Extending Elmwood Avenue to growing Kenmore

       By Steve Cichon

This is another in a series looking back at an illustrated map of Buffalo from 1880 and examines how the features on that map have — or haven’t — changed over 138 years. 

Most of the major streets through Buffalo haven’t changed too much since the 1880 map of Buffalo was printed about 140 years ago. One major exception is Elmwood Avenue.

Elmwood Avenue looking north from Allen Street in 1910.

In 1880, on paper Elmwood ran from North Street to the Beltline Railroad tracks just after Amherst Street. But that Elmwood was a series of smaller streets connected together as the city grew — it wasn’t a planned thoroughfare like Delaware Avenue or Main Street. It also didn’t extend all the way downtown.

Elmwood extension north of Hertel, 1912

For decades, there was talk of extending Elmwood to Niagara Square and widening the older parts of the street to make it the equal of Delaware or Main for north-south travel in the city.

Parts of the northernmost stretch were improved as a part of the Pan-American Exposition, but still, Elmwood only ran between Amherst and Allen streets.

Extending Elmwood at Virginia, 1911

The new part of Elmwood Avenue would cut through beautiful property of the Rumsey family, which was adjacent to Johnson Park. Crews worked for more than a decade to connect Niagara Square with growing suburban Kenmore.

Published by

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.