History of Lovejoy (Iron Island), Buffalo, NY
Lovejoy District: Bailey Avenue to City Line and from Kaisertown on Clinton to Delavan Avenue.
Iron Island/Lovejoy Neighborhood from Goethe Street to Central Avenue &
from Broadway to William Streets
By James Napora
An excerpt from
"Houses of Worship: A Guide to the Religious Architecture of Buffalo, New York," by James Napora Master of Architecture Thesis. Pp. 173-174.
Found at Buffalo Central Library NA5235 B8 N37 1995
Commonly referred to as Iron Island, the Lovejoy area is located on land once owned by Millard Fillmore.
Legend has it that an assistant pastor at St. Agnes Church on Ludington Street gave the area the unique designation after hearing a train whistle. Recognizing that railroad tracks circled the entire perimeter ofthe neighborhood, he began to refer to it as Iron Island, a name which has more or less stuck with the neighborhood.
In 1847, Millard Fillmore owned land in the neighborhood bounded by William and Broadway between Goethe and Ideal Streets. He sold the land in 1850 to Joseph and Sarah Churchyard who for many years farmed it. In the later years of their lives, they gave up farming altogether. On 25 August, 1877 the Churchyards filed a deed in County Hall designating the division of their property into building lots.
Within five years, the population of the area began to increase significantly. The Bailey Farm, on the south side of William between Bailey, Dingens and the city line was soon developed as arail yard. With the New York Central car shops to the east and the Pullman shops to the north of the area, the neighborhood prospered as Germans, Irishmen, Italians from the Campobassese Province in south central Italy, and Russians settled close totheir place of employment.
The blend of so many distinct cultures in such a geographically compact area resulted in the establishment of ten house of worship in the neighborhood as each ethnic group vied to maintainits own identity. Nine congregations remain to this day. The tenth, originally located on Central Avenue is now known as Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church on Fillmore and Oneida.