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Parkside History


  • Primary Hall Charter School opens at 2408 in old Central Presbyterian Church complex.


  • The Darwin Martin House opened the Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion, a new visitor welcome and interpretive center designed by Toshiko Mori Architect. The Pavilion opened to the public on March 18, 2009.


  • The Parkside Community Association’s Home Tour celebrated its 10th anniversary.

  • In April 2008, Buffalo Zoo officials sent the Zoo's three female Asian elephants, Buki, Surapa and Jothi on holiday to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio so renovations to their historic Elephant House could begin. The cost of the project was estimated to be $1 million. The three elephants later returned home at the end of July.The Buffalo Zoo opened its spectacular new Rainforest Falls exhibit. The Zoo continues to improve and generate excitement within its footprint in Delaware Park and in Parkside.


  • A year after The Buffalo Zoo’s five-year accreditation was delayed because the elephant and veterinary facilities were not quite up to snuff, the zoo has won the Association of Zoos and Aquariums seal of approval. On September 18, 2007, the Buffalo Zoo was granted full professional accreditation for the next four years by the AZA.

  • Central Presbyterian Church was sold to Mount St. Joseph Academy. The huge costs of maintaining the buildings overwhelmed the congregation’s ability to support them, and a buyer was sought for the whole campus. In July of 2007, the well-regarded private school Mount St. Joseph Academy acquired the properties, and opened the buildings for classes that fall.


  • October 4, 2006 was a day of celebration and ceremony at the Darwin Martin House complex. The pergola, conservatory and carriage house, torn down in the early 1960s, were rebuilt in one of the most ambitious restorations of Wright buildings ever undertaken. Visitors walked through these buildings for the first time this day – the first time in more than 40 years that the complex has been seen in its entirety as Wright designed it. New York Governor, George E. Pataki, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles E. Schumer, and NYS Parks Commissioner, Bernadette Castro spoke to a crowd of 300-plus well-wishers. Darwin Martin Foster and Eric Lloyd Wright, grandsons of the famous architect-client partnership that created the Martin House complex, performed the ceremonial cutting of a giant red ribbon in a befitting gesture symbolic of their grandfathers’ legacy.

  • People’s Park broke ground on July 5, 2006 at 9:30 am. This new community garden is located on Main Street between Jewett Avenue and Rodney Street (next to Broad Elm Auto) in Buffalo. The garden provides a green space for residents, businesses, schools and others to Garden, gather and grow.


  • The Fairfield Branch Library located at 1659 Amherst Street was built in 1897. It is considered one of Buffalo’s historic landmarks. First owned by the Parkside Unitarian Church, the building was dedicated as a library in 1925. Today the century old building is recognized as a prime example of New England Colonial architecture. Erie County’s funding reductions in 2005 and projected constraints in 2006 operating income mandated the closing of multiple locations of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. The doors of the Fairfield Library were closed on October 14, 2005.

  • The Sea Lion Exhibit located in the The Buffalo Zoo opened in the summer of 2005. This exhibit was the second phase of the Buffalo Zoo's Master Plan. Underwater viewing opportunities are available in the habitats, enabling visitors to observe the sea lions at play. Tiered seating is incorporated into the sea lion exhibit design to accommodate daily feeding demonstrations.


  • Greater Buffalo Savings Bank renovated and moved into the Pierce-Arrow building. The magnificent interior has been preserved and an antique Pierce-Arrow car sits next to the banking desks. The former Pierce-Arrow showroom is an Art Deco beauty built in 1929. The building was used to detail cars with walnut trim and gold inlay before they were shipped to customers in the 1920s and 1930s. Pierce-Arrow went bankrupt in 1938. It later became a Cadillac dealership and now is a bank.


  • The Parkside Community Association’s first Home Tour occurred. This event allowed paid guests to tour architectural significant and beautiful homes in Parkside. This is a yearly event in Parkside today and occurs in May.


  • The Parkside Community Association’s first Garden Tour occurred. This event allowed guests from the suburbs and other areas of the city to tour the beautiful gardens in Parkside. 


