Torn-Down Tuesday: Bailey and Kensington transforms in 1913

       By Steve Cichon

When this photo of Bailey Avenue was taken just north of Kensington Avenue in 1913, though development was on the way, it was still a mostly rural area.

a street car rides near Bailey-Kensington, 1913

The residential Bailey-Kensington section first jumped on the radar with the cutting up of the Sawyer farm into city blocks in 1892. Plans for street cars and electric streetlights were made as investors were encouraged to buy up blocks of plots at a time.

In 1902, when the intersection was still a long ride out to the country, the City of Buffalo briefly considered the site for a quarantine hospital. Developers who owned neighboring land, however, objected to the building of a “pest house” to house smallpox victims, which was sure to decrease their property values.

Several years later with the smallpox hospital built elsewhere, the Mueller farm, which filled the Bailey-Eggert area, also began subdivision into lots. The Eckert farm at Bailey-Kensington’s northeast corner was developed also.

Growth picked up considerably in the district in 1915 when the International Railway Company invested $120,000 in new streetcar tracks along Kensington and Grider Street.

Liberty Bank, Bailey at Kensington, 1930s

Kensington-Bailey was still growing in 1926 when the Buffalo Times wrote, “The City government should show more militant recognition of the necessities of the Kensington-Bailey section. That district is destined to a large share in the era which is creating a new greater Buffalo.”

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.