Kaisertown, Buffalo, NY
Centers on Clinton Street and is physically enclosed by the Buffalo River on the south and the Thruway 90 on the northwest.
By James Napora
An excerpt from
"Houses of Worship: A Guide to the Religious Architecture of Buffalo, New York" by James Napora Master of Architecture Thesis. Pp. 173-174. Found at Buffalo Central Library NA5235 B8 N37 1995
Depending on who one would question regarding the origin of thename Kaisertown, the neighborhood surrounding the intersection ofClinton and South Odgen, two different answers could be returned.These answers would directly result from that person's ethnic origin.
Buffalo Creek Reservation: The land on which the neighborhood is located constituted one ofthe final vestiges of Native American occupation and ownership in the Buffalo area. Once part of the Buffalo Creek Reservation, the Seneca Indians originally lived in a village at a bend in Buffalo Creek in the vicinity of South Odgen Street. On 15 January, 1838, the Senecas deeded the land to Thomas L. Odgen who later transferred ownership of it to the Clinton and Odgen Land Company. It was subsequently divided and sold to farmers and developers of the neighborhood.
The majority of the early farmers in the area were German irimigrants. As their numbers increased, they formed a tightly knit community. Typical of the German communities in the rest of the city, the local tavern became a hub of their social lives. Forerunners of social clubs, they would sponsor free Sunday picnics for families in a picnic grove at the city line. Their inherent love of their homeland and their fondness towards theKaiser there, forms one idea for the origin of the nickname of the neighborhood.
By the 1890s, the population of the German neighborhood increased significantly as Polish immigrants began to make their homes there. Settling in the western corner of the district, they found work in the railroad yards or at the Snow Steam Pumpsfactory, later known as Worthington Compressor. Typical of their characteristic of settling in the vicinity of a Catholic house of worship, in 1890 the earliest arrivals established St. Casimer Church as the social and religious center of their lives.
"Kaisertown" origin: This formed the basis of the second theory on the origin of the name Kaisertown, as a slang pronunciation of St. Kazmierza, the patron saint of their church.
Hungarians: A third immigrant group, the Hungarians, also established a small colony in the area. They too arrived here seeking employment in the pump works.and the railroads. Although considerably smaller than the colony ih Riverside, they did support one house of worship in the area.