  • The Buffalo Zoo proposed to move from Delaware Park in Parkside and to build a new $250 million facility on the Buffalo River in Buffalo’s Old First Ward. The move was announced without a real plan for the facility that was to be vacated at Parkside Avenue and Amherst Street. Many residents in Parkside, as well as homeowners in the Old First Ward and others, objected. “Improve the Zoo, Don’t Move” signs sprouted on lawns throughout the neighborhood and Western New York. Opponents of the Zoo’s move, led by Parkside residents, lobbied lawmakers and engaged in public debates. In September 1999, the Zoo finally dropped plans for the move. Under the direction of its new director, Dr. Donna Fernandes, the Zoo is now moving forward with plans for improving the facility at its long time site.


  • Parkside and nearby Canisius College combined efforts to do a demographic study of the neighborhood. The study revealed that the community has a very high educational level. The study also found that residents had above average family income level, that more than 70% of residents owned their own homes, that the population was older with few children under the age of 16 living at home, and that the residents represented a very diverse mix of people. Virtually all nationalities and races are represented and everyone feels welcome. When asked what they liked most about Parkside, respondents cited the people and then the neighborhood’s location.


  • The Darwin D. Martin House Restoration Corporation was incorporated with the mission of restoring the Martin complex.


  • Parkside was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as an architectural landscape design by Frederick Law Olmsted.


  • The Darwin D. Martin House became a National Historic Site.




  • The Parkside Community Association was organized to fight the negative changes in the community. The PCA aimed at encouraging communication, integration, and community pride. The association focused on preserving and improving the existing housing, by working with homeowners, absentee landlords, and city building inspectors, and on reminding residents of the benefits of urban living close to the City’s premiere park and cultural attractions. As a result of the association’s efforts, Parkside became a stable and diverse neighborhood of residents proud to call its curving, tree lined streets and comfortable houses their home. Since its creation, the PCA has seen the prices of homes bottom out and come back to a point where it is one of the few places in Buffalo where home prices continue to rise. Some houses sell before they are even advertised.

1954 - 1960

  • Local Architect Sebastian Tauriello purchased the abandoned 10,000-square foot Darwin D. Martin property from the City of Buffalo for his residence and office. He divided the second floor into apartments, and made extensive repairs to the house. He sold the rear portion of the property, where the pergola and conservatory were in ruins, to a developer who built three modern apartment buildings.

1950 - 1960

  • Parkside and the City of Buffalo as a whole were in decline. White residents, encouraged by blockbusting real estate companies and redlining by insurance carriers, fled to the developing suburbs. The automobile and modern highways further encouraged migration away from the center of Buffalo. Prices of houses decreased and the number of absentee landlords increased in Parkside.

  • The population of the City of Buffalo peaked at 580,000


  • The City of Buffalo seized the Darwin D. Martin house for unpaid taxes.

1941 - 1945

  • World War II increased the demand for factory workers in Buffalo and in turn led to an increased demand for housing. Many older homeowners in Parkside who had barely held onto their properties during the depression, and absentee owners subdivided the larger houses in Parkside into apartments or rooms to let to meet the housing demand.


  • Darwin D. Martin’s widow, Isabelle, left the house on Jewett Parkway. Her husband had died in 1935 without assets. The Martin house was to stand vacant, neglected and repeatedly vandalized until 1954.

1929 - 1930s

  • Economic depression befell the United States and many businesses, including the Larkin mail order company and the Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company, failed.

  • Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company moved the sales showroom for their luxury cars from downtown Buffalo to a new, state-of-the-art facility at Main and Jewett Parkway. The new Art Deco style building was near their target population, and it was just down the Beltline from their main production plant on Elmwood Avenue at Great Arrow.

1917 - 1919

  • World War I was fought and Buffalo continued to prosper because of factory production for the war effort. By the year after the War, the City’s population had risen to more than 500,000.

  • The Ford Motor Company opened a factory on Main Street, by the Beltline Railroad crossing, and began to crank out Model T automobiles. (“FORD” is still visible on the chimney at the factory building, which later became a Trico plant, and is now called Tri-Main. Today, the building houses 75 or more different businesses, including a number of artists’ studios.) As automobiles become part of the American scene, Parkside residents began to build garages. Many featured turntables that were used to conveniently turn the car around after arriving home so that the drivers did not have to back out in the morning.


  • Central Presbyterian Church combined with the existing Park Presbyterian Church, creating one of the largest congregations east of New York City. The church stands at Jewett Parkway and Main Street


  • St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church began in Parkside with a small building on Woodward Avenue to serve 30 or so Catholic families in the area. Early parishioners included young Irish girls who worked in the homes of the wealthy. Parkside was primarily a Protestant community at the time, and there was some resentment at first. Today, the large, Gothic-style church and its elementary school are mainstays of the community.


