Reprinted with permission as a public service by the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier, now the Preservation Buffalo Niagara
Prior to the settlement of the North Park district, the area constituted the southern portion of the Buffalo Plains. So named in 1832, it consisted of the land north of the newest city limits. Less than hospitable, the area was characterized by thick growths of trees amongst a generally marshy, flat landscape.
Hannan Colvin: One of the first residents of the area, Hannan Colvin, initially lived in a log farmhouse at the corner of what is today Hertel and Colvin. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, he arrived in Buffalo in 1823. Settling in the Indian territory of Buffalo Plains, he farmed the land, raising produce, pigs and cattle. His property included most of the land in the area west of Parkside Avenue.
By the turn of the century, a small number of people began to reside in the area, living along streets which more closely resembled mud paths.
The advent of the automobile resulted in the greatest influx of people to the area during and after World War II. Many arrived to work in the factories such as Pierce Arrow Automobiles, American Brass and Curtiss Wright Aeroplanes, producing goods for the war effort. With the end of the war, some residents, now out of work, left the area only to be replaced by new arrivals.
Russian Jews: As conditions in the traditional immigrant neighborhoods of the inner city began to change in the early 1930s, a large number of Russian Jews moved into the area. The remains of their once thriving community are still clearly visible in the synagogues along Hertel and Tacoma.
Italians: As the area continued to grow, a large Italian population began to settle there. Displaced by the decay of and Urban Renewal efforts in their original enclaves, they fostered a sizable community in the North Park area.
© 1995 James Napora
Page by Chuck LaChiusa with the assistance of David Torke
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