wife Ella lived in a mansion at 888 Delaware Avenue, which was built in 1903 and designed by Green & Wicks.  Charles died in 1911 and is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Following Charles’ death, Ella established the Charles W. Goodyear Fund at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.  Charles and Ella’s son Anson Goodyear later served on the board of the Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright-Knox).  Anson was one of the board members who insisted that the gallery begin to acquire modern art, of which the museum is now well-known.

Ella lived in the Delaware Ave mansion until her death in 1940.  At that time, the mansion was sold to the Blue Cross Corporation.  The mansion was then sold to the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo in 1950 when it became Bishop McMahon High School.   It was purchased in 1988 by Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and was used as the Robert B. Adam Education Center.  In 2005, Oracle Charter School purchased the building.

Goodyear Hall on UB South Campus

Goodyear Hall on UB South Campus

In 1960, the family donated $500,000 to the University at Buffalo in Ella Goodyear’s name.   This money was used to build Goodyear Hall on South Campus.  The building of Goodyear Hall was important to the development of UB towards becoming a residential college.  Part of the UB2020 plan involves renovating Goodyear Hall and converting it from dormitory rooms into student apartments.

frankgoodyearFrank Henry Goodyear was born in Groton, Tompkins County, New York on March 17, 1849.  Shortly after he was born, the family moved to Holland, New York.  He attended public and private schools and the East Aurora Academy.  In 1871, he moved to Buffalo to engage in the coal and wood business.  He later entered the lumber business and was one of the largest lumber manufacturers in the United States at the time.  His firm manufactured over 150,000,000 feet of lumber yearly.  In 1884, Frank built the Sinnemahoning Railroad, which connected to the WNY&P Railroad in Keating Summit, Pennsylvania.  In 1887, he entered into business with his brother Charles.

goodyearmansionFrank Goodyear built a mansion at 762 Delaware Avenue, at the northwest corner of Summer Street.  Frank passed away in 1907 of Bright’s Disease shortly after moving into the mansion.    Frank made many donations to Buffalo parks.   Frank’s wife Josephine lived in the house until she died in 1915.  Following Josephine’s death, the house was lived in by Frank and Josephine’s son, Frank Junior. The mansion was demolished in 1938 and is now the site of the parking lot for the Red Cross.

Don’t forget to check out the Street Index to learn about other streets.

Sources:

  1. Our County and it’s People:  A Descriptive Work on Erie County, New York.  Edited by: Trumen C. White.  The Boston History Company, Published 1898.
  2. Dunn, Edward.  Buffalo’s Delaware Avenue:  Mansions and Families.  Canisius College Press, 2003.
  3. http://wnyheritagepress.org/photos_week_2007/goodyear_mansion/goodyear_mansion.htm

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