When Parkside was the Rugged Frontier

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Long before European men tread through what is today known as Parkside, portions of the area were sacred to the Seneca Nation and their fellow members of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) League of Indian Nations.

Judging by the archaeological evidence, even long before the Senecas arrived in this part of Western New York, the Erie tribe and others lived near what we now think of as Parkside.

One legend passed down through the family of early resident Erastus Granger spins the tale that native chieftains would convene “Councils in the Oaks” on ancient battlefield here, destined to become part of the Granger property.

When Granger became the area’s first permanent resident in 1804, vast wilderness was all the eye could see. Later, his son Warren built a magnificent home, what generations of Parksiders called “The Castle,” on the spot where native chiefs had met long before the scribes of modern history were there to record them.

The Granger Castle. Now the site of the Forest Lawn Sundial, Main Street. Buffalo Stories archives

Today, the area is Forest Lawn Cemetery, and this specific plot is marked with a large sundial, easily visible from Main Street. Warren’s daughter Anna Granger wrote of it:

When Warren Granger selected the situation to build his home, he fixed upon the spot where the “Six Nations” held their counsels, the elevation was crowned by a grand old oak. This part of Flint Hill was sacred to the Indians, for here many, many, many moons beyond the memory of the oldest chief, a fierce battle had been fought. The plow shares continually turned up skulls, arrow heads and tomahawks of ancient design.

There are also many early accounts of children finding bone fragments and arrowheads in massive quantities as they played in the woods along what is now Main Street. It was from the “Old Iroquois Forest,” as the woods along Main Street in the Parkside area were known, that many of the logs were hewn to build the early structures of Buffalo; many more were used after the village was burned by the British in 1813.

In the 1790’s, Western New York was bought from Massachusetts by Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham, defaulted on, and then purchased by Robert Morris. He was the financier of the American Revolution and, at the time of the purchase in 1791, the richest man in America.

Over the next two years, he sold the land to The Holland Land Company. Before that transaction could be completed, however, peace had to be made with the Six Nations, the Indians who actually inhabited the area. That peace was accomplished with the 1797 Treaty of Big Tree, which called for 1,300,000 acres of Native land to be sold for $100,000– leaving the Seneca Nation with a 200,000 acre reservation, to the south of the tiny village of Buffalo. Seneca Chief Red Jacket was paid a $600 bonus at the signing, and was guaranteed $100 a year for the rest of his life.

The Holland Land Company, under Joseph Elliott, began surveying the area today known as Western New York. It is this survey that is the starting point for most property deeds in the area, including in Parkside.

The first traces of modern Parkside are etched onto the map in 1797 when what is now Main Street is cut through the wilderness, connecting outposts in Clarence and Williamsville with the burgeoning village at the mouth of the Buffalo Creek. That village was officially known as New Amsterdam, but almost from the beginning known to locals as Buffaloe (yes, with an “e” in the early years).

Early Settlers

While many of the earliest residents of Parkside may have been Native Americans with names long forgotten to history– the names of the earliest white settlers still live on in file cabinets and safety deposit boxes. Many of the following names will be familiar to any Parkside homeowner who has read his or her property deed.

Erastus Granger was a central figure in the founding of Buffalo. He was among Buffalo’s first permanent residents, and also the first Parkside Landowner who actually lived here as well.  Having spent the early part of his life as a land speculator in Ohio, Kentucky and Western Virginia, he was to become an active supporter of the Democratic-Republican Party, and specifically of Thomas Jefferson.

It was upon Jefferson’s appointment Granger came to Buffalo in 1804. He purchased a vast tract of land along Main Street that stretched from what is now Forest Lawn Cemetery, north to the Delaware Park Meadow; and as far west as what is now the H.H. Richardson State Hospital Complex on Forest Avenue.

His homestead was built along Conjockety’s (now Scajaquada) Creek near Main Street. The area where his home stood is now the northern-most portion of Forest Lawn Cemetery, near the Canisius College campus.

Erastus Granger’s home along Conjockety’s (Scajaquada) Creek. Around 1915, Scajaquada Creek was covered starting at Main Street, running under Main Street near Jefferson Avenue.(Buffalo Stories archives)

Granger’s life was written about at great length in the Buffalo Sunday Express, November 24, 1912. He was born January 17, 1765, in Suffield, Connecticut. As a boy, he spent part of the winter of 1777-78 encamped with the Continental Army with his father at Valley Forge. As a young man, eager for adventure, he became a surveyor of frontier lands. It was on his travels in Western Virginia in 1798-99 that he became acquainted with Thomas Jefferson, who prevailed upon Granger and his brother Gideon to campaign for him for President in their native Connecticut. Once Jefferson was elected, Gideon was named Postmaster General. Erastus was named Indian Agent for the Six Nations, and was also confirmed by the United States Senate as the “surveyor of the port of Buffalo creek.”

