Hamlin Park -Table of Contents ..................... Hamlin Family - Table of Contents
History of Hamlin Park
by James Napora
An excerpt from
Houses of Worship: A Guide to the Religious Architecture of Buffalo, New York,
Bounded by Main Street, Jefferson Avenue, East Ferry and Humboldt Parkway, Hamlin Park is named for Cicero Jabez Hamlin, owner of a portion of the land in that area. Hamlin arrived in Buffalo from the Berkshire Hills in 1846 and began operating a dry goods store in the Hamlin Block on Main Street at Eagle. In the hall above his store, many early religious congregations met during their formative years.
He later went on to become president of the Buffalo Grape Sugar Company.
In 1855 he purchased 66 acres in East Aurora and established the Village Farm. In a two and a half story, eight hundred foot long barn, he raised what came to be known as the best breed of trotting horses in the nation. Seeking an outlet within the city, in 1868 he purchased the Buffalo Driving Park, turning it into the finest harness racing track in the area. During its time, in addition to the races, it served as the primary polo grounds in the city.
As the popularity of the driving park decreased after the turn of the century, Hamlin's sons, William, Harry and Chauncey chose to develop the land for housing. In 1912, on the lands of the former driving park, they laid out the neighborhood which came to be know as Hamlin Park.
Although they were the primary developers of the area, small pockets of housing existed prior to their work.
- Charles Hartis Hedley: The parish of St. Vincent de Paul, at the corner of Main and Eastwood, had been established in 1864 to serve what became a sizable German community. Working with the Parkway Land Company, Charles Hartis Hedley purchased fifty acres of land surrounding the church around 1890 for development. The house at 60 Hedley Road, constructed c.1850, functioned as the original farmhouse in the area.
- August Hager: August Hager, who arrived here from Germany in 1842, farmed the land bounded by Jefferson and Humboldt Parkway, and East Delavan and Northland. Initially a distributor of liquor to hotels in the city and surrounding towns, in 1865 he opened a grocery store on Broadway and Bennett. Later in life, his love of flowers led him to establish a greenhouse and farm in the area. He headed the land company which developed his farm into the neighborhood including Viola, Park, Daisy and Pleasant Streets.
- The J & F Lyth Tile Company: The J & F Lyth Tile Company, the first manufacturers of hollow tile in the United States originally operated a factory in the area around Lyth Avenue. Invented by John Lyth in York, England, his brother Francis settled in Buffalo in 1850 to develop a plan there. In 1857 he purchased a large tract of land at Jefferson and Lyth Avenue and built his factory and home there. Becoming the largest manufacturer of tiles in the States, in the 1890s he moved his plant to Angola, New York and developed the area for residential purposes
See also: History of Neighborhoods in Buffalo, New York - Links