The Neighborhood around the Parkside Candy Company: University Heights
Draft Nomination - National Register of Historic Places
Parkside Candy Shoppe and Factory
3208 Main Street, Buffalo NY
By Francis R. Kowsky and Martin Wachadlo
[Edited by Jennifer Walkowski, NYSHPO]
The Parkside Candy Company occupies the northwest corner of a major intersection on Main Street in the University Heights neighborhood of North Buffalo. The University Heights neighborhood is centered on a three-quarter-mile stretch of Main Street defined by Niagara Falls Boulevard on the east and LaSalle Avenue on the west. The streets running off Main Street in the immediate vicinity of store and factory are lined with single and double family frame and brick dwellings. Both a streetcar suburb (the Buffalo and Williamsville Electric Railway ran along this stretch of Main Street beginning in 1893) and early automobile suburb, the area developed in the first decades of the twentieth century as the city expanded outward from the downtown core. An important spur to development in the area was the creation, beginning in 1909, of the 150-acre campus of the then private University of Buffalo.
The advance of the university campus, which included the former buildings and grounds of the Erie County Alms House (built in 1851), promoted the growth of this area of North Buffalo. The new campus (now known as the South Campus of the University at Buffalo) was a short distance east along Main Street from the Parkside Candy Company. Seeing an opportunity for making money, in 1909, Charles Winspear, the former keeper of the almshouse, formed a real estate partnership with Eli Nothrup. The two men purchased land in the area for residential development and laid out streets, two of which bear their names. Following their lead, another real estate entrepreneur, Anthony Huck, purchased land around the intersection of Main Street and Kenilworth Avenue (the present Niagara Falls Boulevard) and created a new neighborhood of comfortable middle-class dwellings known as University Park. Many university faculty came to live here. The University Park Historic District was listed in the National Register in 2010.
owadays, Main Street, a major east-west route through the city, in the immediate vicinity of the Parkside Candy Company presents a typical older urban streetscape. It is made up primarily of two-story commercial buildings housing small businesses and restaurants on the ground floor and apartments on the second floor. The front part of a former prominent cinema, the Spanish Revival Style Granada (built in mid-1920s; the auditorium was demolished in mid-1970s), still exists in the block immediately to the west of the Parkside Candy Company. (When it was in operation, the cinema must have been a significant source of business for the candy shop.) Today, many of residents of the area are students from the nearby University at Buffalo South Campus.
Today, the prominent corner of Main and Winspear presents to the passerby a mixed urban visage. The southeast angle is now a parking lot with small convenience store behind it, and the northwest corner is home to a gas station. (A gas station has stood here since 1925.) A small commercial building, erected in 1911, anchors the northeast corner directly across Main Street from the candy shop.
In addition to the range of commercial buildings along Main Street, three large and distinguished churches attest to the former prosperity and importance of the University Heights neighborhood: St. Andrew’s, Episcopal Church (Robert North, architect; NR Listed 2005), St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church (Duane Lyman, architect, 1925) and the University Presbyterian Church (North and Shelgren, architects, 1927). The University Heights Historic District is located four blocks east along Main Street from the Parkside Candy Company buildings.