He reached Buffalo Creek on horseback March 30, 1804, finding a frontier village of 16 huts, and the streets strewn with tree stumps. He quickly organized a post office. This handled the incoming mail, once a week, as a single horseman “came from Canandaigua with a pair of saddlebags and the trifling mail,” and once a week he returned from Fort Niagara. Within three years of his arrival, in 1807, he was appointed as the outpost’s first Judge.

Granger’s most important work came, though, as Indian Agent. He met often with the great chiefs of the Six Nations, shared his harvests with them, and allowed them to continue to use his land on Flint Hill for their councils in the oaks.

“Flint Hill” was the name given to the Granger property and its immediate environs; well outside the boundaries of the then small village of Buffalo, about 4 miles to the north. Granger himself used the name “Flint Hill” to describe his home, but, by 1914, the name had so long fallen out of use that readers of Peace Episodes on the Niagara (Buffalo Historical Society) needed an explanation of the location of the place:

“Flint Hill” is a name little known to the present generation; but their elders in Buffalo knew it as the region mostly west of Main street and north of Humboldt Parkway, embracing most of the Parkside district and the adjacent portion of Delaware Park.

The first book ever published in Buffalo was a collection of public speeches given by Granger and his great friend, the Seneca Chief Red Jacket, made as war was declared between Great Britain and the United States. Both men spoke of the desire to keep the Six Nations neutral in the conflict which would become known to history as the War of 1812.

Red Jacket, Cornplanter, Farmer’s Brother and other brilliant chiefs of the Seneca, Onondaga, Cayuga, Tuscarora and Oneida tribes were present on July 6, 1812, just days after word of war had reached Buffalo, when Judge Granger first offered a message of goodwill and friendship to the Indians, then spoke these words to the assembled council of Native Chiefs:

Your great father, the president of the 17 fires (James Madison), now gives his red children the same advice which he gave you at the beginning of the last war (the Revolution); that is you take no part in the quarrels of the white people. He stands in no need of your assistance. His warriors are numerous, like sands on the shore of the great lake which cannot be counted. He is able to fight his own battles, and requests you stay home.

The Six Nations would stay out of the conflict until the Mohawks, who had fled to Canada after the Revolution, joined on the side of the British.

©2009 Buffalo Stories LLC, staffannouncer.com, and Steve Cichon

This page is an excerpt from
The Complete History of Parkside
by Steve Cichon

The 174-page book is available along with Steve’s other books online at The Buffalo Stories Bookstore and from fine booksellers around Western New York. 

 

Elephants roaming Parkside… Really!

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

On my way to church Sunday morning, I was making the right onto Jewett Parkway from Parkside Avenue, and there they were– the elephants from the zoo were eating maple tree branches right off the trees on the edge of the Buffalo Zoo parking lot!

The handlers say the “helicopters” on the maple trees are like candy for them. These three elephants are all babies and that this was the farthest they’d walked outside the elephant house.

It’s a bit reminiscent of a story that happened  in the ’20s or ’30s, when Frank the Elephant walked out of the zoo unnoticed, and made his way almost to Hertel Avenue before being brought back to his home at the zoo.

Just another great reason to love living in Parkside!

Photos taken with my Motorola Razr flip phone.

Christmas in Buffalo 1954: Department Stores

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY- Christmas in 1954 Buffalo… As seen in the Pages of the Courier-Express!

Courier Express

As Buffalonians opened up the pages of the Courier-Express and The Evening News, they saw plenty of choices for Christmas shopping around WNY back in 1954.

Included on these pages are a cross-section of the places Buffalonians would have shopped for clothing, toys, food, cars, and appliances in December, 1954.

I’ve also included this page detailing what folks would have been watching on TV (if they had one!) and listening to on radio during that month.

Okay, this is cool…. but WHY?!?!

A few years ago, I was junk shopping at the Salvation Army store on Seneca Street in South Buffalo.

My love for weird records always takes me to that part of the store,
and that’s where I found the mother-lode– boxes and boxes of old 78rpm records, sitting just as they were packed in in 1955.

But it wasn’t the records that caught my eye…– It was the NEWSPAPER the records were wrapped in!