  • The first elephant, “Frank,” was acquired by the Buffalo Zoo and was kept tethered outside all year round. A permanent elephant house was built in 1912.


  • At the height of Parkside’s affluence, Architects Green and Wicks designed the Highland Masonic Lodge on Main Street near Jewett Parkway. Many of the prominent Parkside residents were members.


  • Darwin Martin, now a wealthy and successful officer of the powerful Larkin Company, met architect Frank Lloyd Wright and commissioned Wright to begin building a residential complex in the new “Prairie Style” for Martin and his family and for Martin’s sister, Delta Barton, and her family, at the corner of Jewett Parkway and Summit Avenue in Parkside. The complex would include two houses, a gardener’s cottage, pergola, conservatory, greenhouse, stable and garage. Its original style and Tree of Life art glass windows would become an international architectural treasure. Charmed by Wright, Martin convinced the owner of the Larkin Company to have Wright design a state of the art office building for the company on Seneca Street in Buffalo. The result was one of the most outstanding office buildings of modern time (demolished in 1950). Martin also commissioned Wright to design a summer home, Graycliff, for him on the Lake Erie shore in Derby, and he convinced two other officers of the Larkin Company to have Wright design houses for them at 57 Tillinghast in Parkside and nearby at 176 Soldiers Place.


  • Buffalo’s population had grown to more than 350,000 residents and an international fair, the Pan-American Exposition, was held on a 350-acre site at the northwest side of Delaware Park, in part to showcase the glitter of hydroelectric power. President William McKinley was assassinated during a visit to the exposition that September. Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as his successor in the Ansley Wilcox mansion on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. The Buffalo Zoo’s population had grown to 270 animals.


  • Parkside had become a very desirable place to live. Many prominent Buffalonians moved here. Mr. Hens and Mr. Kelly of Hens & Kelly’s department store in downtown Buffalo, Mr. Sattler of Sattler’s department store at 998 Broadway, Mr. Simon of Simon Pure Brewery, Mr. Curtis of Curtis Screw Company, Mr. Whissel of Whissel Lumber, and others chose to make Parkside their home. There was no income tax at this time, materials were plentiful and inexpensive, and skilled labor was in great supply. The wealthy business owners hired prominent architects like Stanford White, Esenwein and Johnson, Green and Wicks to build houses to impress. Most had servants’ quarters on the third floors or in the carriage houses behind the main residences.


  • William Sydney Wicks, a prominent architect and a partner of E.B. Green, built his house on the southwest corner of Jewett and Summit. The third floor of Wicks’ eclectic, Tudor-style house was designed to be a ballroom to entertain his guests. Wicks and Green ultimately designed about a dozen other houses in Parkside, as well as a number of landmark buildings in the City including the Market Arcade Building downtown, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery on the west side of Delaware Park, and distinctive gold-domed Buffalo Savings Bank (now a branch of M&T Bank). That year, the bear pits were constructed at the Buffalo Zoo.


  • Electric power was brought from Niagara Falls to Buffalo. By the turn of the century, most houses built in Parkside were being wired for electricity, although many builders also included gas lines because of the builders’ uncertainty about the reliability of electricity.


  • The City appointed the first curator of the Buffalo Zoo.


  • Davis (later renamed Woodward) and Summit avenues were surveyed and graded.


  • Parkside and Crescent avenues and Greenfield Street were surveyed and graded. Darwin D. Martin, an employee of a local soap company, married and built his first home, a rather plain Victorian with a small tower, at 151 Summit for himself and bride to be, Isabelle Reidpath, and his father. They moved in in 1889 and stayed until the Frank Llyod Wright home on a nearby lot,  was completed in 1906.


  • Elam Jewett, a devout Episcopalian, donated a parcel of land from his Willowlawn estate and $10,000 to build The Church of the Good Shepherd. Jewett hoped that this church would give the fledgling Parkside community a central meeting place as well as a place of worship. Very few people had yet settled in the area, four miles from downtown, and in fact the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York had previously turned down Jewett’s offer of the site for a home for orphans and elderly because it was too far from the city. The landmark church that was built at 124 Jewett Parkway is an excellent example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. Designed by architects James H. Marling and Herbert C. Burdett, the plan was an imitation of a design that H.H. Richardson had used for libraries in the Northeast. It features Arts & Crafts interior elements and beautiful Tiffany stained glass windows.


