Wendt Family in Buffalo, NY

William Franz
  • 1858-1920s
  • Born in Buffalo
  • Graduated from Buffalo Public School 32
  • Graduated from Central High School
  • 1878 Purchased half interest in small blacksmith equipment company
  • 1883 Became sole owner of Buffalo Forge which became the largest forge company in the US.
  • Founded and became president of many other companies including Buffalo Steam Pump, George L. Squier Manufacturing, The William F. Wendt Publishing Company, and the Carrier Air Conditioning Company.
  • Taken to court to defend his mental capacity by his wife, daughter and brother
  • 1916 Retired from Buffalo Forge. Sold his share of Buffalo Forge to brother Henry for $1,000,000.
  • 1918-1923 Lived between Los Angeles, CA, heavily drinking and accusing his brother of stealing money from him
  • 1923 Died in 570 Richmond surrounded by his wife and daughter. Willed everything to his wife and daughter. Management of the home and farm left to Margaret.
Mary Gies
  • 1882 Married William
  • 1883 Gave birth to Gertrude
  • 1885 Gave birth to Margaret
  • 1883-1895 William & Mary lived at 19 Irving Place
  • 1895 William & Mary built 570 Richmond Avenue, the home for the rest of their lives
  • William & Mary owned farm in Lockport, NY.
  • Died 1940
  • Older daughter of William and Mary, born 1883.
  • Considered too fragile for school
  • 1909  She and her baby died in childbirth
Margaret L.
  • Younger daughter of William and Mary
  • 1903 Graduated from Buffalo Seminary; father did not allow her to go to college
  • Never married
  • Lived with parents.
  • 1923 Management of the home and farm left to Margaret in her father's will. In the early 1940s, Margaret sold the Lockport farm and purchased a beachfront property in Thunder Bay, Ontario where she built a summer home.
  • 1940-1972  After her mother died, Margaret lived in 570 Richmond with her housekeeper, Mary, and her chauffeur who lived in the carriage house.
  • Had a passion  for animals, and owned horses, dogs, exotic birds and peacocks
  • Met Rev. Ralph Loew on Colonial Circle while while walking her dog. Loew became one of three trustees of the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation that was established in 1957 with an initial donation of $750,000.
  • Had stroke in 1959 that caused a 13-year coma.  Died in 1972 in her house.
  • Willed the bulk of her $14,557,348 estate to the foundation. 

Margaret, far right, with her sister Gertrude, father William F. Wendt, and Aunt Hattie.
Photo courtesy of Margaret L. Wendt Foundation - Reprinted with permission.

19 Irving Place in 2015 - obviously quite different from the time that the Wendts lived here. The house that the Wendts lived in was demolished.
"The year before purchasing Buffalo Forge [in 1882], William married Mary Gies and soon had two daughters, Gertrude (1883) and Margaret (1885).  They lived in a small brick house  at 19 Irving St., two houses away from the home where F. Scott Fitzgerald would fondly remember growing up in." - The Richmond Avenue History Project: "570 Richmond Avenue" brochure
Photo 2015 Chuck LaChiusa

570 Richmond Avenue, built by William F. Wendt in 1895
 Photo 2015 Chuck LaChiusa
For more information, see the following:

Henry W.
  • 1863-1929
  • Younger brother of William Franz
  • Educated in  Buffalo public schools
  • 1886 became partner in Buffalo Forge. Had natural mechanical aptitude
  • Son of Henry W.
  • 1929 Took control of Buffalo Forge with his brother, Henry, after their father, Henry W., died
  • 1958 Retired as president of Buffalo Forge
  • Son of Henry W.
  • 1929 Took control of Buffalo Forge with his brother, Edgar, after their father died
  • 1966 Retired as president of Buffalo Forge

120 Lincoln Parkway, built by Henry W. Wendt, ca. 1923
  2006 Chuck LaChiusa
For more information, see the following:

Major sources of information:

Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2015
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