Thorne House, 40 Bidwell Pkwy  ............... Thorne House, 16 Tillinghast Place

George L. Thorne
40 Bidwell Parkway
Buffalo, NY

One of Buffalo’s most successful and prominent real estate companies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was the firm of Thorne & Angell. Composed of partners George L. Thorne and Byron Pomeroy Angell, this firm only dealt with property located within the bounds of the city of Buffalo, ignoring the rapidly developing suburbs like Kenmore or Williamsville. The firm was credited with the following:

It is to this firm that the city owes the conception and the development of the Elmwood district, the Richmond avenue section, the parkways, Central Park, Parkside, the Hertel avenue section and the beginning of the Niagara Park section of north Buffalo, then known as Stratton Park.

While these claims may be a bit overinflated, Thorne & Angell were certainly one of the most prominent real estate firms active in the city. George L. Thorne is credited with being instrumental in the opening and extension of Elmwood Avenue.  Both men even chose to make their homes in the fashionable Elmwood district; Byron P. Angell’s house, designed by architect William W. Carlin, is located at 506 Lafayette Avenue (1886, non-contributing) and George L. Thorne’s house, designed by Bethune, Bethune and Fuchs, is at 40 Bidwell Parkway (ca.1885).

The firm successfully weathered the panic of 1893 and the subsequent real estate bust in Buffalo, doing yearly business of over one million and a half dollars. However by 1895, the depreciation of the real estate market hit the firm, as well as several failed development projects, and the company appears to have dissolved shortly after. However, Thorne & Angell are credited amongst the builders of suburban Buffalo: “While he cannot be numbered among the founders of Buffalo, George L. Thorne will always be mentioned in connection with her suburban growth and development.”

Elmwood Historic Preservation District (West), Section 8, p. 108
Among the foremost real estate men of Buffalo stands George L. Thorne. He is a son of Samuel C. and Grace (Buckingham) Thorne, who came to this country from England in 1835. His father's ancestors were soldiers in the British army, while his mother was a member of the Buckingham family.

Mr. Thorne, however, is an American born and an American in every sense of the word. He was married to Dollie P. Dana, May 2, 1867, at Rochester, N.Y., and soon after came to Buffalo where he has resided ever since. The Elmwood district was the scene of Mr. Thorne's first real estate operations. He was instrumental in securing the opening and extension of Elmwood avenue and in later years he also was one of the first advocates of the Elmwood bridge.

He afterwards operated successfully in South Buffalo, Kensington, Parkside, Highland Park, Meadow View Park, Central Park, Crocker Park, Summit Park, Delaware Hill, Black Rock and other districts. He also has been the organizer of many land companies.

While he cannot be numbered among the founders of Buffalo, George L. Thorne will always be mentioned in connection with her suburban growth and development.

Our County and its people: A descriptive work on Erie County, New York
Edited by: Truman C. White
The Boston History Company, Publishes 1898

-- Biography of George L. Thorne (online June 2015)
See also the
George and Dollie Thorne House
16 Tillinghast Place, Buffalo, NY

Built ca. 1911

Page by
Chuck LaChiusa in 2015

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