  • A development company, the Parkside Land Improvement Company, was formed by Elam Jewett, Washington Russell III, and Dr. J. White, who owned most of the land in Parkside. The three men began to parcel and sell the lots. Russell built a grand Victorian home on the south side of the old family homestead on Main Street. Both the homestead, now a church, and Russell III’s Victorian home, now remodeled, remain today on Main.


  • The NYC Beltline Railroad was completed, circling the City of Buffalo in a 15-mile loop and transporting people from Niagara Falls, Olcott Beach, and the outskirts of Buffalo to downtown for a 5-cents fare. Two stations were built in the Parkside area: the Highland Station near Jewett Parkway and Main Street and the Bennett station at Starin Avenue and Amherst Street. Industrial development sprung up along the Beltline route.


  • Olmsted laid out the Parkside neighborhood as a residential buffer or transition between the jewel of his park system and the City. He mapped out gently curving streets, none leading directly toward the city, to encourage leisurely travel. Maturing trees joining boughs over the streets would quiet the sylvan neighborhood.


  • Two deer were given to Elam Jewett as a gift and were kept on display in a paddock in Jewett’s meadow. This might be considered the beginning of what would become the Buffalo Zoo in Delaware Park. In this same year, William Phelps Northrup, Jewett’s nephew by marriage, built a grand Victorian home in Willow lawn on the corner of Crescent and Jewett Parkway. The home stood on the present site of the Girl Scout headquarters. Northrup’s barn still stands behind the Girl Scout building on Crescent. After buying the printing and engraving aspects of Jewett’s holdings, Northrup had become very successful in his own right.


  • Sherman Jewett (no relation to Elam), William Dorscheimer, Pascal Pratt, and others foresaw a need for a city plan to provide green space for residents in the burgeoning industrial city. They organized to bring renowned landscape architectFrederick Law Olmsted and his partner, Calvert Vaux, to Buffalo to plan a park and parkway system, which would ultimately feature the 350-acre Delaware Park as its crown jewel.


  • Elam Jewett, who was a prominent publisher of The Commercial Advertiser, retired and bought 400 acres of Chapin’s farm land. He called his estate Willowlawn. His land was between the Granger farm (at Oakwood), the Russell farm (at Russell Avenue), Main Street, and Elmwood Avenue, and included the present meadow in Delaware Park. He was to become a key figure in the development of Parkside.


  • The Civil War began and the area saw an explosion of manufacturing. Buffalo prospered. Men like Pascal Pratt in iron works, Jacob Schoellkopf in leather works, and William Fargo of Wells Fargo Express become successful and wealthy.


  • Buffalo’s population had grown to more than 42,000, with people of German descent making up 40% of the local population. A Western New York resident, Millard Fillmore, became President of the United States.


  • Joseph Dart invented the grain elevator, which led to Buffalo’s development as a grain distribution center on the Great Lakes, and rail service was established connecting Buffalo to Albany.


  • Washington Adams Russell moved from Buffalo to the Buffalo Plains and bought 200 acres of the Chapin farm. His house still stands at 2540 Main Street and is the oldest structure in the Parkside area.


  • Buffalo incorporated as a city with a population of 10,000. The northern border was North Street, far short of the area now known as Parkside. The Williamsville-Buffalo Road (later to become Main Street) was paved and to recoup the cost, a toll house was built at the present intersection of Kensington Avenue and Main Street.


  • The canal bypassed Black Rock in favor of Buffalo, resulting in the first major economic explosion for the city. Farmers and lumbermen now had inexpensive shipping access to the large populations of the eastern seaboard. In 1827, 976 ships visited the Buffalo harbor, compared to only 120 ships seven years earlier.

1817 - 1820

  • The pre-war talk of construction of the Erie Canal from Albany to Lake Erie was becoming a reality. Buffalo Judge Samuel D. Wilkeson was instrumental in leading the drive to dredge the Buffalo Harbor at the mouth of Buffalo Creek on Lake Erie and to build a break wall in the hope that Buffalo would become the western terminus of the canal rather than nearby Black Rock.