Dozens of sheets of Buffalo Evening News and Courier-Express, all from December 1954. Well, I took the papers, left the records, and this is the result.

am&as am&as-crowd

Adam, Meldrum & Anderson
Otherwise known as AM&A’s
Three locations for these beautiful gifts…Your Christmas Store since 1867!

Bergers
Mom… Petticoats are on sale at Bergers! Shop til 8 on Main Street.

Bergers
Try LL Bergers Downtown and Thruway Mall locations!

flint-&-kent

Flint & Kent
Since 1832. Mens’ Ware in Downtown Buffalo

Grants
Shop Grants at Main and Huron

Hengerers
Open Til 9 four nights this week… Look for the sweaters in “Luscious Orlon.” Hengerers
One of many things no longer in Downtown Buffalo.

hens&kellyHens & Kelly
I like the guy with the pipe! JN Adam’s..
Not to be confused with Adam, Meldrum & Anderson.
J.N. Adam was Buffalo Mayor 1906-1909.

Kleinhans
Take until May, 1955 to pay at Kleinhans Mens Store!

Kleinhans
Kleinhans Thrift Basement is the place for ties!

Kobackers
Downtown, Broadway, Riverside

Kolipinski’s
A Fire sale at the East Side Store… Just in time for Christmas!

Kresges
Kresges is included here….not because it was a local Buffalo store, but because it was soon to become K-Mart!

Sattler’s
Buy a Crosley TV… only $1.07 a week!

Sattlers
Shop 998 Broadway for Men’s Suits!

Sattlers
Sattlers Toyland… Across the Street from 998! Check out the toy train for sale.

Sears
All Three Locations open late!

Sears… and Wurlitzer!
This Sears Appliance ad lists three Locations:
Main at Jefferson, Broadway at Fillmore, and Seneca at Cazenovia.
Wurlizter lists 674 Main as its store location.

The Sample Shop
Hertel Avenues Department store is now the site of an old folks home..

Victors
Look at the 20 inch doll with “vinyl face” and “magic skin.”

Victors
24 piece Lionel Train sets…$39.95.

Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com

 

Christmas in Buffalo 1954: Everything Else

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY- Christmas in 1954 Buffalo… As seen in the Pages of the Courier-Express!

Courier Express

As Buffalonians opened up the pages of the Courier-Express and The Evening News, they saw plenty of choices for Christmas shopping around WNY back in 1954.

Included on these pages are a cross-section of the places Buffalonians would have shopped for clothing, toys, food, cars, and appliances in December, 1954.

I’ve also included this page detailing what folks would have been watching on TV (if they had one!) and listening to on radio during that month.

Okay, this is cool…. but WHY?!?!

A few years ago, I was junk shopping at the Salvation Army store on Seneca Street in South Buffalo.

My love for weird records always takes me to that part of the store,
and that’s where I found the mother-lode– boxes and boxes of old 78rpm records, sitting just as they were packed in in 1955.

But it wasn’t the records that caught my eye…– It was the NEWSPAPER the records were wrapped in!

Dozens of sheets of Buffalo Evening News and Courier-Express, all from December 1954. Well, I took the papers, left the records, and this is the result.

Allegheny Airlines
Who flies to West Virginia? M&T and Anchor Bar
Note the small ad for the Anchor Bar… A decade before they’d usurp the Beef on Weck as The Queen City’s Signature Dish!

T.A. Bowman
The place on Genesee Street to buy TVs!

Brown Motors
Buy Used Hudsons, Nashes, and Packards… They were located in the just recently condemned Gary Pontiac Building

Burnham’s
They’re selling off 1955 TVs

Burnham’s
Great prices on a color set

Century Clothes
The Fonz Jacket is only 18.95…… AAAAIIIIyyeeee!

The Courier-Express
The Paper itself….

Delgato’s
Another Big TV Sale

Erie County Savings Bank
Nice pic of Shelton Square office and clock

Glen Campbell Chevrolet
Nice pic of Store….

Great Arrow Rink
Could that have been the Bells/Jubillee (now an office building?)

Hal Casey
Filling South Buffalo with Used Cars

H-O Oats
Pan Toasted Oatmeal

H-O Oats
My favorite Grain Elevator, just off the 190…. Now in jeopardy with the building of a Seneca Casino…

H. Seeburgs
The factory still stands at Oak & Genesee… As you get on the 33.

Howards
Beautiful Radios for sale…

Iroqouis Gas
Thems some handsome appliances.

KleinWeil
Main Corner of Barker

Labatts
The Finest beer in the British Empire

Lackwanna Railroad
Travel in the modern, streamlined Lackwanna cars.

