The Structures of Parkside: An Authoritative Look at the History of Parkside’s Homes

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

 

While the Buffalo Olmsted Park Conservancy now exists to run and maintain Buffalo’s Parks, as first founded, The Friends of Olmsted were concerned not only with the parks and public spaces designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, but also with the streetscapes and other Olmsted designs which aren’t necessarily parks, but are a part of the master landscape architect’s “city within a park” idea.

82 West Oakwood
82 West Oakwood

The Parkside neighborhood was designed by Olmsted as a buffer between Main Street and the serenity of the park meadow. In the early 1980s, the Friends of Olmsted worked to have many of Olmsted’s landscape designs listed on the National Register. In 1986, with the help of the Parkside Community Association, “The Parkside Historic District” streetscape was recognized by state and national registers.

74starin

Part of the several year process in gaining that status involved identifying each structure within the streetscape footprint, and identifying the characteristics of those structures. In other words, some very smart people looked at every house in Olmsted designed portion Parkside and wrote a brief description along with research on when the structure was built.

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The final report is several thousand pages long, and actually gives much greater detail on each of the 1109 “contributing principal buildings” of Parkside, but on this page are those brief descriptions of every house. The links below are hundreds of pages, painstakingly scanned, to provide information like this on every house:

117parkside

This is an example of what you’ll find inside… The listing for my home. Sadly, that glass door on the side porch didn’t make it from the early ’80s to 1999 when we first walked into the house.

To find out about your house:

  • open the report by clicking this link. (While it’s a large file an takes some time to download, this method is probably easier that trying to use the reader below.)
  • clicking “Ctrl+F” once the PDF is open
  • type in the number of your house (there made be a few with your number, but this is the easiest way)
  • if that doesn’t work, for for your house number with spaces in between the numbers. (e.g., mine comes up as “1 1 7” instead of “117”)
  • if that doesn’t work, search for your street name then scroll a bit. (note that most streets are broken up odd/even.)

If your street or house isn’t listed, it was not a part of the survey done by the Friends of Olmsted in 1986. Sorry!

Page through the report here:

ParksideHousesSearchable

 

From the Report:

The report states Parkside has “an informal, curvilinear street pattern” largely reflective of Olmsted’s original 1876 and 1886 subdivision plans for the neighborhood. The neighborhood is “characterized by numerous, relatively narrow, 1/8 acre building lots and a preponderance of small, wood frame, single family residences” built between 1888 and 1936.

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The application states, “The architectural character of the historic district is largely defined by repetitive, narrow, late Victorian period houses with front porches and gabled facades built between 1895 and 1915, as well as by standardized American four-square houses, with square floor plans, boxy massing, and hipped roofs with dormers built between 1900 and 1925.”

coverSteve Cichon is the author of “The Complete History of Parkside.”

For more on the book and others by Cichon, including how to purchase them, visit The Buffalo Stories Online Bookstore.

 

 

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

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.