History of the Fruit Belt
Centers on High Street, with the "33" (Kensington Expressway) enclosing the southern boundary of the Fruit Belt. Jefferson Avenue runs along the East Side, but it is Grape, Peach, Orange, and Lemon Streets that gave the name to the district.
By James Napora
The text below is reprinted with permission from
"Houses of Worship: A Guide to the Religious Architecture of Buffalo, New York," by James Napora. P. 205. Master of Architecture Thesis. Found at Buffalo Central Library NA5235 B8 N37 1995
At one time home to over 10.000 people, the Fruit Belt takes its name from the large number of orchards the first residents planted in the area. Holding true to their previously established agrarian nature, the earliest German residents of the area planted large orchards and vegetable gardens in the area. As their numbers increased, in these orchards were laid out the present streets, the names themselves remaining as a testimony to the early nature of the neighborhood. Its establishment is also closely related to the organization of Trinity Old Lutheran Church, initially located on the corner of Michigan and Goodell.
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Founded in 1839, the congregation consisted of Lutherans who had traveled from Southern Germany to escape religious persecution there. Upon arriving in Buffalo, the group of 1.000, seeking to settle away from the influences of the established populations, selected the area north of the existing downtown core. At the base of the gently rising hill they built their place of worship and settled in the streets surrounding it.
The streets, with their small frame and brick homes, were well noted for the gardens these early settlers kept. The Kopling House at 154 Maple, served as an early German Social Club for the neighborhood. A well in the backyard provided drinking water for the residents.
The area remained a tight-knit neighborhood until the 1950s.Without regard for the residents, construction of the Kensington Expressway severed the neighborhood in half destroying a harmony which had existed for over one hundred years.