Langs Milk
Available at Hop-in-Shop locations.

Laube Cafeteria
Big Chicken Pot Pie 78 cents

Laube Cafeteria
Frankfurter and Potato Salad 45 cents

Laube Cafeteria
Generous Portion of Lobster Newburg 89 cents.

One More Laube ad
Irish Stew

Lee’s Drug Stores
All four plazas still stand 50 years later!

Liberty Shoes
Cheap shoes for a generation

Maisels
Suggests a Philco Radio for Christmas… Buy from his Broadway store.

Morrisons
Two Locations

Newmans
Gifts on Jefferson

NFT
Great 50’s traffic jam art.

NFT
Take the bus to the Aud for the Little Three Hoops…

NFT
Don’t forget your charge plate when you head Downtown for Shopping!

Polish Traditions of Christmas
an interesting read

Park Lane
Xmas Dinner at the Park Lane. Dinner starts at $3… Soft Drinks now start at $4.

Paul’s Pies
Baked fresh hourly

Phoenix Beer
Ask for it.

From the Picture Page
Turning out new 1955 car parts at the old Pierce Arrow Factory.

Goldins & Pies Goldins TWO BIG STORES… Pies for Fine Furniture… Delaware at Sheridan.

Sciandras
The Toyland at Bailey near Genesee.

Slades
Another Buffalo Product.

The South Park Bridge opens!
Republic Steel was torn down 25 years ago…. National Analine was Allied Chemical, now its Honeywell. The bridge is now closed for repairs.

Stranksky’s
Selling Appliances on Broadway for 60 Years.

Stephens Ford
Buy used from $395.

Sterling-Amherst Milk
Sam the Milkman is dressed for the season.

Thurway Plaza
Penney’s is Open at the Thruway Plaza…

Tinney
’53 Cadillacs from $2995

Tunmore Olds
They were an Olds dealer until the line ceased prodcution a few years back.

Western Savings Bank
Free Parking!

Winiewicz
Nice Gifts on Broadway

Wurlitzer
Not only Organs, but radios on Main Street.

Zoltes
Lombard opposite the Broadway Market.

Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com

 

Christmas in Buffalo 1954: Grocery Stores

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY- Christmas in 1954 Buffalo… As seen in the Pages of the Courier-Express!

Courier Express

As Buffalonians opened up the pages of the Courier-Express and The Evening News, they saw plenty of choices for Christmas shopping around WNY back in 1954.

Included on these pages are a cross-section of the places Buffalonians would have shopped for clothing, toys, food, cars, and appliances in December, 1954.

I’ve also included this page detailing what folks would have been watching on TV (if they had one!) and listening to on radio during that month.

Okay, this is cool…. but WHY?!?!

A few years ago, I was junk shopping at the Salvation Army store on Seneca Street in South Buffalo.

My love for weird records always takes me to that part of the store,
and that’s where I found the mother-lode– boxes and boxes of old 78rpm records, sitting just as they were packed in in 1955.

But it wasn’t the records that caught my eye…– It was the NEWSPAPER the records were wrapped in!

Dozens of sheets of Buffalo Evening News and Courier-Express, all from December 1954. Well, I took the papers, left the records, and this is the result.

Adrian’s Meats Many of the meats offered here I’ve never eaten… And might only in the future on accident.
Bells Check out the “Billy Bell” Mascot
Bells 9 Western New York Locations… Check out where Bells used to be in your neighborhood.
Bells More from Bells… They have Howdy Doody haucking toothpaste.
BesTaste 8 locations around WNY… and “Say Merry Christmas to your dog…”
Bestway Stores… All 7 stores Open Til 9
Culms Market, Suffolk Street. Old Fashioned wieners on sale… 55 cents a pound.
Loblaws There was one on the corner of Seneca and Ryan at one point…
Mohican Markets The one at Seneca and Buffum was most recently a Rite Aid….it is the orginal building though. There used to be a Fotomat in the parking lot.
Noel’s Foods At Delaware and Delavan, the Noels building was torn down… A “box” drug store now stands there.
Nuway The spitting image of post-war Suburbia!
Nuway Bologna “by the piece.”(?!?!)
Orchard Park Juice:  Another local brand no longer available.
Queen-o! The Generic Pop of Buffalo for a generation.
Ralph’s Food Market on Genesee St. That’s a great cigar!
More From Ralph’s!
Red & White… More great 50s clip art from Red and Red Food Stores.
Sattlers Market… Apparently the Scotsman has the best stew meat.
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com