George Urban Junior
Source: "A History of the City of Buffalo," published by the The Buffalo Evening News, 1908
The earliest known occupant, and likely the builder and owner of the 123-125 [Genesee Street] corner building is Henry Urban, who emigrated from Alsace, a French-controlled but culturally German region.
Excerpt from the
H. Seeberg Building application for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, pp. 2-3
Opened with partner George Beyer, the grocery shop of Beyer and Urban was located at the corner of Genesee at Oak Street as early as 1847, and in the 1850 census Henry Urban’s property was valued at $3,000 indicating his ownership of the building.
In 1872 Henry Urban was noted as having both his shop and residence in the building at 123-125 Genesee Street. During the nineteenth century, the corner of Genesee and Oak was heavily occupied by the Urban family, including George Urban Sr.’s wholesale flour business located at the north-east corner (established in 1846) and later his son George Urban, Jr.’s Urban Roller Mills business was established in 1881 located at the north-west corner at 324 Oak Street. The Urban Roller Mills was the first mill in Buffalo to introduce the use of metal rollers in grain milling, with previous milling being done with large mill stones, and the Urban Milling Company became one of Buffalo’s most prominent companies.
Henry Urban the elder may have died sometime before 1860, since his seven year old son, Henry J. Urban, appears residing at 111 Genesee Street in the house of grocer Louis. P. Adolf in the 1860 census. Henry J. Urban continued the family legacy in the grocery business, operating his own store from the building at 123-125 Genesee Street (perhaps an inheritance from his father) from about 1878 until at least 1902. Henry J. Urban not only ran the grocery store and resided in the building, but for a short time around 1880-81, he also operated a saloon from the building at 123 Genesee Street.
The following text is a reprint of
"A History of the City of Buffalo," pub. by The Buffalo Evening News, 1908
George Urban Junior, one of the
leading factors in the business life of Buffalo and Western New York, was born in
this city July 12, 1850, the son of George Urban, a native of Alsace, France, who
settled in Buffalo in 1835 and a number of years later entered the wholesale flour
The younger Urban received his education at the Buffalo public schools, and at the age of sixteen year entered the employ of his father. Four years later, in 1870, he was admitted as a partner in the business, which then became known as Urban & Company.
The original establishment, located at the corner of Genesee and Oak streets, was augmented in 1881 by the erection of the first roller flour mill in Buffalo, on a site opposite the store of the firm. Four years later the senior Urban retired from business life, and George Urban Junior became the head of the firm, having associated with him E.G.S. Miller and W.C. Urban, a brother of the senior member of the firm.
The business is known under the name The George Urban Milling Company, turning out several well-known brands of flour, which are used in every part of the country. The immense new mill of the company, at Urban and Kehr streets, adjacent to the tracks of the New York Central Belt Line, was completed in 1903. This mill which is one of the best equipped and handsomest of its kind in the world today, was the first mill in Buffalo in which the motive power was exclusively electricity, brought here from Niagara Falls.
Mr. Urban does not confine his attention entirely to the direction of his milling business, for he has found time to become prominently identified with various others of Buffalo's industrial and commercial institutions. He was
Although he could never be influenced to take office, Mr. Urban has ever been prominent in the counsels of the Republican party in Buffalo and Western New York. He was chairman of the Erie County Republican General Committee from 1892 to 1895. In 1896 and 1900 Mr. Urban was a Republican presidential elector from Erie County, and in 1904 he was honored by the selection as Republican presidential elector at large from New York State.
Mr. Urban is a member of the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce and the New York Produce Exchange.
He is also a member of several of Buffalo's social organizations, including the Buffalo, Ellicott, Saturn, Country, and Park clubs of this city. His out-of-town affiliations include membership in the New York Club and the Republican Club of New York City, and the Whist Club of Rochester.
In October, 1875, Mr. Urban married Ada E. Winspear, daughter of Pennock Winspear, of Cheektowaga. They have four children -- one son, George P. Urban; and three daughters, Emma M., Ada J., and Clara W. Urban. George P. Urban is secretary and treasurer of The George Urban Milling Company.
Urban Company photo: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record
"Buffalo Historical Society Publications," Volume 30, 1930
George Urban, Jr. died at his residence, Pine Ridge, Cheektowaga (ILLUSTRATION), after an illness of three weeks, aged 77 years, on Feb. 23, 1928. He was financier, capitalist, merchant and pioneer in hydroelectric development, and one of the most prominent men of the :Niagara frontier.
He was one of the supporters of Grover Cleveland for the honors of Governor and President, and also one of the promoters of the Pan-American Exposition.
His father, George Urban, Sr. was a native of Alsace, France, and migrated to Buffalo in 1835.
George Urban, Jr. was the builder of the first roller mill in the United States. He was one of the organizers and directors of the Brush Electric company which installed the first municipal lighting plant in Buffalo.
For 25 years he was the head of the George Urban Milling company, having one of the best equipped flour mills in the country. He was a director in several banks and other financial institutions. He was a Republican presidential elector in 1896, 1900 and 1904.