1812 - 1815

  • The United States was at war with England and the Niagara Frontier was a major battleground. The newly incorporated Village of Buffalo was burned to the ground on New Year’s Eve in 1813. Its 400 residents fled to the Granger and Chapin farms in Flint Hill and the Buffalo Plains area, which was to become Parkside. Troops stationed at Granger’s farm suffered through the winters with epidemics and starvation causing hundreds of deaths. To discourage any further desertions, five deserters were shot and hung near what now is the intersection of Crescent and Florence avenues in Parkside. Local farmers surrounding the then Village of Buffalo formed the Plains Rangers to protect their property from the armies of both sides. Today, there is a historical marker at the corner of Humboldt Parkway and Main Street to commemorate the brave troops stationed at Flint Hill. There is a brass marker on a boulder in Delaware Park dedicated “to the memory of the unnamed soldiers of the War of 1812 who died of camp disease and were buried here.”

1810 - 1811

  • The Township of Buffalo was established, including New Amsterdam and Black Rock. The Seneca, Cayuga, Tuscarora, and Onondagan nations met along Scajaquada Creek in Flint Hill to talk about their loss of land, and their problems with the American settlers and the English.


  • Dr. Cyrenius Chapin arrived as the village doctor and undertaker. Dr. Daniel Chapin, another member of the family, eventually owned most of the land from Granger’s farm north to near the present South Campus of the State University of New York at Buffalo and south from Main Street to Elmwood Avenue. Most Parkside property owners also will find Chapin’s name on their deeds.


  • President Thomas Jefferson appointed Erastus Granger as Postmaster, Collector of the Port, and Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Granger’s house was where the Main Street entrance of Forest Lawn Cemetery is today. His farmland extended north to approximately West Oakwood and west to near Elmwood Avenue. He built the Buffalo harbor lighthouse in 1817; it still stands today, although a “China man’s cap” has been added to the top. Many Parkside residents will find Granger’s name on their deeds.


  • Joseph Ellicott was hired to head the Holland Land Company and he planned the Village of New Amsterdam–one day to become Buffalo. He laid out the streets like spokes running from circular greens, similar to the street design in Washington, D.C. Asa Ransom was an early settler. A silversmith, Ransom was a favorite of the local Indians. Ellicott encouraged Ransom to move to Clarence Hollow, where Ransom purchased 200 acres of land at $2 per acre. He opened a tavern and inn for travelers coming to New Amsterdam to buy or invest in property of the Holland Land Company. The Asa Ransom House restaurant and inn in Clarence today is in the same general location where Ransom’s inn was located. The headquarters of the Holland Land Company still stands today in Batavia, New York. Other early settlers were Cornelius Winne, who was a Dutchman who ran a trading post; Captain William Johnston, who started a sawmill providing lumber for the Indians; and Joe Hodge and Jesse Skinner, who ran grog shops for traders and Indians along the Buffalo River.


  • Robert Morris, a financier of the American Revolution, negotiated a deal with Red Jacket, chief of the Seneca Indian Nation. Red Jacket agreed to sell 1.3 million acres of land in the western part of New York for $100,000, leaving the Senecas with a 200,000 acre reservation. Red Jacket was paid a $600 signing bonus and guaranteed $100 a year for life. Most of the acquisition was sold to the Holland Land Company. A large statue of Red Jacket stands near the Delaware entrance to Forest Lawn Cemetery.


  • Massachusetts ceded the area to New York State, and thousands of settlers prepared for a trek west.

1776 - 1783

  • The American Revolution was fought, ending in the Treaty of Paris, which delineated the Niagara River as the boundary between the United States and the British territories. Western New York was now in American hands, but eastern colonies battled for ownership rights of the western frontier.


  • The end of the French and Indian War brought concern from the victorious English Crown about how to handle the Indians and French settlers in the western region. The Proclamation Line of 1763, which was issued by the King of England, forbade any English settlers in the area west of the Appalachians, and permitted trapping only by license. The proclamation also delineated the Ohio River as the southern border of Canada. This was one of many policy decisions that were disliked by the American colonists, and that led to the American Revolution.


  • Mostly French trappers and Native Americans inhabited the region. France had control of the area as a colony. The English colonies along the eastern seaboard were still developing but were claiming all land due west of them, even across the mountains. As English trappers and traders moved into the French territory and competed, tensions grew. The French tried to convince the Native American tribes that the English would take away their hunting grounds and thereby made allies of most of them.

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The Parkside Community Association is the largest membership-based community association in the City of Buffalo.

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2318 Main Street

Buffalo NY 14214

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